It’s impossible to hold trade talks with US: China

Vastavam web: China said on Tuesday it was impossible to hold trade talks with the United States while Washington is imposing tariffs that are like “holding a knife to someone’s throat”. Speaking a day after Washington activated tariffs on 200 billion in Chinese goods, vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen said China is open to negotiations but that the two sides must treat each other “equally and with respect”.

“Now that the US has adopted this type of large-scale trade restrictions, they’re holding a knife to someone’s throat. Under these circumstances, how can negotiations proceed?” Wang told a news conference. Wang met US officials in Washington in August but there have been no high-level meetings between the world’s top two economies for months.

He said Tuesday the US measures “have made it impossible for the negotiations to proceed” and blamed the US for abandoning a consensus on trade that was struck in May, but was quickly followed by new US tariffs. High-ranking officials from several Chinese government agencies held a press conference on Tuesday as Beijing rolled out a new white paper claiming to set the record straight on trade related facts. Fu Ziying, another vice minister of commerce, noted that some in the United States accuse Beijing of engaging in unfair competitive practices, causing the huge trade deficit between the two countries.

The trade fight between the top two economic giants has steadily escalated through the summer, as the US levied two waves of new tariffs that have now hit about 250 billion worth of goods, roughly half of China’s exports to the United States. Beijing has struck back with each step, hitting 110 billion worth of US goods, or nearly everything China buys from the United States. Experts have warned the snowballing trade spat will harm both economies and even global growth, with Fitch Ratings cutting its growth estimates for China and the world for 2019. Officials in Beijing said they planned to step up support for harmed industries and companies as they seek to offset the trade war’s effects.

“We will actively take all types of measures to help companies resolve their difficulties,” said Luo Wen, vice minister of industry and information technology. China will “earnestly reduce taxes and burdens for companies and strive to optimise the business environment”, he added. Some European and American firms have already started shifting supply chains out of China, or put new investments on hold, according to industry group surveys, a potential problem for Beijing as economic growth sags. Luo called the trade-related risks driving firms out of China a natural phenomenon and said Beijing would look at the situation rationally.