China says Xi pledges unrelated to US trade spat

World markets rallied after Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech this week soothed concerns about a trade war with the United States
AFP

Beijing (AFP) – China denied President Xi Jinping’s pledge this week to further open the country’s economy was related to its trade spat with the United States, insisting on Thursday there were currently no negotiations between the two sides.

Xi on Tuesday vowed ease tariffs and open the economy up more in what was seen as a conciliatory gesture to temper fears of a US trade war after Donald Trump last week threatened fresh levies on billions of dollars of Chinese goods.

The US president welcomed the speech and said he saw an end to the dispute, which has roiled markets since the start of March

But Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng warned Beijing was ready to strike back if the United States presses on with its economic nationalist agenda.

“If the US side takes it own course and insists on carrying out unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will fight resolutely and take them on until the end,” Gao told reporters at a regular news briefing.

World markets rallied after Xi pledged at an economic forum to lower car tariffs, protect intellectual property and take other steps to open China’s economy “wider and wider”.

But Gao said the measures are proactive and have nothing to do with the trade frictions between China and US.

“China took the initiative to open up and made it possible for all countries across the world to ride on the express of China’s economic development,” Gao said.

“We hope some people in the United States don’t misjudge the situation.”

He added: “Up to now China and the US has not carried out negotiation at any level on the trade frictions. The US side has not shown any sincerity for negotiation in its actions.

“China will not carry out any negotiation under one-sided coercion.”

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