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Trump warns China against delaying trade deal as talks resume

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SHANGHAI—Chinese and U.S. negotiators resumed trade talks, taking tentative steps to overcome mutual mistrust and limited political appetite for a breakthrough agreement after weeks of recriminations.

The U.S. team, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, gathered for dinner Tuesday with the Chinese side, led by Chinese vice Premier Liu He, at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a Shanghai landmark on the city’s riverfront, according to a person familiar with the situation. The negotiators then met for a more formal round of talks at a government guesthouse on Wednesday.

Both sides are looking to the other to demonstrate goodwill, said people briefed on the discussions, with the U.S. expecting a pickup in Chinese orders for American farm goods and Beijing waiting for Washington to relax restrictions on Chinese telecommunications gear maker Huawei Technologies Co.’s access to U.S. technology.

“In trade negotiations, nothing is decided until everything is decided, although it’s possible there will be some baby steps, some partial landing zones, to build confidence,” said James Green, a former U.S. diplomat and trade official who is now an adviser at McLarty Associates, a consulting firm.

Apart from small steps, however, expectations are low for significant progress in resolving a trade dispute that has rattled global markets and seen both sides slap punitive tariffs on about half the more than $600 billion in goods they trade.

President Trump, in a series of tweets Tuesday morning, ratcheted up pressure on Beijing to quickly reach a deal and warned that if he were re-elected, the terms of an agreement “will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now…or no deal at all.”

Later, in comments to reporters at the White House, he said, “We’re either going to make a great deal or we’re not going to make a deal at all.”

He also said he believed China would prefer to negotiate with a Democratic president. “They’ll pray that Trump loses,” Mr. Trump said.

A senior Republican senator opposed to tariffs brushed aside Mr. Trump’s comments.

“I don’t think you ought to make anything out of it except to forget the tweet,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “Just forget his tweet and say, ‘What a blessing it is that, in Shanghai, Lighthizer and Mnuchin are sitting down with their negotiators now, and when they’re talking there’s a chance of getting something done.’ ”

After negotiations appeared to be close but then foundered in May, both sides blamed the other for the breakdown. Since then, each has side taken steps, from the Huawei limits to new Chinese rules on cyber security, that are likely to impede a broader agreement.

 

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Congress leader ask CBI to file FIR in Rafale Case after SC rejects pleas

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New Delhi: Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Friday demanded that the CBI file an FIR in the Rafale case, and claimed that the Supreme Court had not given a clean chit to the BJP-led NDA government in the matter.

Addressing a press conference at the party office, Mr. Chavan said the Congress had demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the alleged scam and sticks to it even today.

Mr. Chavan said, “The BJP rejoiced over the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss review petitions without reading the full judgement. In fact, instead of giving a clean chit to the Modi government, the court has asked for filing of FIR and probe through the CBI, and said that petitioners Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan and Yashwant Sinha be apprised of the investigation.”

If there is no irregularity in the deal, the Narendra Modi government should grant permission under section 17-A of the Prevention of Corruption Act to conduct a probe against the prime minister, Chavan said.

As per section 17-A, Centre’s permission is required to file an FIR against prime minister, he said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected pleas,including one by Bhushan, Shourie and Sinha, seeking a review of its judgment that gave a clean chit to the Modi government on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

It also said there is no ground to order an FIR by the CBI or a roving inquiry into allegations of irregularities in the controversial deal.

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