BEIJING (Reuters) – US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Sunday, a US government official said, as officials from the two largest economies try to calm a commercial dispute that has shaken the financial sector. markets
PHOTO OF THE ARCHIVE: The Secretary of Commerce of the United States, Wilbur Ross, arrives at a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on November 9, 2017. REUTERS / Thomas Peter / File Photo  Ross arrived in Beijing on Saturday morning for business talks with Chinese officials, after the Trump administration renewed its tariff threats against China, and with key US allies in a bad mood toward Washington after they were affected by the tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Liu is China's chief negotiator in the trade dispute.
Washington and Beijing have threatened to apply tariffs on goods worth up to $ 150 billion each.
But when it looked like a commercial truce between the two heavyweights was looming, the White House warned this week that it will impose tariffs on Chinese imports worth 50 billion dollars, and that it will impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States. United. States and stricter export controls.
Ross, expected to be preceded in Beijing this week by more than 50 US officials, is expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of US agricultural and energy products. UU To help reduce the US trade deficit UU The US team UU It also wants to ensure greater protections of intellectual property and the end of Chinese subsidies that have contributed to the overproduction of steel and aluminum.
The purchases to which Washington wants to commit to Beijing aim to reduce the trade deficit of 375 billion dollars with China. Trump has demanded that China take steps to reduce the gap by $ 200 billion per year by 2020.
While many countries share American frustration over Chinese trade and economic practices, critics of US policy. UU Under President Donald Trump they have warned that Washington risks Union, Canada and Mexico with tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum.
On Friday, the closest allies in the United States attacked the Trump administration for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, while Japan called the actions of the United States "deeply deplorable."
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Vice Premier Liu Attends the press conference after the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 20, 2018. REUTERS / Jason Lee
While US officials have sent contradictory signals during the dispute with China, a person familiar with the planning of Ross' visit said that his goal was to keep a dialogue going.
Ross is "going there to step on the water," the person said, and refused to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
"The more Trump irritates his allies and asks the Chinese to buy things, the better they will be, because he is not sitting there and attacking difficult problems," the person said.
Those difficult issues include what the US. UU They denounce is the rampant theft of intellectual property, as well as Beijing's support for cutting-edge technologies according to its policy Made in China 2025.
QUALCOMM STILL IN QUESTION
On Friday, China's market regulator said that still I was reviewing the acquisition of NXP Semiconductors for $ 44 billion from Qualcomm Inc, based in San Diego.
Some people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that the approval may depend on the progress of broader talks and a relief of a US government ban on sales of US companies to China's ZTE Corp, sanctioned by the illegal supply of telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea.
Reuters reported on Sunday that Qualcomm expected to meet in Beijing this week with China's antitrust regulators in a final effort to secure authorization for the agreement, but that meeting never materialized and the San Diego-based firm is waiting see The result of Ross' talks before officials travel to China, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
China's exports grew rapidly since they joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, making it the second largest economy in the world. He has positioned himself as an advocate of the global trading system in the face of Washington's toughest stance under Trump.
Report of Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Additional reporting by Matthew Miller at BEIJING and David Lawder at WHISTLER, British Columbia; Written by Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI; Editing by Shri Navaratnam