Talks end with China warning trade benefits at risk if US imposes tariffs
04 June, 2018, 09:35
The warning came following a meeting between US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing.
China too threatened a tit-for-tat retaliation but blinked in the end with a categorical undertaking to import more goods from the U.S., sparking off concerns over the likely trade war between the two countries for its potential to create a cascading effect on the global trade order.
In the previous round of talks in Washington, China had agreed to greatly increase its imports of U.S. food, agriculture and LNG to reduce the $US375 billion trade in goods imbalance.
At the talks in Beijing this weekend, "the two sides had good exchanges of views on implementing the consensus reached in Washington, particularly in the areas of agriculture and energy", Xinhua reported. China is attempted to portray itself as defending free trade and global trading rules, although that stance is belied by China's high tariffs, subsidized exports, state-control of business, and onerous restrictions on foreign companies looking to access the Chinese market.
"Reform and opening-up as well as expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies. Our established rhythm will not change", Xinhua said.
"China has demonstrated that it does not want a trade war, while at the same time revealing that it is not afraid of one either", the state-run Global Times, which is run by the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said in an editorial.
China has warned that all trade talks between Beijing and Washington will be void if the U.S. sets up trade sanctions.
Mr Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $US150 billion ($198 billion) of Chinese goods.
There was no immediate comment or statement from the us delegation or from Ross himself.
Mnuchin had been part of the first trade delegation to Beijing, which sought to pressure China to cut $US200 billion from its U.S. trade surplus and stop promoting Chinese technology companies if Beiing wanted to avoid a trade war.
"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Ross said.
He spoke to reporters with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to President Xi Jinping. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who announced the tariff truce with China, said at the G7 summit in Canada that the United States was pushing for "structural changes" to the Chinese economy.
All non-U.S. Group of Seven finance ministers expressed "disappointment" over Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum on Canada, the European Union and Mexico.
Ross, who was preceded in Beijing last week by more than 50 United States officials, is expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of U.S. farm and energy commodities to help shrink the USA trade deficit.
Following Beijing's announcement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dispute was "on hold".
It's when countries attack each other's trade with taxes and quotas.
More than 50 USA officials are in Beijing for the trade talks.
Trade analysts had warned Ross's hand might be weakened if the Trump administration alienated allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminum and other exports.
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China Vows to Retaliate After US Imposes Fresh Tariffs
The US is preparing to send a trade delegation back to Beijing later this week to continue talks aimed at easing trade tensions. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to be in Beijing on June 2 to 4 for the latest round of negotiations.