China warns US trade benefits hinge on stopping tariffs

04 June, 2018, 09:34 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • President Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping during Trump's visit to China last November. The US has threatened

Last week, however, the USA announced that it meant to apply tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese technology goods and impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the US shortly after June 15 unless trade talks reached a major breakthrough.

"All economic and trade outcomes of the talks will not take effect if the United States side imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs", a statement from China's official Xinhua News Agency 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", the state news agency said, adding details would be subject to "final confirmation by both parties".

The talks, led by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's Vice Premier Liu He ended without a joint statement or either side releasing details of the negotiations.

A statement released by the Chinese side at the talks with the USA in Beijing said nothing specific about the outcome, and referred back to an agreement reached in Washington last month to increase purchase of USA goods and services.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross, foreground, is in Beijing for trade talks after Washington ratcheted up tensions with a new threat of tariff hikes on Chinese high-tech exports. Still, Beijing resisted pressure to commit to a specific target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by US$200 billion.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dispute was "on hold" and the tariff hike would be postponed.

The US and China have been at loggerheads over trade and industrial practices for months. That comes at the same time Trump has riled some of America's closest allies with the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"Tariffs and expanding exports - the United States can't have both", it said.

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"The attitude of the Chinese side remains consistent", it said.

The two countries have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150bn each.

The U.S. delegation didn't comment after the talks but Ross earler said that the "meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items".

Mnuchin had said on Saturday the United States wanted China to agree to structural change to its economy. 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 aluminium.

China is maneuvering to take advantage of rebukes from US allies following the Trump administration's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico, and European Union.

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

Bruno Le Maire, France's finance and economy minister, was blunt in his assessment of the meeting.

"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.

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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