China Says US Can't use Pressure to Force Trade Deal
BEIJING—The United States cannot use pressure to force a trade deal on China, a senior Chinese official and trade negotiator said on Sunday, refusing to be drawn on whether the leaders of the two countries would meet at the G20 summit to bash out an agreement.
Trade tensions rose sharply last month after President Donald Trump’s administration accused China of having “reneged” on its previous promises to make structural changes to its economic practices. Washington later slapped additional tariffs of up to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate.
“If the U.S. side wants to use extreme pressure, to escalate the trade friction, to force China to submit and make concessions, this is absolutely impossible,” says Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, who has been part of China’s negotiating team. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Shouwen says the U.S. had made “unreasonably high” demands and insisted on adding “demands relating to China’s sovereign rights” to the countries’ agreement. The raising of tariffs escalated tensions and severely frustrated the talks, he added.
His comments were echoed by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at a defense forum in Singapore on Sunday. "If the U.S. wants to talk, we will keep the door open. If they want a fight, we will fight till the end,” Fenghe said.
Trump has said he will meet President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of the month, though China has not confirmed the meeting.
Shouwen says U.S. officials overestimate the trade deficit between the two countries, and that China should not be blamed for a decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. The U.S. goods and services deficit with China is closer to $150 billion and not the $410 billion quoted by U.S. officials, he said, adding that China’s processing trade with the United States should not be included in deficit calculations.