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China sending trade team to US despite Trump’s threat

China on Monday said that its trade delegation is still readying to go Washington after US President Donald Trump abruptly announced to crank up tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on Chinese imports worth $200 billion.

Trump’s Sunday announcement is new a twist in the ongoing US-China trade spat that seemed to be easing until last week as he claimed that a deal could be in the offing.

Following Trump’s new tariff threat, some media reports said China could cancel trade talks in Washington this week which is to be attended by its top trade envoy Liu He.

But the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that their delegation was still preparing to go the US for the parleys.

“We are trying to get more information on (Trump’s announcement.) What I can tell you is that the Chinese team is preparing to go to the US for the trade talks,” Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said here.

Asked if Liu will attend the trade talks, Geng was non-committal.

“As to the threat of the US increasing tariff is concerned, such a situation has appeared many times before. China’s position is clear-cut and the US knows that clearly,” he said.

“The trade consultation between the US and China have made positive progress. We hope that the US and China will work together to reach a mutually beneficial treaty on the basis of mutual respect. This is not only in the interest of the US and China but also in the interest of the international community.”

The two largest economies have been locked in a bruising trade war since July last year after Trump slapped an additional 25 per cent on an initial $50 billion of Chinese goods.

The US President followed it through with another 10 per cent on an additional $200 billion in products in September.

It is the levies imposed in September last year that Trump has now threatened to increase to 25 per cent from Friday.

This may scuttle the progress both sides have claimed to make in preventing the spat to worsen, a scenario that could impede the world’s economic recovery.

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