China warns United States no deal if tariffs go ahead

Commerce Secretary To Press China To Buy As Allies Seethe Over Tariffs

After talks between Vice Premier Liu He and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, China said it was ready to boost imports from many countries.

The third round of trade talks between the world's two largest economies appeared to fall short of bridging the gap between Beijing and Washington, which are at loggerheads over Chinese trade and industrial policy practices that US President Donald Trump says kill American jobs. But Chinese envoys promised after the last high-level meeting in Washington in mid-May to buy more American farm goods and energy products. It criticised Trump's move this week and said it reserved the right to retaliate but avoided repeating its earlier threat.

Tuesday's announcement revived fears the conflict between the two biggest economies might dampen global growth or encourage other governments to raise their own barriers to imports.

"If the U.S. introduces trade sanctions including tariff increases, all economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties so far will be void", said a Chinese government statement issued by the official Xinhua news agency.

There was no immediate comment from the United States delegation.

Ross arrived in Beijing on Saturday for talks after the Trump administration renewed tariff threats against China, and with key U.S. allies in a foul mood towards Washington after they were hit with duties on steel and aluminium.

USA tensions with China had eased after Beijing promised on May 19 to "significantly increase" purchases of farm goods, energy and other products and services following the last round of talks in Washington.

Following Beijing's announcement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dispute was "on hold".

The purchases are partly aimed at shrinking the $375 billion United States goods trade deficit with China.

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In addition to tariffs, Ross is also under pressure from USA lawmakers to stay tough on Chinese telecom-equipment maker ZTE Corp.

The White House has said it would announce a final list of Chinese imports covered by the U.S. tariffs on June 15, with the other measures to follow later this month. Still, Beijing resisted pressure to commit to a specific target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by US$200 billion.

On the Chinese side, officials including Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, Central Bank Governor Yi Gang, Vice Agricultural Minister Han Jun, and Li Fanrong, vice minister of national energy administration, accompanied Liu in the talks, according to a media pool report.

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

"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Ross said.

There was no indication whether the talks also would take up American complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies.

Only two days ago, on Friday, steel and aluminium tariffs were imposed on the EU, Canada and Mexico.

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.

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