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China issues white paper on China-US trade talks stance

Wang Shouwen attends a news conference during the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing March 9

Wang Shaowen, vice commerce minister and deputy global trade representative, said China had been forced to "take forceful measures in response" to USA actions and denied China had backtracked on its earlier commitments.

In May, the United States made a list of prospective tariffs on another $US300 billion worth of goods that have yet to go into effect.

Since it took office, the new USA administration has used trade deficit and intellectual property as excuses to frequently provoke economic and trade frictions and unilaterally imposed additional tariffs against China, forcing China to take strong measures to defend its interests, Chinese vice-commerce minister Wang Shouwen said at a news conference in Beijing Sunday.

Washington later slapped additional tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate.

China said it will lay out its position on trade talks with the USA in a white paper and hold a rare press conference on the issue on Sunday, an announcement that came hours after it implemented retaliatory tariff increases against the US.

A top US business lobby group said last month that its members face increased obstacles in China such as government inspections, slower customs clearance and slower approval for licensing and other applications.

"The Chinese government rejects the idea that threats of a trade war and continuous tariff hikes can ever help resolve trade and economic issues", according to the white paper.

"A country's sovereignty and dignity must be respected, and any agreement reached by the two sides must be based on equality and mutual benefit", it said. "However, the US has backtracked, and when you give them an inch, they want a yard".

The prerequisite for a trade deal is that the U.S. should remove all additional tariffs, China's purchases of goods from the USA should be realistic, and there should be a proper balance in the text of the agreement, according to the white paper.

With talks stalled, the dispute appears to be spreading beyond tariffs.

"Even after China overcame difficulties to find pragmatic solutions to many issues raised by the USA, it still wanted a yard after China offered an inch", said Wang, who is part of the Chinese negotiating team, noting that the United States insisted on "unreasonable" demands, including terms that violate China's sovereignty.

His comments were echoed by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at a defense forum in Singapore on Sunday.

It said China had enough fiscal and monetary policy tools and "good momentum" to sustain economic development despite the trade war.

The latest round of the US-Chinese trade talks ended in mid-May without an agreement.

Details about the list will be announced soon, Wang said.

When asked if Xi would meet Trump in Japan, Wang said: "I don't have any information on this to provide".