USA curbs China nuclear exports as Trump warns Americans not 'stupid'

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Communist officials have ordered companies to stop buying American soybeans - the biggest US export to China - and find alternative suppliers and export markets for other goods.

"If it looks like we can make positive direction, then I'm sure the president will have the meeting", the treasury secretary said in his interview.

China's overall trade - what it buys and sells with all countries including the USA - logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

China has responded by imposing counter tariffs, which the Trump administration alleges show political interference by targeting products from key states in next month's congressional elections.

The United States and China imposed new tit-for-tat tariffs against each other's goods in late September, the latest escalation in a heated trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The reported meeting would take place during the G-20 summit in Argentina in late November. "I can't say 100 per cent certainty, but there is no question everybody is looking at it".

The new policy goes into immediate effect, and sets guidelines for reviewing all existing and future technology transfers into China, the officials said.

Trump is pressing China to improve trading conditions for United States products and to end what U.S. businesses say is widespread theft of their intellectual property.

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But as USA interest rates have risen, the U.S. dollar has strengthened further, which makes American exports more expensive.

In an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday, Mnuchin declined to comment on the report. Washington accuses Beijing of manipulating its currency in order to gain trade advantages.

Mnuchin met on Thursday with Yi Gang, head of China's central bank.

Reports that Mnuchin has advised against labeling China a currency manipulator - a status that could trigger penalties - were also seen as easing tensions. She pointed to the dollar's strength as the main culprit for the weaker Chinese currency.

"As it relates to today, there was nothing that specifically occurred today", Mnuchin said.

China's surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion in September as exports to the American market rose 13 per cent from a year earlier to $46.7 billion, down slightly from August's 13.4 per cent growth.

The currency has slid more than 9 percent against the dollar in the last six months, raising speculation that China has been deliberately weakening its currency as tensions with the US escalate.

Washington announced the nuclear technology controls a day after the U.S. Justice Department said it had arrested and indicted a spy for China's Ministry of State Security on charges of economic espionage.

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