Trade war 'hasn't made America great again,' says China

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The Chinese government on Sunday issued a white paper claiming the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing was hurting the US economy.

“The (US) tariff measures have not boosted American economic growth. Instead, they have done serious harm to the US economy,” the Chinese report said, pointing to what it described as a rise in production costs and consumer prices in the US.

“The trade war has not ‘made America great again,'” it said, referring to US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election slogan.

The Chinese white paper came just days after Beijing imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods. Beijing on Friday said it would create a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign firms and individuals, marking a new escalation in the increasingly acrimonious trade dispute between the US and China.

The move is seen as a response to the US government’s recent decision to blacklist Chinese technology giant Huawei, denying it access to domestic markets and restricting US sales to the company, though a 90-day reprieve was issued.

Read more: US-China trade war: Huawei’s loss is Samsung’s gain

After Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs on imports from China, Beijing said it would increase tariffs on $60 billion (€53 billion) worth of US goods, starting June 1.

China ready to negotiate

Trump began his tariff dispute with China last year, complaining about Beijing’s business practices such as obligatory technology transfers, intellectual property theft and various non-tariff barriers for foreign firms. Western businesses and investors have long criticized China for making it harder for foreign firms to compete fairly in its vast market.

The tariffs and trade tensions between the US and China — the world’s largest and second-largest economies respectively — have been a major source of anxiety worldwide. Many fear that the fallout could have repercussions not just for those two countries, but for entire global growth.

Read more: One-third of EU firms hit hard by US-China trade war

Despite the tensions, Beijing has reiterated that it would like to negotiate with the US to resolve the dispute.

“On the trade friction started by the US: if the US wants to talk, we will keep the door open. If they want to fight, we are ready,” Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe told an international security dialogue in Singapore on Sunday.

The white paper also emphasized that “China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.”

The Chinese report on the trade dispute with the US said that Beijing has honored its commitments throughout 11 rounds of talks but Washington backtracked three times over the course, and introduced new conditions.

“But the more the US government is offered, the more it wants,” the report said, accusing the Trump administration of “resorting to intimidation and coercion.”

“A country’s sovereignty and dignity must be respected, and any agreement reached by the two sides must be based on equality and mutual benefit,” it said.

shs/jm (AP, AFP)

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