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China insists US must remove all trade war tariffs

China insists US must remove all trade war tariffs


  • US President Donald Trump previously said that he wanted some tariffs to remain in place for a ‘substantial period of time’, even extending beyond any agreement
  • Washington also urged to fulfil its promise made at the G20 summit to allow American firms to resume selling products to telecommunications firm Huawei

China has insisted that all tariffs on Chinese imports added by the United States during the trade war must be scrapped immediately as part of any deal to end the year-long conflict, which would require the Trump administration to give up its position that some levies remain in place even after an agreement is reached.

US President Donald Trump agreed to pause placing tariffs of up to 25 per cent on an additional US$300 billion of Chinese imports not yet subject to taxes after his meeting with Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last weekend in Japan.

But for any deal to be reached, US tariffs of 25 per cent on US$250 billion of Chinese imports that remain in place must be removed, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng on Thursday, underscoring that there are still many issues to be resolved to end the conflict as it approaches its one-year anniversary on Saturday.

“The US tariff hike on Chinese products was the trigger for bilateral trade frictions, so all the additional tariffs imposed since [the beginning of the trade war in July 2018] must be scrapped once there is a deal,” Gao said at Thursday’s regular media briefing in the first public comments on China’a demands for a trade deal since the truce was announced in Osaka.

“Consultations must be conducted based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The deal must be balanced, equal and mutually beneficial. China’s core concerns must be addressed.”

Trump said on March 21 that he wanted some tariffs to remain in place for a “substantial period of time”, even extending beyond any trade deal.


“We’re talking about leaving [the tariffs in place] for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China, that China lives by the deal,” Trump told reporters outside the White House at the time.

Washington’s refusal to remove all tariffs and its long-list of burdensome demands were key reasons why trade negotiations broke down in early May, Vice-Premier Liu He, China’s top negotiator, has previously said.

Trade teams from both countries remain in contact, Gao said, without providing any time frame for the resumption of formal, face-to-face talks. Agricultural product trade would be an important issue to be discussed with large room for cooperation in the area, Gao added.

China cut back its purchases of US farm products during the trade war before buying a large quantity of US soybeans ahead of the Xi-Trump meeting.

The commerce ministry spokesman also urged Washington to fulfil its promise to allow US firms to resume selling products to embattled Chinese telecommunications equipment and smartphone giant Huawei, and also stop the “wrongful act” of deliberately targeting Chinese companies.

In response to US sanctions against Huawei and other Chinese companies, China is continuing the process of setting up an “unreliable entity list”, Gao confirmed, with foreign companies deemed to be harming Chinese firms for non-commercial reasons facing sanctions if they are placed on the list.


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