China reacts to Trump's steel tariffs

China reacts to Trump's steel tariffs

While addressing a press conference, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said, "China, which produces half the world's steel, will assess any damage caused by the US move and firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests". "It will only bring disaster to China and the USA and the world".

"A trade war will be catastrophic for China, the USA, and the rest of the world", he said. "But we can handle any challenge, and will firmly defend the interests of our nation and our people".

Zhong said the United States has overestimated its trade deficit with China by around 20 percent every year, adding the two countries have different ways of calculating trade figures.

This could be further cut by 35 per cent if the USA lifts the ban on high-tech exports to China, he added.

He noted that China's top economic adviser Liu He visited the USA recently and held "candid and constructive" talks with American officials on bilateral trade issues.

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. But Zhong said communications have not been completely broken off. China doesn't want a trade war, and will not start a trade war first.

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"We are not only talking for now, we will continue to talk in the future", he said.

After pressure from allies, the US has opened the way for more exemptions from tariffs of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium that US President Donald Trump set last week.

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.

Mr Trump said on Saturday the USA was "working very quickly on a security agreement" so as not to impose the tariffs on "our ally, the great nation of Australia".

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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