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China urges resolving trade dispute with US through dialogue
Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng listens to a reporter’s question during a press conference at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Thursday, March 29, 2018. China’s Commerce Ministry called on Washington on Thursday to discard planned tariffs it warned might set off a chain reaction that could disrupt global trade and said Beijing will “fight to the end.” Photo: AP
China said Thursday that the U.S. trade approach had set a bad precedent that could trigger a domino effect on protectionism, and the United States must resort to dialogue and consultation to settle disputes.
"The United States must abandon unilateralism and protectionism, take measures and resort to dialogue and consultation to settle disputes," said Gao Feng, spokesperson with China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
"China is always open for negotiations," he added, emphasizing the principles of equality, constructiveness and balance needed in joint efforts.
President Donald Trump’s move last week to slap up to $60 billion in tariffs on some Chinese imports has since provoked a warning from Beijing that it could retaliate with duties of up to $3 billion of U.S. imports.
China’s biggest U.S. imports are aircraft and related equipment, soybeans and autos, with the total bill about $40 billion last year.
Last week, Beijing responded to an earlier U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports by releasing a $3 billion list of American goods including pork and steel pipes that might be targeted for retaliation.
“The malicious practices of the United States are like opening Pandora’s Box, and there is a danger of triggering a chain reaction that will spread the virus of trade protectionism across the globe,” Gao said.
The spokesperson refuted the view that China's slower-than-expected fulfillment of World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations was the cause of the U.S. tariff plan, saying this was "totally unfounded."
He insisted that China has “actively assumed its responsibilities as a major developing trading nation and continued to open up its market” since its accession to the WTO, by having cut its overall tariff level from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent.
"The latest U.S. trade measures towards China are typical trade protectionism with cold war and a zero-sum mentality. Don't make China an excuse," Gao said.
He said China would take all possible appropriate measures to defend its legitimate interests and was confident in its ability to react against any trade or investment protectionist act.

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