US tariffs on Chinese goods will hurt its own consumers and businesses: China Foreign Minister Wang Yi

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to the media after bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore, on Aug 2, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - America's unilateral tariffs on Chinese goods contravene global trade rules and run counter to its own interests, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in pointed comments on Thursday (Aug 2).

"Instead of achieving one's own goal by doing this, we believe it will only hurt one's own interests," he told reporters at a press conference after the Asean-China ministerial meeting in Singapore.

Urging cooler heads in Washington to prevail, Mr Wang made the case that US tariffs would hurt its own consumers and businesses, given how globalised trade is today.

He said: "Sixty per cent of Chinese exports to the US are actually made by foreign companies, including American firms in China. Is the US trying to put tariffs on its own companies?

"For Chinese exports to the US, many of them are no longer produced in the US itself. Is the US administration trying to raise the living cost of its own consumers?"

Even if the US tries to buy fewer goods from China through imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, it still has to buy these goods from other countries, he said.

This would not help the US ease its trade imbalance with China either, he added.

Businesses in the US also want a slice of the growing market in China, which is ready to buy more to meet the growing demand from Chinese consumers, Mr Wang said.

"We hope that the trade policymakers in the US will be cool-headed and listen to the voice of US consumers and the US business community," he added.

Mr Wang was firm that any pressure which the US was trying to put on China would not work.

"While China is ready to talk to anyone ready to talk to us, including the US, this kind of dialogue has to take place on the basis of mutual respect and equality," he said.

Turning to the question of the Korean Peninsula, Mr Wang said Beijing's position has been clear.

"We think the only viable way for settling the Korean peninsula issue is to achieve both complete denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, and to establish a peace mechanism there."

Both elements are indispensable, he said.

"The completion of both ends serves the common interests of the international community, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the US. Hence China will continue to uphold this basic position of ours," he said.

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