China warns United States sanctions will void trade talks
China warns United States sanctions will void trade talks
Talks end with China warning trade benefits at risk if U.S. imposes tariffs
04 June, 2018, 09:33
Chinese and US teams, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, held economic and trade consultations in Beijing, an official statement here carried by state-run Xinhua news agency said today. It said the White House also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of USA high-tech goods and on visas for Chinese students.
The Trump administration said on Tuesday that the U.S. would follow through with tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, defying a trade truce reached last month in Washington.
It says the two sides have made concrete progress on many areas but the details are left for final approval.
"Both sides appear to have hardened their negotiating stances and are waiting for the other side to blink", said Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.
"China is willing to sit down and negotiate - the country does have a need to import more consumer goods and natural gas", he said. He added that "economic reform and opening up, as well as increasing domestic consumption, are China's national strategies - and our established pace of reform won't change". "Our set pace will not change", the statement said.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could begin in "a few days".
The United States and China have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion each.
He said Washington would use its move on Tuesday to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese imports as a bargaining chip.
In the U.S., China hawks have been wary of the deal that Secretary Ross pursued in Beijing.
President Donald Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its politically volatile surplus in trade in goods with the United States, which reached a record $375.2 billion past year.
"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Ross told the Chinese trade team led by Liu, President Xi Jinping's right hand-man on economic issues, on Sunday morning.
China has promised to "significantly increase" purchases of farm goods, energy and other products and services.
Mnuchin had said on Saturday the U.S. wanted China to agree to structural change to its economy.
The visit comes as fears of an all-out global trade war intensified after the European Union, Canada and Mexico drew up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium tariffs that came into effect on Friday. "This is about structural changes", Mnuchin said Saturday.
Other officials and technical experts from the Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, United States Trade Representative, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy also took part, the White House said.
The U.S. delegation at the Beijing talks included Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, and United States Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud.
That might alienate allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminium and other exports they say are the result of improper subsidies and hurt foreign competitors.
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