Some of the world's top economists and business leaders were in Beijing on Saturday for the annual China Development Forum, and one topic overshadowed the entire gathering: The looming threat of a trade war between the US and China.
A deal for the latter will not come in the next 45 days before the yet-to-be published US tariff list becomes effective. We have great relationships with China.
From Iowa hog producers to Washington apple growers and California winemakers, farmers are expressing deep disappointment over being put in the middle of a potential trade war with China.
Foreign policy hard-liner John Bolton's appointment as USA national security adviser comes at a particularly sensitive time for relations with Beijing following President Donald Trump's approval of new tariffs on China and a law encouraging closer relations with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal today said China is to blame, and not Trump, if there happens to be a trade war between it and the US.
Huang Weiping, a trade expert at People's University in Beijing, says that China's trade surplus with the USA will naturally decrease over time. "A number of participants reported about their conversations with business leaders around the country and reported that trade policy has become a concern", US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said this week, while cautioning that trade issues haven't changed the Fed's outlook.
However, a presidential memorandum signed by Mr Trump said there would be a 30-day consultation period, effectively creating room for talks over his claims against China about intellectual property theft and technology transfers.
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Trump also directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to propose new investment restrictions on Chinese companies within 60 days to safeguard technologies the United States views as strategic, said senior White House economic adviser Everett Eissenstat.
"China has already prepared, and has the strength, to defend its national interests", Liu said on Saturday.
The ministry said it had plans for a 25% tariff on U.S. pork imports and recycled aluminium, and a 15% tariff on USA steel pipes, fruit and wine.
"$50 billion in tariffs against China, if that is what the United States moves ahead with, is serious money. They won't clip the wings of China Inc", he said. Now, one percent growth is equivalent to $800 billion.
"If we really want to counter, the strongest response would be to target soybean and automobiles".
But speaking to reporters as he signed new spending legislation, Trump said his efforts were beginning to bear fruit.
The gains to the US economy aren't limited to Silicon Valley.
Liu added that China would study a tax policy to promote foreign investment in the country and incentivize Chinese firms to invest overseas, as it faces up to the "new globalization situation".