China says no to U.S. trade war, but vows to defend interests
12 March, 2018, 09:22 | Author: Edward Snyder
Zhong Shan, Commerce Minister of the People's Republic of China, said it during the session of the National People's Congress, Reuters reports.
A trade war between China and the United States would be disastrous not only for the two countries involved, but also the rest of the world, Beijing warned on Sunday.
Canada, Mexico and Australia have secured exemptions from the tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum announced by Trump, though Canada's and Mexico's were conditioned on progress renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. He gave no details on how this figure was reached, but the USA and Chinese governments generally report widely differing trade figures because Beijing counts only the first port to which goods go instead of their final destination.
The US administration asked China for a plan to cut the annual US trade deficit with the nation by $100 billion, a White House official said last Friday.
China's persistently high trade surplus with the United States is the root of the tension, and Trump has said he plans to trim it by US$100 billion.
"China doesn't want to fight a trade war, nor would we take initiatives to ignite a trade war", he said.
The deficit could be reduced by 35 percent if the United States eased export controls on high-technology products to China, he said, citing unspecified USA research.
The U.S. deficit with China came to $375 billion in 2017, accounting for roughly half the nation's trade deficit globally, Washington said last month.
The U.S. reported a $375 billion deficit with China past year, so a 20 percent reduction would still be among the largest trade gaps that it has with any country.
The country will also work to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment along the Belt and Road, while carrying out major foreign aid projects including the Happy Home Projects, the Anti-Poverty Projects and the Health Recovery Projects, Zhong said.
More than 150,000 buyers from home and overseas are expected at the event, he said.
Beijing has indicated it will implement retaliatory measures, such as by imposing tariffs on agricultural products imported from the United States.
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