China warns U.S. that tariffs will kill any chance of trade benefits

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The discussions in Beijing, led by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, were meant to ease tensions after Washington said on Tuesday it would follow through with tariffs on Chinese imports despite a truce reached between the two sides last month.

"The Chinese government's attitude of not wanting but also not fearing a trade war has never changed", it said.

Mr Ross said at the start of the event they had discussed specific American exports China might purchase, but the talks ended with no joint statement and neither side released details.

The U.S. delegation included energy and agriculture experts, reflecting the U.S. desire to increase exports of natural gas and food in an effort to reduce the $375 billion annual deficit in goods trade with China.

"All economic and trade outcomes of the talks will not take effect if the USA side imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs", the statement said.

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

"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.

The 50-member strong USA raised topics including additional Chinese purchases of United States exports.

Hua referred questions about the status of the talks to the Commerce Ministry, which did not immediately respond to requests for information.

Ross did not speak to reporters in the lobby of his Beijing hotel on Saturday afternoon.

China vows to retaliate after U.S. imposes fresh tariffs
The tariff threat is a "very powerful" negotiating tactic, said Lester Ross, chairman of the American chamber's policy committee. Tuesday's announcement comes amid mixed messages from the White House about a " trade war " with China.


"The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable", he said. "However, what the U.S.is saying right now is: "I'm done with you, I don't want to stick with the rules anymore", and there's not much we can do", said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank in Shanghai.

"Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items", Mr Ross said at the opening of Sunday's meeting. "Our established rhythm will not change", it said.

Tensions eased after China 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.

"There are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly".

The U.S. government has said a team of commerce, treasury and agriculture officials were in Beijing to make preparations.

On Sunday, Chinese media reports framed the lack of concrete outcomes in the latest round of talks as Beijing's way of driving home the point that no substantial discussions can take place when the threat of tariffs looms large.

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

The looming tariff hikes have also raised hackles among USA trade partners in Canada, Mexico and the European Union, stoking fears that a full-scale trade war could erupt within days.

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.

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