China welcomes US offer to resume trade talks

Shanghai | China has welcomed an offer from the Trump administration to resume trade negotiations as it called for Washington to play by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and abandon plans to impose another $US200 billion ($279 billion) worth of tariffs.

“China did receive an invitation from the US and we welcome this. Both sides are negotiating on some specific details. China believes the escalation of trade friction is not in the interest of either side,” a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said at a weekly press conference on Thursday.

China was responding to reports that the Trump administration was seeking a fresh round of talks with Beijing to head off the threat of tariffs being slapped on another $US200 billion of goods.

While China confirmed it would be willing to participate in another round of talks, it maintained its criticism of Mr Trump’s proposed tariffs and said Washington had not taken any concrete steps to comply with a WTO ruling over US dumping duties.

China said this week it wanted to impose $US7 billion a year in sanctions on the United States over the long-running dispute.

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“China would urge the US to respect the rules and decisions of the World Trade Organisation and take concrete and effective measures to correct its wrong behaviour,” the Commerce Ministry spokesman said. Asked about Mr Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on another $US200 billion of goods, China said Washington should listen to the public opinion in the United States and resolve the issue through negotiation.

A key deadline passed last Thursday for submissions from companies and citizens on the additional US tariffs which would follow the imposition of levies on $US50 billion of Chinese imports earlier in the year.

There were mixed views about whether Washington was genuine about resolving the situation or wanted to appear to be offering Beijing a chance to come to the table to resolve their trade differences.

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