Chinese, US senior officials highlight cooperation to settle trade disputes

Zhang Yesui a spokesman for the National People's Congress arrives for a press conference on the eve of the annual legislature opening session at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Sunday March 4

China's foreign ministry said Friday that Liu will exchange views with USA officials on issues of mutual concern, without revealing more details.

Wang Yi, China's foreign affairs minister, said on Saturday that the US's decision to impose tariffs on "reasonable steel and aluminium exports in the name of harming national security is groundless", China Business Journal reported. "It's critically important from a political perspective for President Trump", said Parker, referring to one of the president's key support base - the farm states.

Global stock markets fell sharply Friday over worries of a possible trade war following Trump's announcement.

China's priorities for domestic reform center around the three so-called "critical battles" of financial risk, pollution and poverty.

Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the U.S. market.

A Chinese diplomat on Sunday reportedly said his country is not looking for a trade war with the United States, but will not allow its interests to be hurt.

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The report, the first by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, comes as the president also is considering retaliating against China for forcing foreign companies to surrender their intellectual property and is seeking to renegotiate a pair of major trade deals.

Beijing's focus has been on two much broader issues. Action against American companies or goods would compete for attention with the National People's Congress, which the ruling Communist Party uses to showcase its economic plans. Chinese officials want to maintain the broader trade relationship, which produced a record $375 billion trade surplus for China past year and created millions of jobs in China while providing huge volumes of cheap goods for American consumers.

Trade makes up a smaller share of China's economy than it did a decade ago. Its trade surplus of $275.8 billion with the United States was equal to 65 percent of its global total.

The tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports that Trump announced Thursday are "definitely the start of more aggressive trade measures by the Trump administration to protect U.S. industry from what it sees as predatory practices of others", said Scott Kennedy, an expert on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

Chen Fengying, a senior world economy researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China is among the potential victims globally that stand to be affected by protectionist measures in Washington, and "timely liaison at the governmental level" is needed to avoid a deteriorating "free fall" of the situation.

The ministry said Beijing has satisfied its trade obligations and appealed to Washington to settle market access and subsidy disputes through negotiation.

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