China will make economic changes at its own pace regardless of U.S. pressure, and their worsening dispute over tariffs and technology policy can only be solved through negotiations as equals, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Thursday.
“No matter what measures the United States takes to exert pressure, China will proceed with reform and opening up at its own pace.”
The comments reinforced Beijing’s rejection of U.S. demands to scale back technology plans Washington says violate China’s free-trade commitments and might erode American industrial leadership.
The spokesman, Gao Feng, gave no indication of plans for more negotiations over the conflict, which threatens to chill global trade and economic growth.
“No matter what measures the United States takes to exert pressure, China will proceed with reform and opening up at its own pace,” Gao said.
The two sides have raised tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s products in the battle over Chinese plans for state-led creation of champions in robotics, electric cars and other technologies.
The Trump administration is poised to add penalties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing has threatened to retaliate.
Talks last week in Washington ended with no indication of progress.
“Dialogue and consultation based on equality and good faith is the only correct choice for resolving Chinese-U.S. trade frictions,” Gao said. He said the two sides “maintain contact” but gave no details.
On Aug. 23 — while the two sides were negotiating in Washington — Trump kicked the trade war up another notch, imposing 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese goods.
This news came just before Trump came to a tentative agreement to re-write the North American Free Trade Agreement — with Mexico, at least.
Canada has not yet been brought into the fold but negotiations are ongoing. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday a deal could be in place as soon as Friday, but only if the deal is good for Canada.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.