Mix-messages on next round of talks on US-China trade war

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But China will not buckle to US demands in any trade negotiations, the major state-run China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Friday, after Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from Washington for a new round of talks.

More companies say they will suffer if Trump goes ahead with his planned tariff hike and Beijing retaliates, according to the American Chambers of Commerce in China and in Shanghai.

Every year, the US imports $500 billion worth of goods from China, while it ships only one-third of that amount to the East Asian country.

The damage from the trade war to United States businesses in China includes lost profits, higher manufacturing costs and lower demand for their products, according to the survey of more than 430 companies in industries ranging from technology to health care.

Friday's news reports that Mr Trump has ordered the USA to proceed with further tariffs quoted administration sources.

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The Trump administration had invited Chinese officials to restart trade talks, the White House's top economic adviser said on Wednesday, news that gave a lift to Asian stocks, including Chinese shares and the yuan currency. Mid-level USA and Chinese officials held inconclusive talks on Aug 22 and 23.

The unpredictability around the trade fight is hampering investment decisions as investors need stability to make sound decisions, Beebe said.

The longer the trade war continues the less attractive China will become as a manufacturing base for global companies, making other emerging markets like Indonesia and India preferable locations for manufacturing.

According to a Tuesday report by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the Chinese government has suspended issuing new licenses to American companies that want to conduct business in China.

American consumers have not felt widespread price increases months after the Trump administration started rolling out tariffs, and economist Robert Scott says the doomsday predictions might never materialize.

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"Chinese customers just see too much uncertainty around buying American and as a result they shift to alternatives", Beebe told AFP.

Officials are reportedly still working on the final list of products.

"I think most of us think it's better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk", Kudlow said. "But that scenario risks underestimating China's capability to continue meeting fire with fire".

Some businesses are concerned about rising costs of imported materials; others, particularly farmers, about retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Europe on US exports. More than half of U.S. firms are already feeling Beijing's wrath from non-tariff measures like heightened regulatory scrutiny, more inspections and slower customs clearance, according to the survey.

"With the $200 billion round of tariffs looming, this is probably the best time for the United States to go back to the table with a "take it or leave it" type of trade demand", Robert Carnell, the chief Asia-Pacific economist at investment bank ING, said in a note.

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