China's trade grows in June amid tensions with Washington

Marco Green
July 16, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 16, 2018.

European envoys say they have sensed a greater urgency from China since a year ago to find like-minded countries willing to stand up against Trump's "America First" policies.

In Beijing, the European Union chiefs will meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Kequiang to review the global scene as well as bilateral relations.

On the eve of his meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump rattled allies once more by labeling the European Union a "foe" with regard to trade.

"The actions taken by the president are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of US law and global trade rules", Lighthizer said in a statement.

Nonetheless, European officials suggest that Trump, who has also targeted Europe with tariffs, has created a window of opportunity to show that EU-China relations can be a bulwark for global trade.

Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Administration officials have argued that while Canada, itself, is not a national security threat, the weakness of USA steel and aluminum producers is a security problem. In that year, the USA says its goods trade deficit with China was $375.2 billion. Chinese leaders have stepped up efforts, so far without success, to recruit governments including Germany and France as allies.

"If the USA and China do not resume talks in the next two months or so, the conflict will escalate further, with major economic implications for themselves and the global economy".

"Everyone should sit together to discuss how to flawless it and how to strengthen its authority", Wang Shouwen, China's vice commerce minister, said last month at a news conference.

They gave no time line and private sector analysts expressed skepticism Beijing would agree to rules that might hamper its plans to develop Chinese champions in technology and other industries.

Li has tried appeal to visiting European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May by saying their companies were welcome to invest.

A recent report from the European Union, cited by the Associated Press, said Beijing erected more import and investment barriers than any other nation past year, making it harder for electronics and cybersecurity companies to do business here.

Li assured the companies Beijing would protect patents and copyrights.

Annual summits between China and central and eastern European countries are beneficial to the European Union as a whole, the Chinese government told Bulgaria's foreign minister, brushing off concerns that Beijing is seeking to divide the continent. The executive said no.

The US move is the latest salvo in a growing trade war started by the imposition of US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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