In a letter Mnuchin and Lighthizer sent to Liu late last week, the Trump administration set out specific requests that include a reduction of Chinese tariffs on US cars, more Chinese purchases of US semiconductors and greater access to China’s financial sector by American companies, the people said. Mnuchin is weighing a trip to Beijing to pursue the negotiations, one of these people said. On Saturday Mnuchin called Liu, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, whose promotion as vice-premier during the just-concluded annual legislative session essentially makes him the country’s economic captain. “Secretary Mnuchin called Liu He to congratulate him on the official announcement of his new role,” a Treasury spokesman said. “They also discussed the trade deficit between our two countries and committed to continuing the dialogue to find a mutually agreeable way to reduce it.” The behind-the-scenes discussions might come as relief to those rattled by announcements last week of US pl...

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