Don't act emotionally on trade matters, China tells US

21 March, 2018, 08:22 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping left shakes hands with Premier Li Keqiang after Li was re-elected as Premier during a plenary meeting of China's National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

"Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people's condemnation and the punishment of history", he said, to loud applause from the nearly 3,000 parliamentary delegates. "We are resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies".

Voicing hopes that Beijing and the United States could avoid a trade war, Premier Li Keqiang told the close of the annual parliament session that China would open its economy further, so that foreign and Chinese firms can compete on an equal footing.

Li was re-elected for second five-year term by the National Peoples Congress (NPC) after his candidature was endorsed by President Xi Jinping last week. However, the premier made no mention of a possible Chinese response in the event US President Donald Trump raises import barriers over trade complaints against Beijing.

But American companies are increasingly frustrated with China's trade and investment policies, arguing that they are denied access from key market sectors and not treated fairly in others. Business groups have suggested Beijing might target US exports of jetliners, soybeans and other goods for which China is a major market.

"The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are sound and the financial sector is stable", Li said in customary press conference at the conclusion of the annual session of Chinas national legislature.

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Asked whether Beijing might use its large holdings of USA government debt as leverage, the premier said its investments are based on market principles and "China will remain a responsible long-term investor".

"What we hope is for us to act rationally rather than being led by emotions", he said.

"A large trade deficit is not something we want to see", he said.

Last week, a coalition of US business and trade lobby groups urged Trump not to impose tariffs on China, warning it would be "particularly harmful" to the USA economy and consumers.

Asked whether Beijing might use its large holdings of USA government debt as leverage in a dispute, the premier said China's investments are based on market principles and "China will remain a responsible long-term investor".

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"If there is one thing that will be different from the past, that will be that China will open even wider", said Li. He said Beijing will make it easier to start a business and will open more industries to foreign and private competition.

"China's economy has been so integrated with the world's, that closing China's door would mean blocking our way for development", Li said.

Beijing plans to "further bring down overall tariffs", with "zero tariffs for drugs, especially much-needed anti-cancer drugs", the premier said.

The US trade deficit with China ran to a record US$375 billion previous year - but US exports to the country were also at a record.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang has pledged that China "will strictly protect intellectual property rights".

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