USA and China still "very far apart" on trade, says U.S. ambassador

Donald Trump in Miami Florida campaigning ahead of the US presidential election

Trade talks with China on plans for USA tariffs on Chinese goods and Chinese retaliatory tariffs are underway in Washington this week.

In a story May 13 about President Donald Trump's promise to help Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Amanda DeBusk is the chair of the worldwide trade department at the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters confirmed USA officials were in talks with China about the company, saying that Mr Trump expects Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross "to exercise his independent judgement, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts".

Trump appears willing to work with China to help save ZTE - a move that could give him more leverage in ongoing trade discussions.

President Trump has directed the Commerce Department to look into easing USA economic sanctions against China's major telecommunication company linked to illicit trade with rogue states.

ZTE announced last week the US sanctions would force it to curtail major operations. "The more we can work things out, the better it's going to be not just for USA and China, but for the entire world economy", he said.

"Trade negotiations are continuing with China".

The two delegations addressed issues relating to expanding USA exports to China, bilateral trade in services, bilateral investments, intellectual property protection and tariffs.

CHINA FACTOR: President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that he was working with President Xi Jinping of China to put Chinese telecom ZTE "back into business, fast" after USA sanctions threatened ZTE's existence and 70,000 Chinese jobs.

Despite now ceasing main business operations, China's second biggest telecom equipment maker is still trying to have the ban modified or reversed. They have been making hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the US, for many years. Earlier this month China responded in turn, threatening to impose a similar amount in levies on over 100 USA imports including soybeans, and automobiles.

"You (Trump) should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs". ZTE has asked the department to suspend the seven-year ban on doing business with US technology exporters.

The first round of trade talks between China and the US took place in Beijing on May 3 to 4.

As part of this, they also entered into an agreement with the United States government.

The U.S. imposed the penalty on Shenzhen-based ZTE after discovering that the company, which had paid a $1.2 billion fine in the case, had failed to discipline employees involved and paid them bonuses instead.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, criticized Trump for softening his stance on ZTE.

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