China's import expo over-booked: commerce minister

Larry Hoffman
March 12, 2018

Zhong Shan, Commerce Minister of the People's Republic of China, said it during the session of the National People's Congress, Reuters reports.

In 2017, trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road amounted to 7.4 trillion yuan (about 1.2 trillion USA dollars), surging 17.8 percent year on year, outpacing the 14.2-percent increase in China's total foreign trade last year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on February 28.

"A trade war will be catastrophic for China, the USA, and the rest of the world", he said. "However, we are capable of handling any challenge, and we resolutely defend the interest of the country and the people".

Zhong said that cooperation is the only choice for the 2 countries.

China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has lowered prices.

The deficit could be reduced by 35 percent if the United States eased export controls on high-technology products to China, he said, citing unspecified USA research. China is not one of those nations.

Zhong said that Beijing would continue to "relax market access" to China, and that it would also attach greater importance to intellectual property rights, another point of tension with the U.S.

More than 150,000 buyers from home and overseas are expected at the event, he said.

There was still "no immediate clarity on the exact USA procedure on exemption", Malmstrom, the 28-nation bloc's trade commissioner, said after the meeting that also included Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko.

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.

China's response came after a Bloomberg reporter asked if the country would consider retaliatory behavior following the tariffs.

Mr Trump said on Saturday the U.S. was "working very quickly on a security agreement" so as not to impose the tariffs on "our ally, the great nation of Australia".

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