China says trade war with U.S. disastrous

Washington's trade barriers would see China defend its

Washington's trade barriers would see China defend its"legitimate rights and interests. AAP

China has repeatedly vowed to defend its "legitimate rights and interests" if targeted by USA trade actions.

Zhong said at a briefing during a meeting of China's ceremonial legislature that the US has been overstating its trade deficit with China by about 20 percent every year.

"Trade war has no winners, it will only bring disaster to the economies of China, the USA and the world", Zhong Shan told reporters at China's annual National People's Congress meetings in Beijing.

It was Beijing's latest statement on "problems in Sino-U.S. economic trade and cooperation", alluding to President Donald Trump's plan to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

On Saturday, the European Union and Japan urged the United States to grant them exemptions from metal import tariffs, with Tokyo calling for "calm-headed behaviour".

"Because no one is willing to start a trade war, and everyone knows trade wars hurt others without helping themselves", Zhong said. But China's commerce minister Zhong said the Trump administration was overstating the US trade deficit with China by about 20 percent annually.

China can handle any challenges and will resolutely protect its interests, but the two countries will continue to talk, he said. He instead blamed the imbalance on United States controls over high-tech exports to China.

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Trade imbalance between the two countries is structural, with China exporting more commodities to the Unites States while importing more services, Zhong said, adding that trade competitiveness is determined by industries.

The US purchased around 35 million tones of steel past year, which makes it the world's biggest importer of the raw material.

Trump is imposing the tariffs using a rarely employed trade provision known as Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, claiming a national security rationale for protecting the domestic steel and aluminum industries.

The U.S. deficit with China came to $375 billion in 2017, accounting for roughly half the nation's trade deficit globally, Washington said last month. -China trade deficit by $100 billion.

"We have noticed that some foreign-funded businesses have complained about China's investment environment", Zhong said.

Trump's administration has said the United States mistakenly supported China's membership in the World Trade Organization in 2001 on terms that have failed to force Beijing to open its economy.

The United States and China are scheduled to hold trade talks in Beijing in the near future.

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