China says no to US trade war, but vows to defend interests

Violet Powell
March 12, 2018

"But we can handle any challenge, and will firmly defend the interests of our nation and our people".

Zhong said that cooperation is the only choice for the 2 countries.

The comments came a week after US President Donald Trump announced heavy trade tariffs of 25 per cent for steel and 10 per cent for aluminium.

Zhong told reporters after the National People's Congress on Sunday that there would be no victor in a trade war.

Trump has called the tariffs a matter of national security while threatening to tax European auto imports and impose "reciprocal taxes" on countries that charge higher duties on U.S. goods than the United States now charges on their products. He gave no details on how this figure was reached, but the US 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. He later dismissed threats of retaliation by other countries by saying, "trade wars are good, and easy to win". Of those imports, South Korea, Japan, China and India accounted for 6.6 million tonnes. China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

Australia to Secure Exemption from US Tariffs
He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs. "We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures, safeguards".

He cited American government research that he said showed the figure for the surplus in China's favour overstated by roughly 20 percent and said that if the United States dropped restrictions on high tech exports to China it would further reduce the surplus by 35 percent.

The Trump administration earlier approved higher tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines, solar modules and some other goods, prompting Beijing to accuse Washington of disrupting global trade regulation by taking action under USA law instead of through the World Trade Organization.

He also reiterated a previous pledge that China would lower import tariffs on consumer goods including automobiles, as part of an effort to boost domestic consumption.

Nonetheless, there is growing bipartisan consensus in Washington, and support within some segments of the United States business community, for the United States government to counter what are seen as Beijing's predatory industrial policies and market restrictions on foreign firms. He said that would only bring disaster to China and the United States and the rest of the world.

President Xi Jinping's top economic advisor, Liu He, held trade discussions with United States officials at the White House earlier this month but the meetings yielded few breakthroughs.

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