China warns trade deals off if U.S. imposes tariffs

China warns trade deals off if U.S. imposes tariffs

The talks, led by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's Vice Premier Liu He ended without a joint statement or either side releasing details of the negotiations. The purchases are meant to reduce America's massive trade deficit in goods and services with China, which past year came to $337 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The previous round of talks in Washington saw China pledging "significant increase" in its purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the talks between Ross and Liu had made "positive and concrete progress", and had discussed agriculture and energy. "China's attitude on a trade war remains the same and will always be consistent".

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

But at the same time, it warned that the outcome of the talks should be "based on the prerequisite that the two parties meet each other halfway and will not engage in a trade war".

Still, Beijing warned that any deal would be void if Washington went ahead with proposed tariffs.

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Trump also has threatened to raise tariffs on an additional US$100 billion of Chinese goods, but gave no indication this week whether that would go ahead.

"Tariffs and expanding exports - the United States can't have both", it said.

"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 United States", he said. Still, Beijing resisted pressure to commit to a specific target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by US$200 billion.

The U.S. delegation didn't comment after the talks but Ross earler said that the "meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items".

"I want to be clear, this isn't just about [China] buying more goods, this is about structural changes", Mnuchin said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the push to have China purchase more American goods was partially meant to shrink a $375 billion U.S. trade deficit with the country.

More news: US revives tariff threat in standoff with China

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

Other officials and technical experts from the Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, United States Trade Representative, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy also took part, the White House said.

There was also anger at the G7 meeting of finance ministers after last weekend's decision by the U.S. to impose 25% steel tariffs and 10% aluminum duty on the EU, Canada and Mexico.

China's delegation included central bank governor Yi Gang, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, and Ning Jizhe, a deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, a powerful planning body.

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

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