Tuesday, 25 July, 2017

China does not want trade war with Washington, premier says

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gives a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing capital of China 1st LD-Writethru: China remains important engine for world growth: Premier Li
Howard Terry | 20 March, 2017, 00:35

That would increase the return on USA bonds and other financial assets, drawing more money out of China.

When asked about the dilemma faced by Southeast Asian countries caught in the growing rivalry between Beijing and Washington in the Asia-Pacific, Li said China did not want to see its neighbours compelled to "pick a side".

"No mater what bumps the China-U.S. relationship may run into, we hope this relationship will continue to move forward in the positive direction", he said.

American President Donald Trump had repeatedly accused China of carrying out trade policies that have led to massive American job losses and threatened to slap tariffs of up to 45 per cent on Beijing's goods.

The world's two most powerful men face a complex and potentially acrimonious range of discussions, including the escalating crisis on the Korean peninsular, the deployment of a controversial USA missile defence system in South Korea and the thorny trade relationship between the USA and China. "That would not make our trade fairer", Mr Li said at his news conference at the end of the annual meeting of China's parliament.

On the possibility of a trade war between China and the US, Li said- "We don't want to see any trade war breaking out between the two countries".

"Almost every year I have heard a prediction of the Chinese economy having a hard landing", he said. The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests previous year, deepening concern in Washington that it could soon develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the USA mainland.

"I should point out that 6.5 percent growth is not low speed and will not be easy for us to meet".

Last year, the US' deficit in trade in goods with China reached United States dollars 347 million, and Trump promised to close that gap, which he has also attributed to what he calls China's rigged currency exchange policies.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gives a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2017. Li said that "a closed-door policy or beggar thy neighbour approach will not make anyone the victor".

"We need to take very seriously the risks we are facing on the domestic front, especially in the financial sector". He said the exchange rate "will remain generally stable". "We still have a good reserve of policy options and instruments at our disposal".

Li said it is China's consistent position to champion globalization and support free trade.

Zhu Feng, a USA affairs analyst from Nanjing University, said communication between both countries had improved recently and Li's remarks showed Beijing was trying to create positive momentum for the summit.

But Li made no mention of the Communist Party's national congress to be held later this year, which he said earlier would be his government's top priority.

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