US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing for trade talks

Jun 03, 2018, 18:00
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing for trade talks

China has warned U.S. against slapping tariffs on Chinese goods as another round of bilateral talks on trade disputes ends in Beijing.

While U.S. officials have sent conflicting signals during the dispute with China, one person familiar with planning for Ross' visit said his aim was to keep dialogue going.

"If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariff increases, all economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties so far will be void", said a Chinese government statement issued by the official Xinhua news agency.

The statement was released following the conclusion of talks between U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

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

The U-S has threatened to implement tariffs on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports.

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The White House said that Trump planned to add the tariffs to combat Chinese intellectual property theft, including tariffs on exports believed to contain stolen American intellectual property.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said on Saturday that the United States wanted this weekend's talks to result in structural changes to China's economy, in addition to increased Chinese purchases of American goods. But the truce appeared to end with this week's announcement Washington was going ahead with tariff increases on technology goods and would also impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of U.S. hi-tech exports.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday the USA wants to see "structural changes" in the Chinese economy.

Beijing has resisted USA pressure to commit to a firm target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by $200 billion.

Earlier, China responded with a threat to retaliate with higher duties on a US$50 billion list of American goods including soybeans, small aircraft, whiskey, electric vehicles and orange juice.

Beijing warned all the commitments it had made so far were premised on "not fighting a trade war". Mr Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.

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Ross, who was preceded in Beijing last week by more than 50 U.S. officials, is expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of USA farm and energy commodities to help shrink the United States trade deficit.

Mr Ross and Mr Liu held a working dinner on Saturday ahead of their talks.

Trade analysts had warned the US' hand might be weakened by its decision to go ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Europe and Mexico.

The agreement came several weeks after each country threatened to impose $150 billion tariffs on each other's goods and services.

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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