China will not yield any ground or make any concessions on trade if the U.S. decides to implement President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs, a Chinese statement carried by state media suggested Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arrived in Beijing Saturday for trade negotiations amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China. The Chinese delegation issued a statement that signaled little progress was made. The two trade teams “made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides,” the statement carried by the Xinhua News Agency read.
The sticking point in talks appears to be Trump’s proposed trade tariffs. “All economic and trade outcomes of the talks will not take effect if the U.S. side imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs,” the statement explained, suggesting that Beijing will void all previous and future agreements with the Trump administration should it decide to impose punitive tariffs on China.
Following productive bilateral trade talks in Washington in mid-May, the Chinese side agreed to “substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China,” according to the relevant joint statement. (RELATED: Beijing Has Agreed To ‘Substantially Reduce’ America’s Trade Deficit With China)
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin then announced that the U.S. and China had reached a ceasefire agreement in the trade war, a tense conflict first triggered by U.S. tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum and significantly escalated by the threat of billions of dollars in punitive tariffs meant to punish China for intellectual property theft. (RELATED: Treasury’s Mnuchin Says US Putting Trade War With China ‘On Hold’)
Catching Beijing off guard, the Trump administration revealed Thursday that it intends to push forward with plans to impose steep tariffs on Chinese technology exports, theoretically costing China around $50 billion annually.
In addition to tariffs, the U.S. will also target investment restrictions, enhance export control regimes and challenge China in the World Trade Organization, an organization the administration argues China should have never been allowed to join. (RELATED: Trump To Hit China With Billions Of Dollars In Trade Penalties, White House Reveals)
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro described Mnuchin’s earlier comments as an “unfortunate sound bite,” explaining, “What we’re having with China is a trade dispute — plain and simple.”
“We want to reiterate that we don’t want a trade war, but we aren’t afraid of fighting one,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in response. “If the U.S. insists on acting arbitrarily and recklessly, China will take firm and powerful measures to safeguard its own legitimate rights.” (RELATED: Beijing Is Not Backing Down As Trump’s Latest Moves Reheat US-China Trade Spat)
The outcome of the ongoing trade war appears to hinge on Trump’s decision on tariffs.
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