Sunday, 24 June, 2018

China warns US trade deals are off if tariffs go ahead

Talks end with China warning trade benefits at risk if US imposes tariffs German carmakers will be big losers of a trade war with US
Gerardo Duncan | 04 June, 2018, 09:35

Following Beijing's announcement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dispute was "on hold".

Canada plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on about $13bn worth of United States exports from 1 July. The mood was described as "hostile".

Less than 12 hours later, an agreement appeared to have been reached as discussions were wrapped up, according to China's official news agency Xinhua, although precious details were missing from the communique. At the meetings last week between lower-level Chinese and US officials, negotiations almost stalled as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on details for increasing Chinese purchases of USA crude oil, soybeans, natural gas, beef, and poultry.

At the talks in Beijing this weekend, "the two sides had good exchanges of views on implementing the consensus reached in Washington, particularly in the areas of agriculture and energy", Xinhua reported.

China has threatened to dash any trade agreements struck with the U.S. in recent weeks if President Donald Trump moves ahead with his threat to level tariff hikes against Chinese goods.

Mnuchin had been part of the first trade delegation to Beijing, which sought to pressure China to cut $US200 billion from its United States trade surplus and stop promoting Chinese technology companies if Beiing wanted to avoid a trade war.

"It has been a tense and tough G7 - I would say it's been far more a G6 plus one than a G7", said Le Maire, who called the tariffs unjustified.

"But I also fundamentally believe that if there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition, that will deal with the trade deficit alone". Mr Trump has also complained about barriers USA firms face in Europe and elsewhere.

Ross earlier that talks between the world's two largest economies had been "friendly and frank".

Indeed, this has caused consternation in Beijing and is regarded as a "red line" for the ruling Communist Party.

Last month, Trump had threatened punitive measures against Chinese goods if China doesn't cut down the trade deficit by Dollars 100 billion in a month and USD 200 billion by 2020.

The renewed push for Chinese tariffs coincides with Washington's announcement last week that it would implement duties on steel and aluminum for other key allies.

But at the same time, it warned that the outcome of the talks should be "based on the prerequisite that the two parties meet each other halfway and will not engage in a trade war". "China's attitude on a trade war remains the same and will always be consistent".

The visit from the large United States delegation, with members from several executive branch agencies, came as fears of an all-out global trade war intensified after the European Union, Canada and Mexico drew up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium tariffs that went into effect on Friday.

Bruno Le Maire, France's finance and economy minister, also called the US tariffs unjustified.

Even US House Speaker Paul Ryan waded into the row, insisting that the White House should be working with, and not against, its "allies".

Media captionWhat are the contentious issues around US-China trade?

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