Trade war with United States would bring disaster, says Chinese minister

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited President Trump at Mar-a Lago in 2017

Zhong Shan, Commerce Minister of the People's Republic of China, said it during the session of the National People's Congress, Reuters reports. "A trade war will only bring disaster to China, US and the global economy".

"There is no victor in a trade war", he told reporters yesterday. "But we can handle any challenges and are determined to protect the interests of our country and its people".

China accounts for only a small fraction of United States steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has lowered prices.

China's trade surplus with the United States grew 13 percent year on year to 1.87 trillion yuan last year, official data showed. "Further, the tariffs would seriously impact the normal order of worldwide trade", Xinhua reported. Specific details were not given, but Zhong pledged to give equal treatment to domestic and foreign businesses alike while continuing to curb "irrational overseas investment" from within China.

The CIIE is one of four major global events to be hosted by China this year, along with the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in April, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in June and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit in September.

Trade tensions between China and the United States have risen since Mr Trump took office. The figure for February fell slightly from the previous month to US$21 billion, according to the latest data from the customs administration.

Trade war with United States would bring disaster, says Chinese minister

"We are not only talking for now, we will continue to talk in the future", he said.

Zhong also said he plans to meet with Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko to discuss trade and investment issues.

After pressure from allies, the US has opened the way for more exemptions from tariffs of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium that US President Donald Trump set last week.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull heralded his nation's exemption last Saturday morning following a phone call with Trump, which he described as "a very good and productive discussion".

China's response came after a Bloomberg reporter asked if the country would consider retaliatory behavior following the tariffs.

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