China is warning the United States any trade and business agreements between the two countries will be void if President Donald Trump carries out his threats to impose tariff hikes and other trade measures.

The warning came after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He ended a new round of talks Sunday in Beijing aimed at settling a simmering trade dispute, in which Beijing pledged to buy more American products to narrow its trade surplus with the United States.  The Chinese trade surplus reached $375 billion last year.

No joint statement was issued and neither side released details.

“Our meetings so far have been friendly and frank,” Ross said at the start of the talks, “and covered some useful topics about specific export items” China might buy.

Chinese envoys had promised after the last high-level meeting in Washington in mid-May to buy more American farm goods and energy products.

Ross was accompanied by agricultural, treasury and trade officials.


Liu’s delegation included China’s central bank governor and commerce minister.

There was no indication whether the talks also took up American complaints that Beijing steals from or pressures foreign companies.

Trump is threatening to hike duties on up to $150 billion of Chinese imports, with Beijing vowing to retaliate in kind.

The White House renewed a threat last week to hike duties on $50 billion of Chinese technology-related goods in that dispute.

The state-run Chinese newspaper Global Times contended in an editorial that, “Tariffs and expanding exports – the United States can’t have both.  China-U.S. trade negotiations have to dig up the two sides’ greatest number of common interests, and cannot be tilted toward unilateral U.S. interests.”

While the U.S.-China trade and tariff disputes remain unresolved, Trump last week imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, angering three key U.S. allies who vowed to retaliate by imposing new duties on American goods.


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