China: US wrong to think it can elicit trade concessions from Beijing

This photo, taken on April 17, 2018, shows workers moving steel pipes at a factory in Zouping in China’s eastern Shandong Province. (By AFP)
China says the United States is mistaken if it thinks it can elicit concessions from Beijing by taking aggressive trade measures against the Chinese state.
Taking questions from reporters at a regular media briefing in the capital, Beijing, on Thursday, Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry, said, “Regarding the negative effects you mentioned we might be facing, we’re already well-prepared [to deal with them]. We have the conditions, the means, and the ability to resolve the challenges brought by trade friction [with the US].”
“We hope the US will not underestimate China’s resolve,” he said. “If the US want to use unilateral and trade protectionist policies to hurt the interests of Chinese and US companies without hesitation, attempt to restrain China’s development, and force China to make concessions, then it has taken a miscalculated step.”
Gao also stressed that Beijing had made a “careful assessment” of the US measures and had concluded that they would not have a “big impact” on Chinese industries.
Official data show that China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018, defying forecasts that the trade frictions with the US would have adverse impacts on its economy.
Chinese officials have repeatedly warned against a trade war; however, they have also consistently said that China is ready to fight one if Washington proceeds with unilateral protectionist measures.
US President Donald Trump announced last month that Washington would levy up to $60 billion in tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from a number of countries, including China.
The businessman-turned-politician’s tough trade stand is largely seen as a cudgel to win what he considers better terms in potential negotiations to change the nature of trade relations with China and other countries.
After the Trump administration disregarded China’s warnings against initiating a trade war, Beijing took reciprocal measures, introducing duties on American goods. On April 2, China levied additional import taxes on 128 US products, including frozen pork.
Earlier this week, Washington banned American companies from selling parts to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE for seven years, while China announced hefty anti-dumping tariffs on imports of US sorghum and measures on synthetic rubber imports from the US.
Chinese analysts say the escalation of tariffs is likely to cause more political trouble for Trump than for Beijing because of the differences in the two countries’ governance structures.
Some analysts believe that Beijing and Washington will eventually reach a compromise and avoid a full-blown trade war; but so far, China and the US have held no formal trade talks to resolve the dispute.