China keeps firm stance on trade talks, never compromise on core issues: MOFCOM

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/16 20:38:41

Firm stance on talks, no compromise on core issues: MOFCOM

China's Commerce Ministry holds a press conference on Thursday in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Hongpei/GT

Beijing will take necessary countermeasures if the US continues to brandish its bullying stick to pressure China, which only deteriorates bilateral relations, said the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

"China is not afraid of the pressure and has the confidence, resolve and capability to face up to challenges and difficulties," said MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng during a regular briefing on Thursday.

Gao stressed that the trade war's impact on China's economy can be "completely controlled" by maintaining current measures to stabilize employment, the financial markets, foreign trade, foreign capital, investment and people's expectations.

"So far, domestic consumer goods' prices are stable, and we'll keep close watch on the situation and take measures if necessary," said Gao.

The Chinese economy is resilient and enjoys large leeway as well as a rosy prospect, said the MOFCOM spokesperson.

When asked by reporters if the ministry can confirm that US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin is planning to come to China for further trade negotiations, Gao said that China has no information about any such plan.

Mnuchin said on Wednesday he will likely travel to Beijing soon to continue negotiations with his Chinese counterparts, according to a Reuters report.

"Without sincerity, any negotiation will be meaningless," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Thursday. "Based on the US' performance in previous rounds of talks, we must emphasize two points: stand by your principles and keep your promises."

"China has become more cautious about further trade talks after the 11th round in Washington, which turned out to be hugely frustrating, denting mutual trust and adding uncertainty," Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China-US trade negotiations have entered a very "sensitive and vulnerable" moment, said Song.

The US raised tariffs on China's imports worth $200 billion on May 10. On Monday, China struck back, announcing duties of between 5 percent and 25 percent on more than 5,100 products from the US worth $ 60 billion.

Starting on June 1, China will impose an additional tariff of 25 percent on 2,493 items such as liquefied natural gas and 20 percent on 1,078 items, including fruit and chemicals, starting June 1, the Customs Tariff Commission under the State Council, China's cabinet, said in a statement.

"The war has literally expanded, and it is much different from the previous rounds of negotiations in nature," Song added. 

If the US does not stop its wrongdoing in imposing unilateral tariff increases, China must take necessary countermeasures, said Gao.

The MOFCOM reiterated China's firm stance on the three key concerns on trade talks - the US must remove all the additional tariffs imposed on China, the targets set by the US for Chinese purchases should be in line with China's true demand, and the text of a deal should be balanced and acceptable.

"China will definitely not compromise on the core issues," Gao said.

When asked if US companies operating in China will be targeted amid the escalating trade war, Gao said that the interests of foreign companies operating in China will continue to be protected by the Chinese government.
Newspaper headline: Firm stance on talks, no compromise on core issues: MOFCOM


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