Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

China issues statement on Sino-US trade talks

China issues statement on Sino-US trade talks

The warning came after delegations led by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's top economic official Vice Premier Liu He wrapped up a meeting on Beijing's pledge to narrow its trade surplus.

"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 says any trade and business deals will be void if the United States goes ahead with its threats of sanctions. "The attitude of the Chinese side remains consistent".

"Reform and opening-up as well as expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies". Ross met Liu for dinner on Saturday and the two were due to meet again on Sunday, a USA official said.

"To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides", the statement said. At the meetings last week between lower-level Chinese and US officials, negotiations almost stalled as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on details for increasing Chinese purchases of USA crude oil, soybeans, natural gas, beef, and poultry.

The planned USA sanctions on Beijing include restrictions on Chinese investment, export controls and 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese tech goods.

Neither country has implemented the tariffs yet and continued discussions to find a way out of the impasse. Still, Beijing resisted pressure to commit to a specific target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by US$200 billion.

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.

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But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that the US had abandoned leadership in the global economy and said he had passed on the other countries' strong feelings to Mr Trump. China has also threatened to hit back with tit-for-tat tariffs on tens of billions of dollars in U.S. goods.

Analysts had noted in recent weeks a seesawing of U.S. demands of China, that may reflect division among Trump's inner circle on whether reducing the trade deficit, demanding structural change to China's economy or addressing forced technology transfers was the priority.

Mnuchin had said on Saturday the U.S. wanted China to agree to structural change to its economy.

After a three-day meeting of finance ministers from the G7 industrial nations that ended Saturday in Canada, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the USA trade actions.

"There are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly".

"We regret that our common work together at the level of the G7 has been put at risk by the decisions taken by the American administration on trade and on tariffs", he said. Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.

Meanwhile, G7 nations have hit out at the United States over its new steel and aluminium import tariffs.

The US pressure over technology policy reflects growing American concern about China's status as a potential competitor and complaints Beijing improperly subsidises its fledgling industries and shields them from competition.

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