China Trade Negotiator Accuses U.S. of Protectionism

China’s deputy trade negotiator said on Tuesday that talks with the United States were difficult and not making much progress because the U.S. was unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

“How could you negotiate with someone when he puts a knife on your neck?” said Wang Shouwen at a press conference in Beijing highlighting a newly issued government policy paper on bilateral trade frictions. In it, China presents itself as the victim of the conflict, while at the same time accusing the U.S. of protectionism and bullying.

However, the official position in the paper, as well as that of Wang, is that the door for further negotiations is still open. It is, however, “entirely up to the U.S. side” to show genuine willingness for negotiations to restart. So far, the two sides had managed to reach some agreements, but President Donald Trump tore them shortly afterward, Wang said.

CNN informs that several other Chinese officials attending the press conference pointed to other points in the paper, such as the chaos on global trade caused by the U.S. President’s trade war. The officials denied Trump’s claims that Beijing enjoyed unfair trade advantages over the United States and expressed confidence that China can withstand a protracted trade conflict with the U.S., pointing to their country’s robust trade data and examples of new deals that replaced lost American partnerships.

The Chinese officials further said the impact the trade conflict has on the economy was “unavoidable but manageable.”

However, Wang refused to say whether trade talks are becoming pointless considering the fact that China’s leadership views Trump’s trade war as a strategic move to contain the rise of China. “Containing China or fighting a trade war — neither is in line with the direction of peace and development for mankind,” said the country’s International Trade Representative Fu Ziying, adding that the ordinary people will pay the price of the trade war.

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