China warns United States against tariffs as trade talks end

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned Europe its new privacy laws could hurt the continent with less communication coming from America including vital alerts about possible disease outbreaks

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned Europe its new privacy laws could hurt the continent with less communication coming from America including vital alerts about possible disease outbreaks

China had promised at talks in Washington last month to significantly increase its imports of U.S. goods in an effort to reduce the massive trade imbalance between the two countries that Trump has frequently railed against.

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 achievements reached by China and the United States should be based on the premise that the two sides should meet each other halfway and not fight a trade war", Xinhua said. CCTV reported Ross and his delegation had an initial meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in the afternoon, and the two sides would hold a formal meeting tomorrow.

A short statement, carried by the official Xinhua news agency, made no mention of any specific new agreements after United States commerce secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese vice premier Liu He.

He Weiwen, deputy director of the Centre for China and Globalisation and a former Commerce Ministry official in NY, said Beijing was prepared to take measures to narrow the trade gap but it was also prepared for a trade war.

The statement gave few details on the talks, but it made clear that China would not deliver on commitments to buy more American goods if its exports are sanctioned. "But it is also well prepared".

The statement was released following the conclusion of talks between U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

He said Washington would use its move on Tuesday to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese imports as a bargaining chip.

As the trade dispute threatened to blow up into a full scale "war", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under fire from the European Union at the Group of Seven, or G7, meeting of finance leaders in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler.

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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.

It referred instead to a consensus they reached last month in Washington, when China agreed to significantly increase its purchases of United States goods and services.

Beijing has resisted USA pressure to commit to a firm target of narrowing its annual surplus with the United States by $US200 billion ($264 billion).

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who announced the tariff truce with China, said at the G7 summit in Canada that the USA was pushing for "structural changes" to the Chinese economy.

There was no indication whether the talks also would take up American complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies. "The U.S. has been ripped off by other countries for years on Trade, time to get smart!"

Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $150 billion of Chinese goods.

The American Embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The event went ahead despite that but Beijing said it reserved the right to retaliate.

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