American envoys are due in Beijing for talks Monday in a tariff battle over Chinese technology ambitions.
China said a USA delegation will visit next week for trade talks, confirming the two sides will have their first face-to-face negotiation since President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war last month.
Lighthizer opposed China's entry into the World Trade Organisation in the 1990s and more recently was a driving force behind Trump's decision to impose tariffs on roughly $US250 billion worth of Chinese goods.
In addition to Gerrish, the official delegation will also include David Malpass, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for worldwide affairs.
Despite its softening economy, China will likely find it hard to comply with US demands to slow its economic ambitions. "But right now, China is feeling the blow, really, of our tariffs, and I think that that's an appropriate place for us to have taken the relationship given the amount of stuff that they were stealing from us".
Trade representativesfrom the USA and China to hold talks Jan 7, according to the Wall Street Journal. There are fears of both sides hiking tariffs if no deal is reached. Auto sales have dropped for the first time since 1990.
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United States firms that rely on Chinese consumers have also been impacted by the country´s economic slowdown. "China wants the trade war to end, and they are offering signs of that", said a USA source familiar with the discussions. Some U.S. demands would require structural reform that may be unpalatable for Chinese leaders.
U.S. trade negotiators will "optimistically and constructively communicate with (the) Chinese delegation on the important agreements achieved by the two leaders during the meeting in Argentina", China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement, without giving further details.
The makeup of the USA team was announced Friday by the trade representative's office.
Lighthizer's office was also responsible for the original report a year ago that laid out allegations of Chinese theft of United States intellectual property and formally kicked off the tariff process.
The dispute has rattled companies and financial markets that worry it will drag on global economic growth, already showing signs of declining. The shares closed at US$148.26 on Friday, down about 5.1 percent for the week. But few are moving those operations back home, according to in October by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China. The longer their trade war lasts, the longer companies and consumers will feel the pain of higher-priced imports and exports.