China warns US against tariffs as trade talks end

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Chinese and US teams, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, held economic and trade consultations in Beijing, an official statement here carried by state-run Xinhua news agency said today.

Beijing warned all the commitments it had made so far were premised on "not fighting a trade war".

Private sector analysts say Beijing may be willing to trim its trade surplus, but it will resist changes that might threaten its plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.

The two-day talks in Beijing which ended on Sunday followed an earlier round in Washington where officials had met to discuss the situation.

Beijing said "positive and concrete progress" was made on those issues with details left for "both sides to finalise". Last month, they held talks in Washington and put out a joint statement.

Neither country has implemented the tariffs yet and continued discussions to find a way out of the impasse.

He spoke to reporters with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to President Xi Jinping.

Mnuchin had been part of the first trade delegation to Beijing, which sought to pressure China to cut $US200 billion from its U.S. trade surplus and stop promoting Chinese technology companies if Beiing wanted to avoid a trade war. The talks were focussed on getting China to move ahead with its recent promises to increase energy and farm imports from the U.S.

There was also anger at the G7 meeting of finance ministers after last weekend's decision by the U.S. to impose 25% steel tariffs and 10% aluminum duty on the EU, Canada and Mexico. It said the White House also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of United States high-tech goods and on visas for Chinese students.

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"Tariffs and expanding exports - the United States can't have both", it said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who announced the tariff truce with China, said at the G7 summit in Canada that the U.S. was pushing for "structural changes" to the Chinese economy.

Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $150 billion of Chinese goods.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that the US had abandoned leadership in the global economy and said he had passed on the other countries' strong feelings to Mr Trump.

"If there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition that will deal with the trade deficit alone", Mnuchin said Saturday, according to Bloomberg News.

The warning came after the latest round of trade talks ended inconclusively in Beijing.

China's delegation included central bank governor Yi Gang, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, and Ning Jizhe, a deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, a powerful planning body.

The U.S. team had also wanted to secure greater intellectual property protection and an end to Chinese subsidies that have contributed to overproduction of steel and aluminum.

The US pressure over technology policy reflects growing American concern about China's status as a potential competitor and complaints Beijing improperly subsidises its fledgling industries and shields them from competition.