China trade talks end with no breakthrough as tariffs kick in

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The two countries have now targeted $50 billion of each other's goods and threatened duties on most of the rest of their bilateral trade, raising concerns that the conflict could dent global economic growth.

"Instead, these tariffs threaten to increase costs for American families and destroy the livelihoods of us workers", Gold said.

Meanwhile, a Reuters poll of more than 100 economists shows that majority expect economic growth to slow over the next two quarters as the boost created by last year's tax cuts fades and Americans begin to feel the costs of the tariffs.

This week's talks are also taking place as hundreds of executives and officials from USA companies, trade groups and other entities have descended on Washington to weigh in on the administration's planned tariffs on the additional US$200 billion in Chinese imports.

However, Federal Reserve officials have warned that "an escalation in worldwide trade disputes was a potentially consequential downside risk for real activity", according to the minutes of its July 31-August 1 policy meeting.

The tariffs took effect amid two days of talks in Washington between mid-level officials from both sides, the first formal negotiations since US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese economic adviser Liu He in Beijing in June.

China had to "continue to make the necessary counter-attacks", its commerce ministry said in a statement immediately after United States tariffs began at 04:00 GMT.

The talks were to continue Thursday morning, but the Treasury has not specified what topics are being discussed.

"China resolutely opposes this, and will continue to take necessary countermeasures", it said in a brief statement shortly after mid-day.

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The meetings this week in Washington appear set to highlight the continuing divide inside the Trump administration over how best to deal with Beijing and how China hawks are winning that battle.

"You are great", said a presenter on the almost three-minute-long English-language clip, reading a letter that pays a satirical tribute to Trump. China has said its own tariffs on a list of US$16 billion worth of imports from the United States would be effective at 12.01pm local time.

"We are a country that has been ripped off by anybody and we are not going to be ripped off anymore", Trump said at a campaign rally in West Virginia on Tuesday.

However, Beijing also could target the local operations of USA corporations with inspections and boycotts as it has done in past disputes with South Korea and Japan.

"By further reducing the supply of these products in the United States, the proposed tariffs threaten higher prices for USA consumers and a higher level of contaminants in American drinking water, food chain, waste water, and chemicals", said CEO Stefan Brodie at a hearing last month.

Guajardo in recent weeks had played up the progress made but also cautioned that the hardest issues were still on the table, including the United States demand for a five-year "sunset clause", which would oblige the three countries to renew the pact. Canada's absence from the talks in recent weeks also has concerned observers but Gutierrez said he thought the United States also had a strong incentive to reach a rapid agreement before the November congressional elections.

"The Trump administration thinks they are winning, and the Chinese don't look like they want to give in either".

"The best strategy that China can adopt is not to react so quickly".

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