International News

China warns US no trade agreements possible without removing new tariffs

China has warned the United States that any deals reached during Sino-US trade negotiations would be null and void if Washington still insisted with levying hefty duties on Chinese goods, days after the White House threatened that it would impose extra tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports.
“If the US 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 carried by the official Xinhua news agency on Sunday, shortly after the conclusion of the latest round of trade talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in the capital Beijing.
The third round of trade negotiations between the two largest economic powers in the world seemed to fail in closing the gap between Beijing and Washington, which are currently at odds over Chinese trade and industrial policy practices that US President Donald Trump says killing American jobs.
On March 8, the US president caused fear when he decided to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports, primarily to target China, but also allies, including EU countries as well as Japan.
Trump argued at the time that enormous flows of imports to the US were putting in jeopardy the American national security, making an odd departure from a decades-long US-led move towards open and free trade.
The discussions in Beijing, led by Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu He, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, were aimed at easing tensions after Washington said Tuesday that planned trade sanctions against China were still in the works despite an earlier announcement last month by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the tariffs on Chinese goods were “on hold”, which aroused Beijing’s anger a day later.
The consensus reached in Washington called on China to increase agricultural and energy imports from the US. Beijing said “positive and concrete progress” was made on those issues with details left for “both sides to finalize.”
The White House has already said that the final list of Chinese imports covered by the tariffs would be announced on June 15 and imposed shortly thereafter while details of the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls would be announced on June 30.
On Saturday, Washington’s main allies issued a unified message of shock and dismay at a G7 ministerial meeting, urging the American leader to withdraw from the punishing metal duties.
Separately, the European Union, which has also been targeted by similar US duties, initiated a complaint process at the World Trade Organization in a bid to resolve its dispute on the tariffs announced by Washington. The bloc has already threatened to impose a number of counter-measures against the US.