Chinese envoy says trade talks with US have not broken down

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, center, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, as he departs the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He waves to members of the media as he departs the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, second from left, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, as he departs the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, second from left, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, speak with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, left, as he departs the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He departs the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

BEIJING — China's leading envoy to trade talks in Washington says the failure to strike a deal in the tariffs war with the U.S. was "just a small setback" and negotiations will continue despite increases in import duties on American imports from China.

In comments to reporters before he left Washington for Beijing on Friday, Vice Premier Liu He said he was cautiously optimistic but that a deal would require the Trump administration to agree to end the punitive tariffs it has imposed on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods.

In comments carried by China's state-run CCTV, Liu said the remaining differences are crucial ones having to do with principles, "and we will make no concessions on matters of principle."

Still, he said he did not believe the negotiations had broken down.

"On the contrary, I think it is just a small setback in the talks between two countries, which is inevitable," Hong Kong's Phoenix TV showed him as saying.

Liu said it was "China's opinion that the tariffs are the starting point of the trade friction and must be totally lifted if a deal is reached."

The Trump administration raised tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% on Friday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. was preparing to expand those tariffs to cover $300 billion of Chinese products that aren't already facing import taxes, or virtually everything imported from China.

Liu also said the two sides were disagreeing over the amount of goods China would pledge to purchase from the U.S. to help reduce the American trade deficit.

"We think this is a very serious issue and we cannot easily change our minds," he said.

Liu sought to downplay the scale and impact of the dispute, saying that China was a strong nation and would surmount any problems caused by the conflict.

"We just had differences on the wording in certain documents and we hoped to solve the differences," he said. "Therefore, we think it unnecessary to make an overreaction to it."

You may also interested in

China plans 30,000-km high speed rail network by...

Dec 29, 2016

The Chinese government is planning to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000...

China begins to ease its 2,000-year-old monopoly...

Jan 3, 2017

China has started an overhaul of its salt industry, easing a monopoly that has existed in some form...

DEA opens shop in China to help fight synthetic...

Jan 6, 2017

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to open a new office in southern China and, at...

China auto market has bumper year but 2017...

Jan 12, 2017

Industry figures show China's auto market had a bumper year in 2016 as sales grew by 15 percent,...

A look at how Trump might shake things up in Asia

Jan 16, 2017

Donald Trump has offered views on U.S. relations with Asia that could indicate radical shifts in...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!