China warns U.S. sanctions will void trade talks

03 June, 2018, 17:56 | Author: Essie Rivera
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China has warned that the United States that the outcome of trade talks will be void if Washington imposes trade sanctions including tariffs on Chinese goods, state media reported Sunday quoting a government statement issued at the end of two-day high-level talks between Chinese and U.S. trade officials.

China has warned any agreements with Washington in their talks on settling a sprawling trade dispute "will not take effect" if threatened USA sanctions including tariff hikes go ahead.

No joint statement was issued at the end of Sunday's meeting in Beijing, and there has been no response to the Chinese comments by the U.S. side.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says U.S. and Chinese officials have discussed specific American export items Beijing might buy as part of its pledge to narrow its trade surplus with the United States.

China had promised at talks in Washington last month to significantly increase its imports of U.S. goods in an effort to reduce the massive trade imbalance between the two countries that Trump has frequently railed against.

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 a year ago.

The White House has said it would announce a final list of Chinese imports covered by the United States tariffs on June 15, with the other measures to follow later this month.

But state news agency Xinhua carried a statement which warned against a trade war and said the two sides should meet each other half way. It said the White House also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of U.S. high-tech goods and on visas for Chinese students.

Private sector analysts say while Beijing is willing to compromise on its trade surplus, it will resist changes that might threaten plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.

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The American Embassy in Beijing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The Chinese side has realised that the U.S. has just delayed its trade actions rather than giving them up - but Beijing didn't expect a change of attitude so quickly". Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.

Beijing has resisted USA pressure to commit to a firm target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by $US200 billion ($264 billion).

The move reflects growing American concern about China's status as a potential tech competitor and complaints Beijing improperly subsidises its fledgling industries and shields them from competition.

Ross and the large American delegation had dinner Saturday evening with their Chinese hosts.

At the center of the row was the White House's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum produced by key USA allies in the European Union and Canada.

Trump's announcement that he wanted to proceed with tariffs on China came less than two weeks after the two countries had said they were putting threats of tariffs on hold while they continued negotiating.

That might alienate allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminum and other exports they say are the result of improper subsidies and hurt foreign competitors.

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