Skip to main content

China’s door to talks is open in principle, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after Beijing warned that any trade and business deals reached with Washington would be void if the United States implemented tariffs.

The United States and China have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion each, as U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed Beijing to open its economy further and address the United States’ large trade deficit with China.

The two countries ended their latest round of negotiations on Sunday with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his delegation leaving Beijing without making a public statement. China also made no mention of any new agreements.

Story continues below advertisement

Following Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s talks with Ross, China referred instead to a consensus reached last month in Washington, when China agreed to increase significantly its purchases of U.S. goods and services.

It also warned that any tariffs and other trade measures imposed by Washington would derail any agreements between the two sides.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying referred questions to the country’s Commerce Ministry when asked at a regular news briefing when and where a next round of talks might occur, and if Liu was preparing to go to the United States.

“But I think China’s position in principle is very clear, which is that China’s door to dialogue and consultations is always open,” Hua said.

China is sincere in wanting to “appropriately resolve” the problem via talks, she said, without elaborating.

China’s State Council Information Office and the Commerce Ministry did not reply to Reuters request for comment on the issue.

The U.S. delegation conveyed Trump’s goal of a fair trading relationship with China, the White House said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

“The meetings focused on reducing the United States’ trade deficit by facilitating the supply of agricultural and energy products to meet China’s growing consumption needs, which will help support growth and employment in the United States,” it said.

Trump weighed in on Twitter early Monday by saying, “China already charges a tax of 16% on soybeans. Canada has all sorts of trade barriers on our Agricultural products. Not acceptable!”

Later he tweeted that American farmers have been treated unfairly by China, Canada and Mexico for 15 years but that he would change that.

In an editorial, the official state-run China Daily said the outcome of the weekend talks suggested both sides had continued to take a constructive approach, but warned of Trump’s unpredictability.

“Trump claims that he is seeking fairness and reciprocity in the U.S.’ economic relationship with China but so far he has sought to extort gains from China using the economic advantages the U.S. has,” it said.

At the end of last month’s talks in Washington the two countries released a joint statement and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later said the trade war was “on hold.”

Story continues below advertisement

But just when it appeared a trade truce between the two economic heavyweights was on the cards, the White House last week warned it would pursue tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, as well as impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and tighter export controls.

The heightened trade tensions with China come as Trump has angered U.S. allies, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, with tariffs on metal imports.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading…

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.