China sends written response to US

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U.S. and Chinese flags are seen before Defense Secretary James Mattis welcomes Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has delivered a written response to US demands for wide-ranging trade reforms, three US government sources said on Wednesday, a move that could trigger more formal negotiations to resolve a withering trade war between the world’s top economies.

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US President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports to force concessions from Beijing on the list of demands that would change the terms of trade between the two countries. China has responded with import tariffs on US goods.

Mr Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina at the end of November and in early December.

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The US president has repeatedly railed against Beijing over intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, Chinese entry barriers to American businesses and the US trade deficit with China.

Three US government sources told Reuters that China had sent a response to US demands on those and other issues, but gave no further details on its contents. It was unclear if the response contained concessions that would satisfy Trump’s demands for change.

While two industry sources familiar with the contents of the response said it was largely a restatement of previous Chinese commitments, it was seen as a necessary starting point for continued negotiations.

The two sides have been far apart during their months-long tariff dispute.

One of the sources briefed on China’s response said it reiterated pledges Mr Xi has made in recent speeches, and demanded that the United States lift tariffs, including those set by the Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminium imports.

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