China warns U.S. trade deals off if tariffs go ahead

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Sunday trade talks have been "friendly and frank" as the US and China continued with a second day of negotiations in Beijing aimed at deescalating tensions between the two sides.

China on Sunday threatened retaliation against the US during a round of trade talks, saying that economic and trade deals negotiated by the two countries would become "void" should Washington impose new sanctions.

"To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides", the statement said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says U.S. and Chinese officials have discussed specific American export items Beijing might buy as part of its pledge to narrow its trade surplus with the United States.

The Trump Administration said Tuesday that the United States would follow through with tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, defying a trade truce reached last month in Washington.

While many countries share US frustration with Chinese trade and economic practices, critics of USA policy under Trump have warned that Washington risks alienating the European Union, Canada and Mexico with 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

The White House threw the meeting's status into doubt Tuesday by renewing a threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese high-tech goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

The American Embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday the United States wanted this weekend's talks to result in structural changes to China's economy, in addition to increased Chinese purchases of American goods.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said on Saturday that the United States wanted this weekend's talks to result in structural changes to China's economy, in addition to increased Chinese purchases of American goods.

"The White House's tariff announcement on May 29 was just part of the negotiations for Wilbur Ross' visit to Beijing as they try to clinch deals that favour the U.S.", he said.

The negotiating process should be "based on the premise" of not fighting a "trade war", the statement said.

Ross, who was preceded in Beijing last week by more than 50 U.S. officials, is expected during the two-day visit to try to secure long-term purchases of USA farm and energy commodities to help shrink the United States trade deficit.

China has also threatened to hit back with tit-for-tat tariffs on tens of billions of dollars in U.S. goods.

All non-U.S. Group of Seven finance ministers expressed "disappointment" over Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum on Canada, the European Union and Mexico.

Ross and Liu held a working dinner Saturday ahead of their talks.

That might alienate allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminium and other exports they say are the result of improper subsidies and hurt foreign competitors.

  • Joey Payne