China says trade war with USA will only bring disaster

A worker stands in a steel workshop in Zouping in China's eastern Shandong province on March 10

China says it "firmly opposes" US President Donald J. Trump's tariff increase for imported steel and aluminum, but gave no indication whether Beijing might impose its own measures in response. He said that would only bring disaster to China and the United States and the rest of the world.

China's Trade Minister Zhong Shan warned that a trade war with the United States would bring disaster to the global economy, but said his nation won't start one and that talks with the Trump admi-nistration continue.

The further trade imbalance between the two countries is structural, with China exporting more commodities to the United States while importing more services, Zhong said, adding that trade competitiveness is determined by industries.

On Thursday, Trump announced he was ordering the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, but indicated certain countries might be exempted.

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging the government to retaliate by targeting U.S. coal - a sector central to Mr Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore USA industries and blue-collar jobs.

The Trump administration has urged Beijing to take steps to reduce the U.S. China doesn't want a trade war, and will not start a trade war first.

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The U.S. reported a $375 billion deficit with China a year ago, so a 20 percent reduction would still be among the largest trade gaps that it has with any country.

It is "important" to resolve the bilateral trade dispute through dialogue and to deepen economic cooperation between China and the United States, Zhong said.

The deficit could be reduced by 35 percent if the United States eased export controls on high-technology products to China, he said, citing unspecified U.S. research.

The country will also work to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment along the Belt and Road, while carrying out major foreign aid projects including the Happy Home Projects, the Anti-Poverty Projects and the Health Recovery Projects, Zhong said.

Seko is expected to visit China sometime soon, a diplomatic source said.

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