United States commerce secretary, Chinese vice premier to talk trade amid row

04 June, 2018, 09:34 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned Europe its new privacy laws could hurt the continent with less communication coming from America including vital alerts about possible disease outbreaks

BEIJING-U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks without a settlement, with Beijing saying it won't abide by any deal if Washington goes ahead with threatened tariffs.

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.

He Weiwen, deputy director of the Centre for China and Globalisation and a former Commerce Ministry official in NY, said Beijing was prepared to take measures to narrow the trade gap but it was also prepared for a trade war. "The Chinese side has realised that the USA has just delayed its trade actions rather than giving them up - but Beijing didn't expect a change of attitude so quickly".

"Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies".

"The achievements reached by China and the United States should be based on the premise that the two sides should meet each other halfway and not fight a trade war", it added. Ross met Liu for dinner on Saturday and the two were due to meet again on Sunday, a US official said.

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Last month China promised it would import more from the U.S.in a bid to narrow a trade surplus of €321 billion. The White House renewed a threat this week to hike duties on $50 billion of Chinese technology-related goods over that dispute.

Neither country has implemented the tariffs yet and continued discussions to find a way out of the impasse.

"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Ross told the Chinese trade team led by Liu, President Xi Jinping's right hand-man on economic issues, on Sunday morning.

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. China's willingness to buy more American products and allow U.S. investments with IPR protections raised hopes of an agreement, which led to current round of talks in Beijing. "This is about structural changes", Mnuchin said Saturday.

Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $150 billion of Chinese goods.

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After a three-day meeting of finance ministers from the G7 industrial nations that ended Saturday in Canada, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the USA trade actions.

Allies including Canada and the European Union are threatening retaliatory tariffs.

"If there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition that will deal with the trade deficit alone", Mnuchin said Saturday, according to Bloomberg News. Mr Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister. Germany is also hoping its steel exports to the United States will be exempted from sanctions.

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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