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China 'won't sit by and watch' if US harms trade: Vice foreign minister

US President Donald Trump has intended to put duties of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium products

Reuters  |  Beijing 

US, CHina, import duties, trade war, Donald Trump, steel import, aluminium import, steel product,World Trade Organization, WTO,beijing , china, US economy, china's economy
Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for National People's Congress (NPC), addresses reporters ahead of China's annual session of parliament (Photo:Reuters)

does not want a with the United States but will defend its interests, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Sunday, after President announced a plan to put tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Trump struck a defiant tone on Friday, saying trade wars were good and easy to win, a day after he said he intended to put duties of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium products.

Trade tensions between the world's two largest economies have risen since Trump took office in 2017, and although only accounts for a small fraction of steel imports, its massive industry expansion has helped produce a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

Negotiations and mutual opening of markets were the best ways to resolve trade frictions, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said at a briefing ahead of China's annual session of parliament, which opens this week.

"does not want to fight a with the United States, but we absolutely will not sit by and watch as China's interests are damaged," Zhang, who is a spokesman for parliament and was formerly an ambassador to the United States, said.

"If policies are made on the basis of mistaken judgements or assumptions, it will damage bilateral relations and bring about consequences that neither country wants to see," he said.

Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard American jobs, but many economists say the impact of price increases for users of steel and aluminium, such as the auto and oil industries, will destroy more jobs than curbs on imports create.

Nonetheless, there is growing bipartisan consensus in Washington, and support within the business community, for the U.S. government to counter what are seen as Beijing's predatory industrial policies and market restrictions on foreign firms.

Trump has long sought a way to a more balanced trade relationship with and is also considering potential trade sanctions against under a "Section 301" investigation into China's intellectual property practices and pressure on foreign companies for technology transfers.

His administration has said the United States mistakenly supported China's membership in the in 2001 on terms that have failed to force to open its

Diplomatic and business sources say the United States has all but frozen a formal mechanism for talks on commercial disputes with because it is not satisfied has met its promises to ease market restrictions.



First Published: Sun, March 04 2018. 14:04 IST