U.S. Hints at China Talks Progress as Trump Riles Trade Allies

GETTY Wilbur Ross said that the rules will make EU  US trade difficult

BEIJING-U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks without a settlement, with Beijing saying it won't abide by any deal if Washington goes ahead with threatened tariffs.

"If the United States introduces trade sanctions including a tariff increase, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will not take effect", said the Chinese statement, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Wilbur Ross sounded upbeat on Sunday after having dinner the previous evening with China's Vice-Premier Liu He.

"If the U.S. side imposes trade restrictions, including high tariffs, then all trade agreements reached as result of talks will have no binding force", the statement read.

During his stay, Ross has been looking to build on a vague joint statement released May 19, after the last negotiations in Washington.

After it had appeared a trade truce between the two economic heavyweights was on the cards, the White House this week warned it would continue to pursue tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, as well as impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and tighter export controls.

The Trump administration's shifting stance on China may complicate Ross's ability to extract concessions from Beijing.

There was no immediate comment from the USA delegation. But the truce appeared to end with this week's announcement Washington was going ahead with tariff increases on technology goods and would also impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of USA hi-tech exports.

"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.




"China is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, to satisfy the Chinese people's increasing consumption needs and the country's high-quality economic growth", the statement said.

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

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

Trump's announcement that he wanted to proceed with tariffs on China came less than two weeks after the two countries had said they were putting threats of tariffs on hold while they continued negotiating.

Mr Ross was accompanied by agriculture, treasury and trade officials for the meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a leafy compound on Beijing's west side.

Trade analysts warned Ross's hand might be weakened by the Trump administration's decision Thursday to go ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Europe and Mexico.

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

"But I also fundamentally believe that if there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition, that will deal with the trade deficit alone".

That 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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