Beijing wants to resolve trade issues with calm negotiations

In this photo taken on Nov 8, 2017, US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping attend a business leaders event inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
In this photo taken on Nov 8, 2017, US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping attend a business leaders event inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.PHOTO: AFP

China is firmly against escalating the trade war with the United States and instead wants to resolve issues through calm negotiations, its top trade negotiator Liu He has said.

But the Foreign Ministry yesterday hit out at US President Donald Trump's threat to order US companies to leave China, calling it a "political slogan".

The comments followed the latest round of tit-for-tat moves by both countries.

Last Friday, Beijing announced it would slap additional tariffs of 5 or 10 per cent on US$75 billion (S$104 billion) worth of US imports, in response to Mr Trump's earlier decision to impose 10 per cent tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese goods. Both measures would go into effect in two batches, on Sept 1 and Dec 15.

The Chinese retaliation led Mr Trump to declare angrily on Twitter that the US$300 billion of Chinese imports would face a 15 per cent levy instead.

The tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports would also go up from 25 to 30 per cent on Oct 1.

Yesterday, Vice-Premier Liu, who is President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, said escalating the trade war was not in the interests of the US, China or the world.

"We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude, and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war," he said at a technology conference in the south-western city of Chongqing.

In a tweet, Mr Trump had also raised the possibility of getting US firms to leave China, although he has since appeared to back off on this threat.

 
 
 
 

Mr Liu said: "We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China.

"We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our open market, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain."

Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denounced Mr Trump's threat, saying it was "more like a political slogan than a pragmatic move".

"Even if it happens, there will naturally be others to fill in the gaps and the US will be harmed in the end," he said.

He added that decoupling the Chinese and American economies was not a good way to ease trade tensions nor solve the US' domestic issues. "We advise the US to heed the advice from various stakeholders, count the pros and cons and not be driven by emotions," said Mr Geng.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing wants to resolve trade issues with calm negotiations'. Print Edition | Subscribe