Chinese Premier promotes free trade at Summer Davos 2018

World Today

Another escalation in the trade war between China and the United States. The two countries have proposed additional tariffs on imported goods, set to go into effect next week. China calls the latest actions from the U.S. ‘threats’ that don’t work. And analysts warn the global economy is at risk.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang defended free trade and multi-lateralism at the Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin, as his country is locked in an escalating trade conflict with the United States.

“It is indeed necessary to cooperate fairly and to maintain the principal rules of multi-lateralism and free trade, because no matter how much these rules need to improve, what it offers us is inclusive. It is progress for human civilization. If there are problems, then we should resolve them through negotiation. No unilateral action stands a chance of solving the problems,” Li said during opening remarks.

The comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. He wants to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China and wants Beijing to end industrial policies meant to promote China’s high-tech sector.

“China’s been taking advantage of the United States for a long time and that’s not happening anymore, we can’t let that happen,” Trump said in Washington Tuesday.

China quickly responded by imposing its own tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

In a tweet, Trump suggested the Chinese countermeasures are aimed at products that will hurt Trump’s Republican Party in the upcoming midterm elections. China rejects this.

“Anyone who is familiar with China’s diplomatic policy should know that China pursues the principle and position of not interfering in other countries’ domestic affairs. We don’t want others to interfere in our domestic politics, and we will not interfere in the domestic politics of others,” Geng Shuang, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday said.

Analysts worry the tariffs are putting global economic growth at risk.

“Every country in the world is paying attention to what’s happening here. Because when two elephants fight, the ground gets trampled and the world economy is what’s at risk today,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

Despite the rising trade tensions China said it remains committed to its reform and opening up policies.

“In this process, all companies either Chinese or foreign-owned companies will be treated as equals. We will also create a better business environment and expand market access to foreign-owned companies by streamlining the administration and delegating powers so that they can compete on a level-playing field in the Chinese market,” said China’s Premier Li.

The new tariffs go into effect September 24. It’s not clear if or when a new round of negotiations may take place.

Jeff Moon discusses escalating tensions in the US-China trade war

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Jeff Moon about how tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing will impact businesses. Moon is a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China who serves as a consultant on China trade and governmental affairs.