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China willing to resolve trade dispute via calm negotiations

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China is willing to address the trade tensions with the United States through “calm” negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, said China’s Vice Premier Liu He, who has been leading the trade talks with the US, said on Monday.

“We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war,” Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said, according to a government transcript.

Liu, speaking at a tech conference in the city of Chongqing in southwestern China, said “we believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world.”

“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” he added.

“We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”

On the same day, China’s Foreign Ministry said it’s not aware of the weekend phone called mentioned by US President Trump and reiterated that the new tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese goods violate the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi and US President Trump at a press briefing on Monday.

The comment was in response to Trump’s earlier remarks that China has called to ask for a re-start of trade talks, hours after Beijing’s top negotiator publicly called for calm in response to a weekend of tit-for-tat tariff increases that sent global stocks plunging.

“China called last night our trade people and said let’s get back to the table,” Trump said on the sidelines of the Group of 7 meeting in Biarritz, France. “They understand how life works.”

The ministry said China will take countermeasures if the US place new tariffs on Chinese goods and if American companies leave China, as threatened by Trump on Friday, other countries’ companies will fill the gap.

On Friday, Trump said existing 25 per cent tariffs on some $250 billion in imports from China would rise to 30 per cent starting Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Planned 10 per cent tariffs on a further $300 billion in Chinese goods will be raised to 15 per starting with the first tranche on Sept. 1.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump could order companies out of China under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if he declared a national emergency.

Liu spoke at an event focused on high-tech industries such as big data, artificial intelligence, semi-conductors and 5G. He said China opposes technology blockades and protectionism, and is trying hard to maintain the completeness of supply chains.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Sunday that the US unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and the maximum pressure violates consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, violates the principle of mutual respect and benefit, damages multinational trade system and international trade order.

China urges the US not to misjudge situation or underestimate Chinese people’s determination, said the ministry.

 

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