Chinese Agreements to Have No Binding Force, If US Imposes Tariffs - Beijing

03 June, 2018, 17:55 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
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China has warned the United States that any agreements reached on trade and business between the two countries will be void if Washington implements tariffs and other trade measures, as the two ended their latest round of talks in Beijing. On Sunday, he is expected to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's lead negotiator in the trade dispute.

China has promised to "significantly increase" purchases of farm goods, energy and other products and services.

Beijing said the two sides had made "positive and concrete progress" on matters like increasing agricultural and energy imports but said details were left for "both sides to finalise".

To meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and the requirements of high-quality economic development, China is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, which will benefit people of both countries and the rest of the world, it noted. "Our established rhythm will not change", it said.

Beijing warned all the commitments it had made so far were premised on "not fighting a trade war".

China on Sunday threatened retaliation against the US during a round of trade talks, saying that economic and trade deals negotiated by the two countries would become "void" should Washington impose new sanctions.

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

Instead, the short statement referred to last month's "consensus" reached in Washington.

President Donald Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus and is threatening to hike duties on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports.

"Chinese officials know these talks are precarious, but may underestimate the domestic political cost Trump now sees in lifting the ZTE ban without major concessions from China", said Andrew Gilholm, the director of China analysis at Control Risks, a political and security consulting firm.

Addressing Liu earlier in the day, Ross praised the tone of their interactions. Ross, who did not speak to reporters after landing, hopes his visit will keep dialogue between the countries going, according to Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday the USA wants to see "structural changes" in the Chinese economy. It said the White House also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of United States high-tech goods and on visas for Chinese students.

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Mnuchin, speaking at a G7 finance leaders meeting in Canada where he was the target of USA allies' anger over steel and aluminium tariffs, said the China talks would cover other issues, including the Trump administration's desire to eliminate Chinese joint venture requirements and other policies that effectively force technology transfers. "This is about structural changes", Mnuchin said Saturday.

"But I also fundamentally believe that if there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition, that will deal with the trade deficit alone".

The U.S. team also wants to secure greater intellectual property protection and an end to Chinese subsidies that have contributed to overproduction of steel and aluminum.

As the trade dispute threatened to blow up into a full scale "war", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under fire from the European Union at the Group of Seven, or G7, meeting of finance leaders in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler. Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.

"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".

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