China offering Trump package to slash U.S. trade deficit, officials say

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – China is offering U.S. President Donald Trump a package of trade concessions and increased purchases of American goods aimed at cutting the U.S. trade deficit with China by up to $200 billion a year, U.S. officials familiar with the proposal said.

News of the offer came during the first of two days of U.S.-China trade talks in Washington focused on resolving tariff threats between the world’s two largest economies. But it was not immediately clear how the total value was determined.

One of the sources said U.S. aircraft maker Boeing Co would be a major beneficiary of the Chinese offer if Trump were to accept it. Boeing is the largest U.S. exporter and already sells about a quarter of its commercial aircraft to Chinese customers.

Another person familiar with the talks said the package may include some elimination of Chinese tariffs already in place on about $4 billion worth of U.S. farm products including fruit, nuts, pork, wine and sorghum.

A White House statement described the meetings as part of “ongoing trade discussions” and said Trump met with the Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He and the U.S. team led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“The United States officials conveyed the President’s clear goal for a fair trading relationship with China,” the White House said.

The top-line number in the Chinese offer would largely match a request presented to Chinese officials two weeks ago by Trump administration officials in Beijing.

But getting to a $200 billion reduction of the U.S. China trade deficit on a sustainable basis would require a massive change in the composition of trade between the two countries, as the U.S. goods deficit was $375 billion last year.

The United States’ two biggest exports to China were aircraft at $16 billion last year, and soybeans, at $12 billion.

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