China says it wants ‘calm’ resolution to US trade war

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said nobody benefited from a trade war and that China was willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said nobody benefited from a trade war and that China was willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through "calm" negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, Vice-Premier Liu He, who has been leading the talks with Washington, said on Monday (Aug 26).

The increasingly bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies sharply escalated last Friday, with both sides levelling more tariffs on each other’s exports.

US President Donald Trump announced an additional duty on some US$550 billion (S$764 billion) of targeted Chinese goods last Friday, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on US$75 billion worth of US goods.

He also threatened to order US companies out of China, although he appeared on Sunday to back off on this.

Mr Liu, speaking at a tech conference in south-west China’s Chongqing, said nobody benefited from a trade war.

"We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war," Mr Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said, according to a government transcript.

"We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world," he added.

US companies are especially welcome in China, and will be treated well, Mr Liu said.

"We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China," he added.

 
 
 

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

It was not clear exactly how Mr Trump could get US companies to leave China.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Mr Trump could order companies out of China under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if he declared a national emergency.

The trade war has damaged global growth, upset allies, and raised market fears that the world economy will tip into a recession.

Global stock markets reeled on Monday after the latest measures, while China’s yuan currency fell to a fresh 11-year low. Investors streamed into the safe harbours of sovereign bonds and gold.