Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Commerce minister: China doesn't want trade war with US

Commerce minister: China doesn't want trade war with US

"We are continuing our discussions", Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session underway in Beijing.

US President Donald Trump has since announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, drawing threats of retaliation from China and other nations. China is not one of those nations.

"Because no one is willing to start a trade war, and everyone knows trade wars hurt others without helping themselves", Zhong said.

Beijing has indicated it will implement retaliatory measures, such as by imposing tariffs on agricultural products imported from the United States.

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Trade imbalance between the two countries is structural, with China exporting more commodities to the Unites States while importing more services, Zhong said, adding that trade competitiveness is determined by industries.

While addressing a press conference, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said, "China, which produces half the world's steel, will assess any damage caused by the USA move and firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".

China's persistently high trade surplus with the USA is the root of the tension, and Trump has said he plans to trim it by US$100 billion.

Part of the reason for the trade gap, Zhong said, was that the U.S. had restricted hi-tech exports to China.

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The two sides also agreed to talk about related issues in Beijing in the near future, aiming to create conditions for further cooperation.

He said also that Washington had overestimated its trade deficit with China by 20 per cent, citing the opinions of unspecified experts.

In recent years, Beijing has sought to expand infrastructure networks in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa to achieve its goal of connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road more closely, under the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

Seko is expected to visit China sometime soon, a diplomatic source said.

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