China's Top Economic Envoy Said to Meet With Key Republicans

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser will meet with key Republican congressional leaders on Wednesday.

Liu He will meet with Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, chair of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, along with other lawmakers, according to two Congressional aides. One aide declined to name other attendees. Liu will also meet with Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, Hatch’s spokeswoman said. Hatch chairs the Finance Committee, the Senate counterpart to Brady’s panel.

Liu, China’s vice premier, arrived in Washington on Tuesday for four days of trade talks, his second visit this year. He will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, following a U.S. delegation Mnuchin led to Beijing on May 3 and 4 that ended in discord.

The outlook for avoiding a costly trade war between the world’s two biggest economies looked grim after Mnuchin’s China talks failed to make progress. But conditions have recently improved after President Donald Trump’s shock reversal of a ban on China’s ZTE Corp. accessing American technology. Beijing praised the move.

This week, Liu will also meet with the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Liu’s visit comes as many lawmakers are nervous about an escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China. One particular area of concern among Republicans, who are gearing up for a tough midterm election in six months, is that China’s threat to impose tariffs on U.S. soybean exports in retaliation to Trump’s proposed tariffs would hammer rural farm states, costing their constituents as well as their party’s candidates at the ballot box.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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