World

China warns it is willing to 'fight back' over trade

China warns it is willing to 'fight back' over trade
Chinese President Xi Jinping says that Beijing wants to work for a trade deal with the United States but is not afraid to "fight back" to protect its own interests.
Echoing the upbeat tone adopted by other Chinese officials in recent days, Mr Xi told a visiting US business delegation that China holds a "positive attitude" about the trade talks.
"As we always said we don't want to start the trade war, but we are not afraid," Mr Xi said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping says that Beijing wants to work for a trade deal with the United States but is not afraid to "fight back" to protect its own interests. (AP)
"When necessary, we will fight back but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war."
Later Friday, President Donald Trump reiterated his oft-stated assertion that the world's two biggest economies are "potentially very close'' to forging a modest "Phase 1" agreement.
Such an agreement would be expected to include increased US farm sales to China but to leave bigger points of conflict largely unresolved.
These include long-standing allegations that China steals trade secrets and pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
"We have a deal potentially very close,'' Mr Trump said in a phone interview with "Fox & Friends".
Yet the president also insisted that Mr Xi "wants to make it much more than I want to make it. I'm not anxious to make it".
Echoing the upbeat tone adopted by other Chinese officials in recent days, Mr Xi told a visiting US business delegation that China holds a "positive attitude" about the trade talks. (AP)

Where things stand in the US-China trade war

The US delegation from Bloomberg's New Economy Forum, a conference held in Beijing this week, included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former US Trade Representative Mike Froman and other dignitaries.
The latest flareup in trade tensions came after Mr Trump imposed punitive tariffs last year on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese exports to the US, seeking to ramp up pressure for changes in Chinese trade and investment policies.
China has retaliated with tariff hikes of its own. Sanctions have gradually escalated and trade talks have made only halting progress.
But the two sides are working toward what they say will be a preliminary agreement to pave the way for tackling more complex issues.
During the meeting at Beijing's ornate Great Hall of the People, Xi reiterated to the group China's stance that a deal requires "mutual respect and equality".
"We want to work for a Phase 1 agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Mr Xi told the group.
The latest flareup in trade tensions came after Mr Trump imposed punitive tariffs last year on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese exports to the US, seeking to ramp up pressure for changes in Chinese trade and investment policies. (PA)
The Wall Street Journal reported that China's lead negotiator in the talks, Vice Premier Liu He, has invited his US counterparts to Beijing for more talks, suggesting there may be some progress.
However, the prospects even for a more general deal look uncertain, given that China has said it wants a promise from the US side to gradually reduce the tariffs already in place. It's unclear if the US side would be willing to do that.