China's premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

Steel pipes to be exported are seen at a port in Lianyungang Jiangsu province China

China's No. 2 leader appealed Wednesday for support for free trade and promised to improve conditions for foreign companies following tit-for-tat USA and Chinese tariff hikes in a battle over Beijing's technology policy.

Trump said that he was always willing to make a better deal with China on trade, but warned them from trying to hurt farmers, ranchers, and industrial workers.

Experts say IP protection has been improving in China, though some members of business associations from the United States and Europe say they still have to transfer technology to operate. "What China does not understand is that these people are great patriots".

Trump sent two tweets on September 18 blaming China as both parties announced they would slap new tariffs on each other.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency to combat United States tariffs. "They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it", he continued.

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As Beijing runs out of US goods for retaliation, American companies say regulators are starting to disrupt their operations. You could see China's initial $50 billion retaliation as a test to see how Trump would react. The stakes rose yesterday after President Trump announced tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing responded by raising tariffs on a further $60 billion worth of American goods.

If the US wants to maintain its place as top dog by preventing China from growing its economy and pursuing new technology, that's not likely to happen.

That said, Trump being Trump, he may just as well respond to electoral humiliation by doubling down on his trade war. The administration is targeting a bewildering variety of goods - from sockeye salmon to baseball gloves to bamboo mats - forcing USA companies to scramble for suppliers outside China, absorb the import taxes or pass along the cost to their customers.

By next week, the United States and China appear likely to be on the brink of slapping tariffs on their entire goods trade, which exceeds $635 billion annually. "They worry that the tit-for-tat model is playing into Trump's hands".

The trade rivalry between the US and China escalated to an unprecedented level on Tuesday, with both countries announcing new tariffs on imports from each other.

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The administration earlier this month floated the idea of talks led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He expected to lead the Beijing delegation. The further blows on trade come at a time when the Chinese economy is already slowing. Over the past year, retail prices rose 13.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

No longer can they ignore tariffs, which were low and mostly headed lower before Trump took office. As counterintuitive as it might seem, the president sees this fact as ultimately helping USA workers.

The promised opening up of the economy also would pick up, with Li saying China will continue to reduce tariff rates and unreasonable fee burdens. And since China's economy is a state-directed capitalist-communist hybrid, they could go hammer and tongs at American interests through regulations.

As China grows and challenges the U.S., Wang says conflict was inevitable. -China commercial relationship after almost four decades of growing interdependence would ripple through the global economy, shaking financial markets, reordering business supply chains and perhaps even raising the danger of military conflict, analysts said.

The European Union trade chief said the tariff issues between the two should be resolved through the World Trade Organization.

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