China warns trade agreements 'void' if U.S. imposes tariffs

China warns trade agreements 'void' if U.S. imposes tariffs

- in Business
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China warned the United States on Sunday that any deals the two countries reach on trade will be void if President Donald Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods goes ahead.

The warning came after U.S.-Chinese delegations wrapped up their latest round of talks as part of a sprawling trade dispute between Beijing and Washington.

It also came just days after the Trump administration announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, prompting outrage from America’s closest allies and major trading partners.

China released a statement early on Sunday warning that any achievements made during the talks should be “based on the premise” of not fighting a “trade war.”

“If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariffs, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will be void,” said the statement, which was carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.

There was no immediate comment or statement from the U.S. delegation, which was led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Image: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross talks to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing, China on Sunday.POOL / Reuters

Ross had previously said the two parties had discussed which specific U.S. exports China might purchase. But the negotiations ended with no joint statement and neither side released further details.

Ross is expected to leave Beijing later on Sunday.

Trump has been pressing Beijing to narrow its politically volatile trade surplus with the U.S., which reached a record $375.2 billion last year.

But the White House threw the status of the talks into doubt this week 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 event went ahead despite that but Beijing said it reserved its right to retaliate.

The new Chinese threats came as the U.S. was singled out by some of its closest allies, who warned Trump’s new levies on steel and aluminium imports will undermine open trade and weaken confidence in the global economy.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday slammed the White House’s claim that it was imposing the tariffs to protect American national security interest.

Related

“The idea that the Canadian steel that’s in military, military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your, your fighter jets is somehow now a threat?” Trudeau said in an exclusive interview with “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, which took place in Trudeau’s office in Parliament in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. “The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.”

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