China’s Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Tuesday that the United States is putting “a knife to China’s neck” and so it was difficult to talk about trade issues with the country, Reuters reported. He added that the resumption of talks was up to Washington.
The statement came a day after the two countries’ new tariffs on each other’s goods kicked in. Last week, the Donald Trump administration said it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The tariffs were to come into force on Monday and then rise to 25% on January 1, the White House said. In retaliation, China imposed taxes on $60 billion worth American products.
China’s State Councillor Wang Yi, at a separate meeting in New York, said talks could not take place amid “threats and pressure”, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
Wang told businessmen of the US-China Business Council and National Committee on United States-China Relations that “certain forces” in America were making groundless remarks against China in connection with trade and security matters. This is not only irresponsible but has also poisoned ties, he was quoted as saying. “If this continues, it will destroy in an instant the gains of the last four decades of China-US relations.”
The two countries have been at loggerheads for several months now. In August, US and China imposed tariffs on $16 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore) worth of each other’s goods. This was the second round of tariffs, with goods worth $50 billion (Rs 3.5 lakh crore) subjected to tariffs on both sides since early July.
Trump has threatened to impose duties on more than $500 billion of Chinese goods exported annually to the US unless Beijing agrees to changes to its intellectual property practices, industrial subsidy programmes and tariff structure.