Muted response from China as punishing United States tariffs kick in

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He meets U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer for further trade talks in Washington

China strongly opposes the latest US tariff hike, and as a nation, has to respond to that, Liu told a small group of Chinese reporters in the video clip.

"We believe these are all big matters of principle, every country has important principles, and we will not make concessions on matters of principle".

"With the large number of issues we have with China, I wouldn't rank the trade issues so high", said David Dollar, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former official at the World Bank and US Treasury. The president didn't give details on how that will work.

The US hiked tariffs on $200B of Chinese imports with almost 6,000 products now incurring a 25% levy, up from 10% previously.

Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat who is a longtime China hawk, said he backs Trump's plan to substantially raise tariffs on Chinese goods and spend the proceeds buying farm and other products hurt by Beijing's retaliation.

As trade discussions were about to start in Washington D.C., the Global Times, a hawkish newspaper published under People's Daily that focuses on worldwide issues, issued an editorial on May 9, contending that the Chinese regime would not be intimidated by the United States.

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After weeks of negotiations, trade delegations from the US and China failed to come to a trade agreement before the Friday deadline. The truth is, Washington tried to bring up terms that either harmed the sovereignty and dignity of China, or that were seriously unequal and unrealistic. "Those requests have made the negotiations more hard", the paper said.

"In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations".

The two countries have very different views of the sources of their troubles.

"We need to rationally approach this, China is not afraid, and the Chinese nation is not afraid", he said.

The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures United States companies into handing over trade secrets, part of an aggressive campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.

Liu denied the accusations of China's reneging on promises, saying China thought it was normal to make changes before a final deal.

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The trade dispute between the world's two largest economies escalated this week with tariff hikes on both sides. If the Fed were to "match" that potential Chinese stimulus, it would be "game over", he said.


Later in the afternoon, Trump suggested that the ball was in Beijing's court, saying that "the U.S. has imposed tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations".

He likened the situation to the 19th century and Britain's preference for free trade, which he said was pursued to its detriment when countries such as the USA hid behind a protectionist wall of tariffs.

Liu, speaking to Chinese state TV on his arrival in Washington, said he "came with sincerity".

Liu said he hoped this issue would be resolved, so it was unnecessary to "over react" to that point. "China's economy has been little affected by the trade war".

Liu, China's top economic official, said the country's economy was improving after bottoming out at the end of past year.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said after his recent trade talks with the United States that he was confident in the sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese economy despite the pressure imposed on it. "The Trump administration's tariff hike will cost the US economy $62bn in lost output by 2020, or 0.3% of GDP, relative to the expected level of US GDP in our baseline forecasts", the analysts say.

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