Saturday, 23 June, 2018

China to push forward Belt and Road cooperation: minister

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan attends a news conference on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing China reacts to Trump's steel tariffs
Lisa Bryan | 12 March, 2018, 09:22

Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (C), Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen (R), and Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming attend a press conference on opening up on all fronts and promoting high quality development of commercial business on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2018.

In 2017, trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road amounted to 7.4 trillion yuan (about 1.2 trillion US dollars), surging 17.8 percent year on year, outpacing the 14.2-percent increase in China's total foreign trade last year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on February 28.

A joint work group found that the trade deficit number tracked by the United States was overestimated by 21 percent past year, Zhong Shan, the Minister of Commerce told a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress.

The US administration asked China for a plan to cut the annual US trade deficit with the nation by $100 billion, a White House official said last Friday.

Zhong blamed the trade imbalance in part on controls over USA high-tech exports to China, repeating a Chinese claim that Washington could narrow its trade deficit if it allowed Beijing to buy more "dual use" technology such as supercomputers and advanced materials with military applications.

"China doesn't want to fight a trade war, nor would we take initiatives to ignite a trade war", he said.


Should the situation worsen, however, Zhong said that China was more than ready.

The U.S. deficit with China came to $375 billion in 2017, accounting for roughly half the nation's trade deficit globally, Washington said last month.

Zhong said that cooperation is the only choice for the 2 countries.

"We are still in talks, and we are sure that both sides will keep talking for the next step", he said.

US President Donald Trump this week delivered on his campaign promises to get tough on trade by imposing tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on steel and aluminium imports, respectively.

Trump has called the tariffs a matter of national security while threatening to tax European auto imports and impose "reciprocal taxes" on countries that charge higher duties on USA goods than the United States now charges on their products.

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