World Media

Chinese Agreements to Have No Binding Force, If US Imposes Tariffs - Beijing

President Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping during Trump's visit to China last November. The US has threatened

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.

At the talks in Beijing this weekend, "the two sides had good exchanges of views on implementing the consensus reached in Washington, particularly in the areas of agriculture and energy", Xinhua reported.

President Donald Trump announced that the US will forge ahead with a plan to slap tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports just 10 days after the two reached the truce agreement in Washington.

Chinese and US teams, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, held economic and trade consultations in Beijing, an official statement here carried by state-run Xinhua news agency said today.

The Trump administration aimed for a possible trade truce with China on Saturday while threatening consequences if Beijing's "militarization" of the South China Sea continues.

There was no immediate comment or statement from the US delegation or from Ross himself.

Trump is pressing Beijing to narrow its politically volatile trade surplus with the United States, which reached a record $375.2 billion past year.

After a three-day meeting of finance ministers from the G7 industrial nations that ended Saturday in Canada, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the USA trade actions.

Canada plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on about $13bn worth of USA exports from 1 July.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could begin in "a few days".

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. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then that the USA tariffs were suspended and the trade war "on hold".

Last month, Trump had threatened punitive measures against Chinese goods if China doesn't cut down the trade deficit by Dollars 100 billion in a month and USD 200 billion by 2020.

The Trump administration may soon fine ZTE as much as $1.7 billion as it looks to punish and tighten control over the firm before allowing it back into business, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

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

Before Ross arrived with his team for the two-day talks, the USA and China had threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion each. But Beijing has said it reserves the right to retaliate if Washington goes ahead with a threatened tariff hike on other Chinese goods.

It criticised Tuesday's announcement but refrained from repeating its earlier threat. "Our set pace will not change", it said.

State news outlets have portrayed the ZTE decision as having been made by Mr. Ross's Commerce Department, and they have suggested that it is merely a bargaining ploy as part of trade negotiations. Liu is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue.

Ross had a working dinner Saturday evening with Liu, also at the same guesthouse in Beijing.

"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.

There was no indication whether the talks also would take up American complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union together exported $23bn worth of steel and aluminium to the U.S. in 2017 - almost half of the $48bn of total steel and aluminium imports a year ago.