China says will reciprocate US trade restrictions, advises dialog nonetheless

This file photo shows Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, in the Plenary Session of the US-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange during the seventh US-China Strategic and Economic Dialog at the US State Department in Washington DC, on June 24, 2015. (By AFP)
China’s ambassador to the United States says trade frictions between Beijing and Washington had better be resolved through dialog, insisting, however, that the Chinese state will follow the policy of reciprocation vis-à-vis US trade measures against China.
Speaking at an event held by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University in the US this week, Ambassador Cui Tiankai said a trade war would poison the overall atmosphere of Sino-US relations, China’s Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
He said disputes needed to be resolved through diplomatic channels and dialog, not a war of trade.
Cui also urged the US to abandon a Cold War and zero-sum mentality.
Last Monday, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi warned that a trade war would endanger the world economy. In a joint speech with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Wang warned against a trade war.
The warnings by Chinese officials and those of other countries and organizations come amid a trade war initiated by the US President Donald Trump administration last month, when he imposed heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from China.
China initially cautioned against such an economic war even as it signaled its preparedness to fight one. But as the White House disregarded calls to avoid imposing aggressive trade measures against China, the Chinese government retaliated by imposing restrictions of its own on a range of American goods.
Trump then threatened to impose an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.
China responded by saying it was ready to retaliate by slapping tariffs on more American goods imported from the US to China.
Trump’s tough stand on trade is largely seen as a potential cudgel to win what he considers better terms in potential negotiations to change the nature of trade relations with China and other countries.
On Thursday, a Chinese Commerce Ministry official said the US would be wrong to think that it can elicit concessions from China by imposing the measures against Beijing.
IMF, too, warns against protectionism in trade
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has also urged policymakers to avoid adopting protectionist measures.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, on Thursday warned against escalating trade tensions, saying it could ripple across the world.
Lagarde said tensions could harm trade and investment as well as the global economic recovery, according to Xinhua.
“Trade restrictions have not been proven helpful and we suspect that they might even dent confidence,” she said at a press conference during the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, adding all countries had to “work together to resolve disagreements without using exceptional measures.”
Chinese telecom giant ‘to fight back’
In related news, China’s telecom giant ZTE vowed on Friday to fight back against US restrictions on it.
Washington said this week that it was banning ZTE from purchasing and using US technology for seven years.
ZTE uses US technology such as chips and the Android operating system for its mobile phones. The move angered Beijing.