BEIJING/WASHINGTON - China on Thursday urged the United States to abandon unilateralism and protectionism, and resort to dialogue and consultation to handle the disagreements.
Gao Feng, spokesman with China's Ministry of Commerce made the remarks in the wake of a US decision to extend from 30 days to 60 the window to allow the public to comment on the tariffs it imposed on Chinese goods.
"China is always open for negotiations," Gao said, but emphasized sticking to the principles of equality, constructiveness and balance that need joint efforts.
The practices of the United States have opened a Pandora's box
Gao Feng, spokesman with China's Ministry of Commerce
Last Thursday, US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to US$50 billion of imports from China and restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.
The memorandum is based on a Section 301 investigation, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices.
Feng said China is confident it will be able to react against any form of trade or investment protectionist act while responding to a question about how China would be affected by the US government plan to slap tariffs.
Trade with the US, valued at about US$580 billion, accounted for 14.1 percent of China's total foreign trade. China's investment in the country, valued at about US$7.8 billion accounted for 6.5 percent of its total non-financial outbound investment, Gao said at the press conference.
Opening Pandora's box
Meanwhile, the US tariff proposals on imported steel have the risk of triggering a chain reaction and spreading protectionism across the world, Gao said.
"The practices of the United States have opened a Pandora's box," Gao said when asked to comment on trade remedy measures and investigations by the EU and Japan.
Excess production is a global issue and therefore needs all countries to work together, Gao said.
"The solution is not to close doors, but to open them, deepen cooperation, and make use of our respective advantages to increase our common interests," he stressed.
The spokesperson said China hopes all WTO members would pull together, be unaffected by the practices of individual members, and resolutely oppose protectionism.
External pressure will not change China's resolution and confidence in opening up, Gao said.
"China will stick to its opening-up policy more firmly without being affected by external pressure," Gao said.
Hope for fruitful outcome
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that "there's hope" that trade talks between the US and China could lead to a fruitful outcome.
READ MORE: China to take legal action as US imposes trade tariffs
In an interview with CNBC, Lighthizer said the USTR's Office would announce a list of Chinese goods subject to potential tariffs "before very long," based on the so-called Section 301 investigation against alleged Chinese technology transfer practices.
In a CNBC interview, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said "there's hope" that trade talks between the us and China could lead to a fruitful outcome
"Then we'll go through a 60-day period where we'll give the public a chance to comment on the good and the bad things in there," he said, signaling that the Trump administration is unlikely to impose tariffs on Chinese goods until early June.
Asked whether US negotiations with China could lead to the avoidance of tariffs or a fruitful outcome similar to the recent trade deal between the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK), Lighthizer said "I think there is hope."
While the United States and China have two "very different" economic systems, Lighthizer said "it's very possible" that the US-China trade relationship could end up in "a good place" after overcoming "a series of difficulties" over many years.
Business groups from China and the United States in recent weeks have warned the Trump administration not to move forward with its tariff plan on Chinese imports, as it would raise the costs for American consumers and companies as well as having a negative impact on the financial markets.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday that the door to dialogue and consultation between the United States and China has always been open.
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