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China surprised by Washington’s new trade statement

China has expressed surprise at a new statement from the United States indicating that Washington will go on with imposing trade restrictions on China despite a general consensus reached between the two countries earlier this month.

China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the general expectation in Beijing was that the US should stick to the spirit of a recent joint statement that outlined the two countries’ determination to work to decrease trade imbalances.

The ministry said China had the confidence, ability and experience to safeguard its core interests if the US was to enforce trade sanctions announced in March.

The White House said in a statement on Tuesday that the planned trade sanctions against China were still in the works despite a recent announcement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who had said tariffs on Chinese goods were “on hold”.

The US statement said restrictions on Chinese investment, export controls and 25 percent tariffs on as much as $50 billion in Chinese tech goods remained under development. It added that the final list of Chinese imports covered by the tariffs will be announced on June 15 and imposed shortly thereafter while details of the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls will be announced on June 30.

The statement said that as part of the ongoing trade talks between the two countries, the US will ask China to “remove all of its many trade barriers, including non-monetary trade barriers, which make it both difficult and unfair to do business there.”

The White House announcement comes days before a planned trip by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Beijing, where he would discuss the prospects of US-China trade relations and also threats by China that it will retaliate in kind to tariffs imposed on its exports.

Some American lawmakers have been critical of President Donald Trump and his negotiation tactics with China. The lawmakers insist Trump surrendered Washington’s leverage during this month’s talks with China without obtaining significant concessions from Beijing.

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