China's commerce minister said Sunday that Beijing and Washington are still holding economic talks as he warned that a trade war would harm both nations. China has repeatedly vowed to defend its "legitimate rights and interests" if targeted by U.S. trade actions.
Trump's announcement on tariffs underlined concerns about rising USA protectionism, which has sparked bouts of turmoil in global financial markets over the past year as investors feared a damaging trade spat will shatter a synchronized uptick in world growth.
US President Donald Trump this week delivered on his campaign promises to get tough on trade by imposing tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on steel and aluminium imports, respectively. China doesn't want a trade war, and will not start a trade war first.
Zhong said at a briefing during a meeting of China's ceremonial legislature that the US has been overstating its trade deficit with China by about 20 percent every year.
The US is the world's biggest importer of steel, purchasing 35 million tonnes of raw material in 2017.
US control of high-tech exports to China also contributed to bilateral trade imbalance, Zhong said, quoting one USA research report which estimated a 35-percent fall in trade deficit with China if the United States relaxed export restrictions.
European Union expects to be excluded from Trump's trade tariffs
Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said he had expressed Japanese concern to Lighthizer and warned of major market disruption. Under World Trade Organization rules, such counter-measures have to be in place within 90 days of the US tariffs entering force.
He highlighted that different statistical methods widen U.S. trade deficit with China by about 20 percent, citing the research of a joint work group tracking and comparing the two countries' trade figures.
US officials have said such sales would make up only a few percent of the deficit while possibly threatening American national security.
"We are not only talking for now, we will continue to talk in the future", he said.
The CIIE is a public platform for global trade development, he said.
The Trump administration earlier approved higher tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines, solar modules and some other goods, prompting Beijing to accuse Washington of disrupting global trade regulation by taking action under US law instead of through the World Trade Organization. Specific details were not given, but Zhong pledged to give equal treatment to domestic and foreign businesses alike while continuing to curb "irrational overseas investment" from within China.