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China says would welcome US team for trade talks

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US President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.<br />President Donald Trump entered a second day of talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday hoping to strike deals on trade and jobs after an overnight show of strength in Syria. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON

China said on Thursday that it would welcome US negotiators to visit the country for talks as both sides focus on a solution to thorny trade issues despite increasing obstacles.

The world’s top two economic giants are at loggerheads over trade, cyber espionage and the recent arrest in Canada of a top Chinese executive wanted in the United States.

“At present both governments are in close contact, China welcomes the US to China for negotiations, and has an open attitude to travelling to the US for talks,” commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters.

US President Donald Trump met with his counterpart President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on December 1 and agreed to a 90-day truce while they tried to find a solution to the escalating trade dispute.

But they provided differing accounts of the scope of their agreement.

Washington has said China agreed to cut tariffs on autos imported from the United States, and resume “massive” purchases of soybeans and other products.

Gao repeated Thursday that the two sides had reached a consensus on those issues but declined to elaborate on the details.

“The Chinese and American teams are in close contact on details of the negotiations and are making smooth progress,” Gao said.

An increasing number of security issues does not appear to have weighed down trade talks so far.

Two Canadians were detained in China on Monday in what many experts say was retaliation for Canada’s arrest at Washington’s request of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also accused China of being behind a massive hack of data from hotel giant Marriott on Wednesday.

Washington is expected this week to unveil new charges against Chinese military and intelligence hackers as it seeks to counter what is seen as a broad-based, sustained cyber threat against US government and corporate targets from Beijing.

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