'Frank' trade discussions in Beijing: US commerce secretary

Daniel Fowler
June 4, 2018

"If the United States introduces trade sanctions including a tariff increase, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will not take effect", the Chinese government said in a statement to Xinhua state news agency Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

The Trump administration aimed for a possible trade truce with China on Saturday while threatening consequences if Beijing's "militarization" of the South China Sea continues.

China is threatening to retaliate against proposed USA tariffs after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' trip to Beijing failed to yield an agreement on trade.

Negotiations on a deal to rescue the embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE also "appear to be hitting roadblocks", although Eurasia Group said it still believes it's more likely those talks will end successfully than not.

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.

But Beijing warned all the results were premised on "not fighting a trade war".

Still, Beijing warned that any deal would be void if Washington went ahead with proposed tariffs.

"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", said Ross at the opening of yesterday's meeting. "Our established rhythm will not change", Xinhua said.

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

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

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On May 19, China had pledged to import more from America was an to reduce its $375 billion trade surplus in goods with the United States.

It referred instead to a consensus they reached last month in Washington, when China agreed to increase significantly its purchases of us goods and services.

United States leverage against China appears to have been weakened by a sour mood among U.S. allies after Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

"I want to be clear, this isn't just about [China] buying more goods, this is about structural changes", Mnuchin said.

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

Last week, the Trump administration then announced it would roll out duties on Chinese imports worth $50 billion, mainly from the technology sector.

China's delegation included central bank governor Yi Gang, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, and Ning Jizhe, a deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, a powerful planning body.

Ross had a working dinner Saturday evening with Liu, also at the same guesthouse in Beijing.

Trade analysts had warned Ross's hand might be weakened if the Trump administration alienated allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminum and other exports.

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