Chi­nese say trade talks have not bro­ken down

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News -

China’s lead­ing en­voy to trade talks in Washington says the fail­ure to strike a deal in the tar­iffs war with the U.S. was “just a small set­back” and ne­go­ti­a­tions will con­tinue de­spite in­creases in im­port du­ties on Amer­i­can im­ports from China.

In com­ments to re­porters be­fore he left Washington for Bei­jing on Fri­day, Vice Premier Liu He said he was cau­tiously op­ti­mistic but that a deal would re­quire the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to agree to end the puni­tive tar­iffs it has im­posed on bil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of Chi­nese goods.

In com­ments car­ried by China’s state-run CCTV, Liu said the re­main­ing dif­fer­ences are cru­cial ones hav­ing to do with prin­ci­ples, “and we will make no con­ces­sions on mat­ters of prin­ci­ple.”

Still, he said he did not be­lieve the ne­go­ti­a­tions had bro­ken down.

“On the con­trary, I think it is just a small set­back in the talks be­tween two coun­tries, which is in­evitable,” Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV showed him as say­ing.

Liu said it was “China’s opin­ion that the tar­iffs are the start­ing point of the trade fric­tion and must be to­tally lifted if a deal is reached.”

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion raised tar­iffs on bil­lions of dol­lars of Chi­nese goods to 25% from 10% on Fri­day.

U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. was pre­par­ing to ex­pand those tar­iffs to cover $300 bil­lion of Chi­nese prod­ucts that aren’t al­ready fac­ing im­port taxes, or vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing im­ported from China.

Liu also said the two sides were dis­agree­ing over the amount of goods China would pledge to pur­chase from the U.S. to help re­duce the Amer­i­can trade deficit.

“We think this is a very se­ri­ous is­sue and we can­not eas­ily change our minds,” he said.

Liu sought to down­play the scale and im­pact of the dis­pute, say­ing that China was a strong na­tion and would sur­mount any prob­lems caused by the con­flict.

AP

A barge pushes a con­tainer ship to the dock­yard Wed­nes­day in Qing­dao in east­ern China’s Shan­dong prov­ince. China’s lead­ing en­voy to trade talks in Washington says the fail­ure to strike a deal in the tar­iffs war with the U.S. was “just a small set­back.”

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