China on Sunday laid the blame entirely on the US for the breakdown of trade talks between the two biggest economies in the world, while accusing the United States of using “extreme pressure” to force Beijing to reach a deal to end the trade conflict.
China said its negotiators were still “committed to credible consultations based on equality and mutual benefit” but said there will be no compromise on “matters of principle”.
In a 28-page ‘white paper’ on the nation’s official position released here, China’s State Council Information Office made it clear that the US government “should bear the sole and entire responsibility” for the current stalemate and the escalating trade conflict.
The white paper, ‘China’s position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultation’, also hit back at allegations that China had significantly changed the text under negotiation and backtracked from earlier promises.
It pointed out that it was “common practice” to make new proposals and adjustments as the talks progressed and said that this was something the US had done consistently. The white paper outlined the long drawn out process of 11 rounds of negotiations held since early last year to end the stand-off.
“Trumpeting ‘America First’, the current US administration has adopted a series of unilateral and protectionist measures, regularly wielded tariffs as a ‘big stick’ and coerced other countries into accepting its demands,” the paper stated in a reference to US trade measures against various countries, including India.
The white paper was released a day after China hit $60 billion worth of US goods with new punitive tariffs ranging from five to 25 per cent, in retaliation to the US raising punitive tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Notably, the Chinese government’s white paper pointed out that the US tariff measures have caused “serious harm” to the US economy instead of boosting it. At the press conference held here on Sunday, China’s Vice Minister for Commerce, Wang Shouwen called the US “irresponsible” for accusing Beijing of backtracking on its promises. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” he said in English.
Wang also said that the United States was putting “compulsory requirements”, impinging on China’s sovereignty with a rider that some tariffs will remain even after the deal.
Without naming US President Donald Trump, Wang said “they also increased tariffs in order to exhort pressure on China” leading to severe setback of the negotiations.” “If one doesn’t respect other side’s sovereignty and core interests and tries to force the other side to compromise by pressuring to yield lopsided results, such negotiations cannot succeed,” Wang said. “If the US wants to use extreme pressure and all kinds of ways to escalate trade frictions to force China to capitulate, this is impossible,” he added.
The white paper also accused the US of going back on its word three times over the course of negotiations by introducing new tariffs and other conditions beyond what was agreed on. It noted that China and the US agreed on most parts of the deal.
“But the consultations have not been free of setbacks, each of them being the result of a US breach of consensus and commitments, and backtracking,” the white paper said.