China warns US no deal if tariffs go ahead

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

Ross' failure to publicly comment or immediately release a statement on the outcome of the talks may have been due to the U.S. delegation needing to assess Trump's willingness to accept a Chinese deal.

Tensions temporarily eased on May 19 after China promised to "significantly increase" its purchases of US farm, energy and other products.

Trump's announcement that he wanted to proceed with tariffs on China came less than two weeks after the two countries had said they were putting threats of tariffs on hold while they continued negotiating.

In the previous round of talks in Washington, China had agreed to greatly increase its imports of USA food, agriculture and LNG to reduce the $US375 billion trade in goods imbalance.

"Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies. Our established rhythm will not change", it added.

Last month China promised it would import more from the U.S.in a bid to narrow a trade surplus of €321 billion.

"If the United States introduces trade sanctions including tariffs, all the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will be void".

The American Embassy in Beijing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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While both sides had separately described discussions as friendly and constructive, the talks did not yield a joint statement or specific details on an agreement made in the previous round of negotiations for China to buy more American farm produce and energy goods.

But just when it appeared a trade truce between the two economic heavyweights was on the cards, the White House last week warned it would pursue tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, as well as impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and tighter export controls.

The warning shot from Beijing has escalated diplomatic tensions between the USA and its trade allies after President Donald Trump proposed higher tariffs against foreign aluminium and steel imports.

He says steel tariffs will protect U.S. steelmakers, which he says are vital to national security.

China accused Washington of wanting it both ways, insisting each country would be better served by pursuing the "greatest number of common interests", and that any new deals "cannot be tilted toward unilateral USA interests".

Xinhua said in a separate commentary that the United States should not test China with any further flip-flops or provocations.

Although China does not export much steel or aluminum directly to the USA due to trade sanctions already in place, it views the US metals tariffs as a roundabout attack on its market power.

The warning came following a meeting between US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing.

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China's exports have mushroomed since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, making it the world's second-largest economy.

Liu spoke only to welcome Ross.

Ross nonetheless journeyed to Beijing Friday to work out details of the vague agreement Mnuchin had earlier cobbled together with the Chinese vice premier.

Liu, a Harvard-trained economist who is a trusted confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is China's chief negotiator in the trade dispute.

"That's a relationship with China that structurally has to change", he said.

The US and China have been at loggerheads over trade and industrial practices for months.

"Despite the potential negative repercussions for both economies, the risk of a full-blown China-U.S. trade war, with tariffs and other trade sanctions being imposed by both sides, has risen significantly". "If there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition that will deal with the trade deficit alone".

Some people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that approval may depend on progress of broader talks and a reprieve from a USA government ban on sales by US companies to China's ZTE Corp, penalised for illegally supplying telecommunications gear to Iran and North Korea.

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At the meetings last week between lower-level Chinese and US officials, negotiations almost stalled as the two sides failed to reach an agreement on details for increasing Chinese purchases of USA crude oil, soybeans, natural gas, beef, and poultry.

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