Brussels in last-ditch attempt to avoid Trump's trade tariffs


If the USA insists on unilateral measures, China will respond accordingly, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday.

The proposed investment restrictions and export controls will be announced by June 30, 2018, and adopted shortly thereafter, according to the White House.

"When it comes to worldwide relations, every time a country does an about face and contradicts itself, it's another blow to, and a squandering of, its reputation", she said.

"In worldwide relations, an about-face or constant change of positions is bound to damage or squander a country's credibility", Hua said.

Even though Washington had not withdrawn the threatened tariffs on imports from China, Beijing reacted harshly to the announcement, saying it was surprised by Tuesday's statement and would defend its interests.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is due in Beijing on Saturday after the White House renewed its threat of 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

Threats of a trade war between the United States and China had hit financial markets hard, although now most economists believe the two will manage to avoid a major economic conflict.

"China urges the United States of meet us halfway with the spirit of our joint statement", the representative said.

Trump has moved this year to increase trade pressure on Beijing.

China must address its failure to protect U.S. intellectual property, but these tariffs are not an effective response because it will harm American jobs and consumers, said Erik Paulsen, Joint Economic Committee Chairman Congressman.

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The Trump administration said Tuesday that tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods would be finalized by June 15 despite a trade agreement reached between the two countries earlier this month.

Trump's latest u-turn was greeted with dismay in the Chinese state media, though pledges to retaliate were muted. "The Chinese government has the ability and wisdom to handle such situations".

"The thinking became that if the USA doesn't have any leverage and there is no pressure on our Chinese friends, then we will not have serious negotiations". "So far, there's not much of that in evidence".

"China's trade practices raise serious concerns but job-killing tariffs aren't the answer", the statement said.

As a result of Trump's tariff threat, Washington is in very intense negotiations with Beijing "in a way that we haven't been for so many years", said the chamber chairman, William Zarit. Trump then upped the ante, threatening to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods. The dispute was initiated in March over Beijing's "discriminatory technology licensing requirements", the White House said. The fine would be on top of a $1 billion penalty ZTE has already paid for selling high-tech equipment to North Korea and Iran in violation of US sanctions.

Meanwhile, China has warned of equal retaliation, including duties on some of its most significant USA imports, like aircraft, soybeans and vehicles. He said companies hope Beijing can be persuaded to "level the playing field" by easing curbs on foreign investment and business activity in its state-dominated economy.

The instructions also say that Chinese citizens seeking visas will need special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies if they work as researchers or managers for companies on a U.S. Commerce Department list of entities requiring higher scrutiny. Last week, the president said he would allow ZTE to stay in business if it pays a $1.3 billion fine, shakes up its management, and provides "high-level security guarantees".

Analysts said the U.S. move may be an attempt to gain leverage ahead of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's visit to China later this week for talks. Mnuchin's comments followed a commitment by China to significantly increase its purchases of USA farm goods and energy products, such as natural gas.

Following trade talks in Washington, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the world's two biggest economic powers have agreed to back away from imposing tough new tariffs on each other's exports.