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China: Tariffs by US would wipe out trade progress

China: Tariffs by US would wipe out trade progress

"Trump's strategy does no favors for the moderates like trade negotiator Liu He who are eager to take China down a more manageable path of market and financial reforms, and such reforms would indeed be good for USA commercial interests", said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of the law firm Perkins Coie and a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The tone of the statement suggested that China's concessions at last month's talks in Washington were not enough for the Trump administration, says BBC Asia Business correspondent Karishma Vaswani.

Reuters reported last Sunday that Qualcomm was expecting to meet this week in Beijing with China's antitrust regulators in a final push to secure clearance for the deal, but the meeting never materialized and the San Diego-based firm is now waiting to see the outcome of the Ross talks before executives travel to China, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

"China has demonstrated that it does not want a trade war, while at the same time revealing that it is not afraid of one either", the state-run Global Times, which is run by the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said in an editorial.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, second from left, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, fourth right, attend a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, June 3, 2018.

The White House threw the meeting's status into doubt on Tuesday (local time) by renewing a threat to impose 25 per cent tariffs on $US50 billion ($66 billion) of Chinese high-tech goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Last week, the Trump administration then announced it would roll out duties on Chinese imports worth $50 billion, mainly from the technology sector. "These talks have produced positive and concrete developments, though details are still being finalized".

China has warned that agreements to buy more American goods will be void if Washington goes ahead with sanctions and other punitive trade actions.

The 50-member strong U.S. raised topics including additional Chinese purchases of USA exports. China's willingness to buy more American products and allow United States investments with IPR protections raised hopes of an agreement, which led to current round of talks in Beijing.

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Ross nonetheless journeyed to Beijing Friday to work out details of the vague agreement Mnuchin had earlier cobbled together with the Chinese vice premier.

He says steel tariffs will protect U.S. steelmakers, which he says are vital to national security.

"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Ross said, in brief comments to reporters. The talks were focussed on getting China to move ahead with its recent promises to increase energy and farm imports from the U.S.

China also said it won't be pushed into making major changes to its economic policies.

Ross was accompanied by agricultural, treasury and trade officials.

The world's two largest economies have been at loggerheads over trade and industrial practices for months with the talks under way in the Chinese capital the third formal round of negotiations.

The two-day talks in Beijing which ended on Sunday followed an earlier round in Washington where officials had met to discuss the situation.

Some people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that approval may depend on progress of broader talks and a reprieve from a USA government ban on sales by US companies to China's ZTE Corp, penalised for illegally supplying telecommunications gear to Iran and North Korea. Mr Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.


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