U.S. President Donald Trump, right, speaks with Xi Jinping, China’s president, during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China Says It’s Open to U.S. Talks, But Not With a Knife at Its Throat

(Bloomberg) -- China said it’s open to talking on the trade dispute, but it needs the U.S. to show sincerity and not put a knife at Beijing’s throat.

The U.S. trade restrictions are responsible for the stalled talks and any resumption is up to them, according to Wang Shouwen, China’s vice commerce minister. The two sides had previously reached some consensus in four rounds of talks, and Beijing has no idea why the U.S. went back on what they’d agreed, he told reporters on Tuesday.

There is no sign that the U.S. will resume negotiations, with President Donald Trump threatening further tariffs and a U.S. official telling farmers they they should diversify away from the Chinese market. The comments on Tuesday from Beijing show that China isn’t backing down either, after the two sides imposed increased levies on each other earlier this week.

China won’t sacrifice its right to develop its economy for trade talks, Fu Ziying, the Ministry of Commerce’s international trade negotiator, said at the briefing, adding that China won’t reverse course but will deepen the ongoing reforms of its economy.

The economy is resilient and can resist the risks from the trade dispute, National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Lian Weiliang said at the briefing. The nation will boost domestic consumption, investment and improve private business sentiment to counter the impact from the dispute with the U.S., and will also enhance cooperation with the European Union, Japan, Russia and Asean nations, he said.

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It’s normal for the U.S. and China to have trade disputes, but their common interests are much bigger than the problem areas, according to Fu. While the U.S. has a trade deficit with China, Chinese companies have a profit deficit with the U.S., he said.

When asked about the forced transfer of technology from foreign companies to Chinese businesses, Wang said the government did not have any policies mandating it, but that it did reserve the right to require foreign companies operating in certain sectors in China to participate in joint ventures with domestic firms. This is the case in other developed countries and is allowed under World Trade Organization rules, he said.

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