Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump, dairy farmers broaden attacks on Liberals as speedy metal tariffs urged

Trump, dairy farmers broaden attacks on Liberals as speedy metal tariffs urged

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived in Beijing seeking to convince the Chinese to step up purchases of US goods and energy as a way to close its $375 billion trade gap with the U.S.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the talks between Ross and Liu had made "positive and concrete progress", and had discussed agriculture and energy. Beijing has said it will respond with tariffs on a range of American goods, including cars, aircraft and soybeans.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada branded as "troubling" and "worrisome" comments Trudeau made on NBC's Meet the Press that Canada was considering allowing US dairy greater access to the Canadian market as part of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But the truce appeared to end with last week's announcement Washington was going ahead with tariff hikes on technology goods and also would impose curbs on Chinese investment and purchases of U.S. high-tech exports.

China already agreed to address the first with a May 19 pledge to buy more American farm goods, energy supplies and other products. "We believe that regarding problems in the China-U.S. trade and economic relations, the two countries should work out a win-win and mutually beneficial resolution through dialogue and discussion with sincerity and in the spirit of equality and mutual respect".

Canada is imposing tariffs on $12.8 billion worth of USA products. Previously, the Chinese government had agreed to increase its purchases of US agriculture and energy products in a bid to decrease the trade deficit.

United States commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and vice premier Liu He did not issue a joint statement after they wrapped up two days of discussions.

Ross gave no details at the start of his meeting Sunday with Liu, China's top economic official.

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Wilbur Ross sounded upbeat on Sunday after having dinner the previous evening with China's Vice-Premier Liu He.

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied that the US had abandoned leadership in the global economy and said he had passed on the other countries' strong feelings to Mr Trump.

"China is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the United States, which will benefit people of both countries and the rest of the world", noted the statement.

The rapid turn from tariffs to truce and back to tariffs points to divergent approaches within the Trump administration.

The visit comes as fears of an all-out global trade war intensified after the European Union, Canada and Mexico drew up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium tariffs that came into effect on Friday.

The US pressure over technology policy reflects growing American concern about China's status as a potential competitor and complaints Beijing improperly subsidises its fledgling industries and shields them from competition. The company's links to North Korea in particular are politically inconvenient for China because Beijing has claimed that China's enforcement of worldwide sanctions against North Korea helped pave the way for the coming summit meeting in Singapore between Mr. Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

The renewed push for Chinese tariffs coincides with Washington's announcement last week that it would implement duties on steel and aluminum for other key allies.

The tone of the statement suggested that China's concessions at last month's talks in Washington were not enough for the Trump administration, says BBC Asia Business correspondent Karishma Vaswani.

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