China: 'We Don't Want to See a Trade War'

Premier says Beijing won't use US debt as leverage
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2018 12:11 AM CDT
China: 'We Don't Want to See a Trade War'
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, is followed by Premier Li Keqiang and leaders as they arrive for the closing session of the annual National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, March 20, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that China doesn't want to see a "trade war" with the United States and hopes to reach a negotiated settlement of disputes. Speaking at a nationally televised news conference, Li said rash action would hurt all sides. He made no mention of a possible Chinese response to any increase in US import controls. Beijing faces mounting pressure from the Trump administration over complaints it hampers access to its markets, pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, and is flooding foreign markets with unfairly low-priced steel and other goods, the AP reports. That has prompted concern possible US import controls might set off a cycle of retaliation by Beijing and other governments.

"What we hope is for us to act rationally rather than being led by emotions," Li said. "We don't want to see a trade war." Chinese trade officials said earlier that Beijing was ready to respond, though they gave no details. Business groups have suggested they could target US exports of jetliners, soybeans, and other goods for which China is a major market. Asked whether Beijing might use its large holdings of US government debt as leverage in a dispute, the premier said China's investments are based on market principles and "China will remain a responsible long-term investor." Li also promised China "will open even wider" to imports and investment and will fully open manufacturing industries to foreign competitors.

(More US-China relations stories.)

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