China warns United States against imposing tariffs as latest trade talks end inconclusively

GETTY Wilbur Ross said that the rules will make EU  US trade difficult

The latest round of trade talks between the United States and China ended over the weekend with a chilly warning from Beijing that all agreements could be voided if the U.S. moves ahead with plans to level import tariffs against $50bn (£37bn) worth of Chinese goods.

China made the statement after talks with a us delegation led by Commerce Secretary in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday.

But Beijing warned all the results were premised on "not fighting a trade war".

Trade analysts warned Ross' hand might be weakened by the Trump administration's decision on Thursday to go ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Europe and Mexico.

"Reform and opening-up as well as expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies".

To meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and the requirements of high-quality economic development, China is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, which will benefit people of both countries and the rest of the world, it noted.

Ross left Beijing for Washington early Sunday evening.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the talks between Ross and Liu had made "positive and concrete progress", and had discussed agriculture and energy.

"If the United States side imposes trade restrictions, including high tariffs, then all trade agreements reached as result of talks will have no binding force", the statement read.

Neither country has implemented the tariffs yet and continued discussions to find a way out of the impasse.

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Earlier, Mnuchin had pointed to a rocky road ahead for the United States, which is now embroiled in trade disputes on two fronts, after talking about Washington's China policy.

U.S. leverage against China appears to have been weakened by a sour mood among USA allies after Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the dispute was "on hold" and the tariff hike would be postponed.

"I want to be clear, this isn't just about [China] buying more goods, this is about structural changes", Mnuchin said.

Last week the White House announced it would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of US high-tech goods and on visas for Chinese students.

Trump also has threatened to raise tariffs on an additional US$100 billion of Chinese goods, but gave no indication this week whether that would go ahead.

"If there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition that will deal with the trade deficit alone", Mnuchin said Saturday, according to Bloomberg News.

On Saturday, Trump weighed in on the trade situation with other countries. "The U.S. has been ripped off by other countries for years on Trade, time to get smart!" Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister. He also pushed back against the argument that Canadian steel poses a USA security threat.

Trade analysts had warned Ross's hand might be weakened if the Trump administration alienated allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminum and other exports.

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