By Joe McDonald
Published 1:01 pm, Sunday, June 3, 2018
Photo: Andy Wong / Associated Press
BEIJING — China cautioned Sunday after another round of talks on a sprawling trade dispute with Washington that any deals they produce “will not take effect” if President Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods takes effect.
The warning came after delegations led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China’s top economic official, Vice Premier Liu He, wrapped up a meeting on Beijing’s pledge to narrow its trade surplus. Ross said at the start of the event they had discussed specific American exports China might purchase, but the talks ended with no joint statement and neither side released details.
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The White House threw the meeting’s status into doubt Tuesday by renewing a threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese high-tech goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. The event went ahead despite the move, but Beijing said it reserved the right to retaliate.
Tuesday’s announcement revived fears the conflict between the two biggest economies might dampen global growth or encourage other governments to raise their own barriers to imports.
“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,” said the Chinese statement, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its trade surplus with the United States, which reached a record $375.2 billion last year. 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.
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 U.S. trade actions. Allies including Canada and the European Union are threatening retaliatory tariffs.
Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $150 billion of Chinese goods. Tuesday’s announcement gave no indication whether the other increases might also go ahead. In response, China threatened to retaliate by raising import duties on $50 billion of American goods.
Joe McDonald is an Associated Press writer.
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