Sunday, August 19News That Matters

Top China, U.S. diplomats meet amid trade tensions


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore on Friday on the sidelines of a regional forum, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the two countries.

Reporters were ushered from the room before the two men began their formal talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday instructed his trade officials to look at increasing tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion in Chinese imports into the United States.

Trump, who has accused China and others of exploiting the United States in global trade, has demanded that Beijing make a host of concessions to avoid the new duties, which could be imposed in the weeks after a comment period closes on Sept. 5.

China, however, shows no sign of bending to Washington’s pressure.

Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister, urged the United States on Thursday to calm down and “carefully listen to the voices of U.S. consumers”.

So far, the United States has imposed duties on $34 billion of imports from China as part of a first tranche of sanctions on $50 billion of goods.

It wants China to stop stealing U.S. corporate secrets, abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America’s expense and stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans that enable them to compete unfairly.

China says the United States is trying to stop the rise of a competitor and it has imposed its own tariffs on U.S. goods. The rising tensions have weighed on stock and currency markets, with the Chinese yuan falling against the dollar.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands before their bilateral meeting at the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore, August 3, 2018. Mohd Rasfan/Pool via Reuters

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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