China scotched trade talks with the U.S. that were planned for the coming days, according to people briefed on the matter, further dimming prospects for resolving a trade battle between the world’s two largest economies.
The decision to pull out of the talks follows the latest escalation in trade tensions. On Monday, President Trump announced new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to retaliate with levies on $60 billion in U.S. goods. Mr. Trump then vowed to further ratchet up pressure on China by kicking in tariffs on another $257 billion of Chinese products, The Wall Street Journal reports.
China will not send vice-premier Liu He to Washington next week to continue the negotiations over the tariff wars with the US representatives, media reported on Saturday.
Beijing was to send two separate delegations to Washington, one of which was expected to be headed by Liu; yet both of these delegations were cancelled, the Wall Street Journal reported. The second delegation was a mid-level delegation that had to start the talks and make necessary preparations for Liu’s visit.
On Thursday, the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EED), the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement, after it engaged in “significant transactions” with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms exporter.
The sanctions will block the EED and its director, Li Shangfu, from applying for export license and participating in the U.S. financial system.
“The U.S. approach is a blatant violation of the basic norms of international relations, a full manifestation of hegemony, and a serious breach of the relations between the two countries and their two militaries,” ~ Chinese defense ministry’s official Wechat account.
He warned that the United States would face “consequences” if it did not immediately revoke the sanctions.
The latest exchange of tariffs, which take effect Monday, brings China and the U.S. closer to a full-blown trade war.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.