China to lift punitive tariffs on US pork and soybeans

China will lift punitive tariffs imposed on US soybeans and pork in a trade war with the United States, in a possible goodwill gesture in advance of negotiations next month.

The Xinhua News Agency, citing unidentified sources on Friday, said soybeans, pork and some other farm goods will be exempt from tariff rises.

It gave no indication whether or when purchases might resume. Phone calls to the commerce and finance ministries were not answered on Friday, a national holiday in China.

Beijing imposed tariffs on 25 percent of US farm goods and ordered importers to stop buying soybeans, the biggest US export to China, in response to tariff rises on Chinese goods by President Donald Trump.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that the importers were asking US suppliers for prices of soybeans and pork. The spokesman did not say if they were planning to place orders.

A day earlier, the US agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to October 15.
Cautious optimism

The gestures stoked cautious optimism that the next round of trade talks in October between Washington and Beijing may lead to some progress after a string of failed attempts at resolving the long-standing dispute.

The US-China talks remain stalled since early May, when the two sides appeared to be close to a deal. Along the way, the countries have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's products.

Financial markets were rattled in August as the trade conflict escalated yet again, heightening worries that more tariffs and a slowing global economy could bump the US into a recession. The economic uncertainty has also become a drag on companies.

The two countries' conciliatory moves on Wednesday and Thursday have raised hopes on Wall Street that the upcoming round of trade negotiations may yield a different outcome than previous attempts, given the toll the friction is having on both economies.

"The goodwill moves also highlight the political pressure that both sides are under in response to the economic damage the trade war is causing," Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

"President Trump in particular looks to be getting nervous at increasing signs that the trade war is impacting the US growth outlook and the risk this poses to his reelection next year."

  • Published in World

China urges US to take steps to ensure North Korea talks resume

China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt a more conducive approach towards North Korea, in order to restart stalled nuclear talks after Pyongyang indicated it wanted to resume negotiations. 

North Korea said on Monday it was willing to restart nuclear talks with the US in late September but warned that dealings between the sides could end unless Washington takes a different approach.

A few hours later, it fired a new round of short-range projectiles.

Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said China welcomed North Korea's recent "positive signals" on restarting stalled talks.

"We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month," Wang told a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Arguing that both sides' core concerns must be addressed in order for talks to achieve real progress, Wang added: "If there are only preconditions made for the other side ... or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn't work in the past and it won't work now or in the future."

North Korea has so far this year taken a series of positive steps, and has asked the US to meet them halfway, he said.

China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt a more conducive approach towards North Korea, in order to restart stalled nuclear talks after Pyongyang indicated it wanted to resume negotiations. 

North Korea said on Monday it was willing to restart nuclear talks with the US in late September but warned that dealings between the sides could end unless Washington takes a different approach.

A few hours later, it fired a new round of short-range projectiles.

Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said China welcomed North Korea's recent "positive signals" on restarting stalled talks.

"We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month," Wang told a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Arguing that both sides' core concerns must be addressed in order for talks to achieve real progress, Wang added: "If there are only preconditions made for the other side ... or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn't work in the past and it won't work now or in the future."

North Korea has so far this year taken a series of positive steps, and has asked the US to meet them halfway, he said.

  • Published in World

Trump delays tariff hikes on Chinese goods

Washington, Sep 12 (Prensa Latina) President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that a 25% to 30% tariff hike on US$250 billion of Chinese goods will be postponed from October 1 to 15.

This decision took place at the request of China's Vice Premier Liu He, who leads for his country negotiations for a possible bilateral trade agreement, the US president posted on Twitter.

Trump also said that China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on October 1.

China released on Wednesday the first 16 US products that could be imported during the following year without facing additional tariffs, adopted amid the commercial war between the world's two largest economies, as a gesture of goodwill.

The Customs Tariffs Commission of the State Council, China's cabinet, said that the exemption will take effect on September 17 and it will also offer refunds to 12 previously taxed goods, including shrimp, lubricants and linear accelerators for anti-cancer therapies. Trump stated that he will continue granting dispensations to importers who face difficulties in replacing certain US goods, as he takes into account the severe economic damages that entrepreneurs, the negative impact on the development of industries, employment, environmental protection and social welfare will suffer.

From September 2 to October 18, the commission collects the requests of more national firms, associations and chambers of commerce that will need this benefit.

  • Published in World

Hong Kong’s leader to withdraw extradition bill, but protesters demand more

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has officially announced she is withdrawing the earlier-suspended extradition bill that sparked massive protests and riots in the city. Some protesters are already saying it’s ‘too little, too late.’

“The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” Lam said in a televised speech on Wednesday.

The bill, that would have allowed criminal suspects to be brought from Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory, to mainland China for trial, has led to massive protests which spiraled into rioting and violent clashes with police. The protesters occupied several buildings, including the city’s parliament, and disrupted operations at Hong Kong airport.

Also on rt.com Barricades ON FIRE: Eyewitness videos show Hong Kong in chaos amid escalating street violence...

The protests were openly endorsed by officials and high-profile politicians in the US and some other Western countries. China blasted this input as an effort to incite more anti-Beijing rioting in Hong Kong.

Emboldened protesters have now expanded their list of demands to include four more: a public probe into the actions of police, not designating the clashes as riots, amnesty for the arrested protesters, and electoral reform.

Leung Yiu Ting, the head of the Hong Kong Education University’s student union, said the protests will not stop a “until the five demandsre met.” Opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo stressed the “damage is [already] done,” so axing the controversial bill alone is not enough to end the rallies.

Also on rt.com CNN openly backing Hong Kong protesters? Outlet publishes handy ‘what to wear’ guide for activists...

Although Lam had previously said that the extradition bill was effectively “dead,” the protesters did not relent, as their demands grew to include calls for a broader political reform.

Protesters are calling for rallies to continue despite the bill’s cancellation. “Too little and too late now,” prominent activist and secretary general of the opposition group Demosisto, Joshua Wong, tweeted. He says “police brutality” has left “an irreversible scar” on Hong Kong society, adding that people “would not believe” the announcement of withdrawal is sincere.

  • Published in World

Hong Kong protests: dozens arrested as government warns of 'dangerous situation'

Dozens of people, including a 12-year-old child, have been arrested after a night of escalating violence in Hong Kong during which police fired a warning shot near protesters and used water cannon for the first time.

Police said they arrested 86 people over the weekend for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons and assaulting police officers.

Sunday’s protests were the scene of the fiercest clashes yet between police and demonstrators since violence escalated in mid-June over a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Police fired water cannon and teargas in running battles with protesters, who threw bricks. Six officers drew their pistols and one officer fired a warning shot into the air, police said in a statement.

Mak Chin-ho, an assistant police commissioner, said violence by demonstrators had led to the police responding with force.

“We have seen an increase in the intensity and extensiveness of violence used by protesters. Their radical acts have intensified with more dangers and sometimes deadly weapons used including bricks, metal posts, long sticks, and petrol bombs,” said Mak.

Hong Kong’s government also condemned the protesters. “The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation.” It said police would “strictly follow up” on illegal acts.

“Police will take relentless enforcement action to bring the persons involved to justice,” it said.

Hundreds of thousands of people had braved rain on Sunday to stage a peaceful, police-sanctioned march in Tsuen Wan, a part of the city noted for its links with triad members, after clashes on Saturday when police fired teargas, rubber bullets, pepper balls and sponge rounds at protesters.

By late afternoon on Sunday, about 100 riot police officers had formed into lines on two streets and protesters began to build makeshift barricades with plastic traffic barriers and bamboo rods in a standoff between the two sides. Just after 6pm local time police fired several rounds of teargas.

The crowd largely remained behind the barricades in the midst of choking smoke while some threw gas canisters back at the police. Protesters also threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at thepolice, with flames seen on the road between the two sides.

Minutes later, police launched another volley of teargas and charged at the protesters as the crowd dispersed. For the first time, police also used two anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannon to chase away protesters. Several officers drew their guns on protesters and one fired a warning shot.

The scenes of worsening unrest provoked anger in China, where the microblog of the Communist party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily newspaper, condemned protesters who removed a national flag at the rally before the march and trampled on it. “Such provocation challenges the national dignity and hurt the feelings of 1.4 billion Chinese … It should pay a cost.”

The Hong Kong government said the act challenged the national authority and “allegedly violates” the national flag and national emblem ordinance.

The government-aligned Global Times, meanwhile, hit out at western media for its “biased” coverage of the protests, particularly accounts of how the Hong Kong police officer fired a warning shot.

The news outlet said “biased coverage has put the Hong Kong police in a dangerous position, as stories about police brutality have surfaced in recent weeks. Without considering facts, some Hong Kong reporters have stood by the anti-government protesters, abandoning the fundamentals of neutral and justified reporting”.

Some protesters said they were resorting to violence because the government had not responded to their peaceful demonstrations.

An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with water cannon clears a barricade from the roadAn anti-riot police vehicle equipped with water cannon clears a barricade from the road. Photograph: Jérôme Favre/EPA
 

“The more the government ignores us, the more we have to come out,” said Peggy Tai, who is in her 60s, earlier in the day.

After almost three months of continuous protests, demonstrators remained determined in their fight for political rights.

The wave of protests, which started in early June to oppose an extradition bill under which individuals could be sent to mainland China for trial, has morphed into a broader anti-government, pro-democracy movement.

Demonstrators have five demands: the complete withdrawal of the now-suspended extradition bill; the setting up of an independent body to investigate police violence; a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots”; an amnesty for those arrested; and a resumption of political reform to allow the free election of Hong Kong’s leader and legislature.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, said last week she would establish platforms for dialogue although protesters dismissed her offer and said she needed to respond to their demands.

  • Published in World

Beijing vows to take ‘more steps’ to protect its interests if Trump raises tariffs on China

China will enact new measures to safeguard its economy if the United States moves forward with its threat to impose higher tariffs, Beijing has warned.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday that it is resolutely opposed to new US tariffs and issues between the two countries should be resolved with talks. He added that China hopes the US moves back to the path of rationality and “decoupling” won’t resolve the current impasse.

Also on rt.com US-China trade talks to restart soon, Beijing wants both back at negotiating table - Trump...

The sentiments were echoed by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He who was speaking at a tech conference in Chongqing on Monday. Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, said that China is willing to resolve the trade war through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

The comments come in the wake of President Donald Trump announcing an extra 5 percent duty on some $550 billion of Chinese goods on Friday. That move followed China’s announcement of retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of imports from the US as the trade war continues to spiral.

China's yuan fell to an 11-year low on Monday as the latest escalation spooked investors.

At the G7 summit on Sunday, Trump said that he could declare the escalating US-China trade war as a national emergency if he wanted to. “In many ways, this is an emergency,” he said.

  • Published in World

China Says Hopes US Stops Tariff Action, Vows To Retaliate Any New Levies

BEIJING: China said on Thursday it hopes the United States will stop its wrong tariff action, adding that any new tariffs would lead to escalation.

The United States said early this month it would slap duties on $300 billion of Chinese goods from Sept. 1, which would effectively extend its tariffs to all of China's exports to the United States.

But President Donald Trump later backed off part of the plan, delaying duties on some items such as cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods to mid-December, in the hopes of blunting their impact on U.S. holiday sales.

"Despite the U.S. decision to delay tariffs on some Chinese goods .... if the United States rides roughshod over China's opposition and impose any new tariffs, China will be forced to adopt retaliatory actions", Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told a news briefing.

Gao said trade teams from both sides have been keeping in touch, when asked whether the Chinese vice Premier Liu He would travel to Washington for the next round of face-to-face talks.

When asked if Washington has raised the Hong Kong issue with China during the trade negotiations, Gao referred to Trump's previous remarks that Hong Kong is part of China and it is not necessary for the U.S. to intervene.

"I hope U.S. side can stick to its words," said Gao.

President Donald Trump over the weekend warned against a crackdown in Hong Kong like Beijing's suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, which would make reaching a deal he has been seeking to end a trade war with China "very hard".

  • Published in World

Cuban Ambassador discusses China, Havana’s fight against unilateralism

China-Cuban relationships were established in an unstable world in the 1960s, and after many years, today the two sides are standing together as they once were, in the face of the new challenges of unilateralism and protectionism.

During a recent visit by the Cuban Foreign Minister to China Bruno Rodriguez and the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Wang reiterated China's stance to the world in regards to China-Cuban ties. "China and Cuba should work with other countries to safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and oppose unilateralism and protectionism. China will, as always, support Cuba's just fight against foreign interference and blockade," Wang said, according to the Xinhua News Agency on May 29. 

The development of China, especially in the past 40 years, has uplifted the country to be the second largest economy in the world and provided great opportunities for the development of Latin American countries like Cuba, which holds strong relationships with China. 

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Global Times spoke with the Cuban Ambassador to China Miguel Ángel Ramírez about the future perspectives of China-Cuban relations.

Embrace BRI

A new China-made train left Cuba's capital, Havana, for Santiago, the country's second largest city on July 13. It is Cuba's first new train in more than 40 years. The Cuban government hopes to overhaul its rail system in the future with the help of countries like China, according to a GT report on July 15. 

This is one of many indications of China's advanced technologies that have been applied for upgrading the transportation to benefit the Cuban people. In a broader sense, this train echoes the role of connectivity that China is willing to play not just within its own country, but between the two countries for common prosperity.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency on April 30, China and Cuba have identified several areas to enhance bilateral ties within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation. The BRI has drawn growing interest from the Cuban government.

As the Cuban Ambassador to China, Ramírez has been to many Chinese provinces, met different people and had conversations with Chinese media. Wherever he went and whomever he talked with, one thing that he would always like to reiterate is the importance of the BRI and that Cuba embraces this initiative.

"Cuba attaches great willingness to take part in the BRI. We embraced it since the beginning and in November last year we signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) between Cuba and China, so that Cuba can be officially part of this," the ambassador said. "Furthermore, in the recent BRI forum in April, we had a high-level delegation led by Gladys Maria Bejerano, the Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba."

Cuba sees the BRI as a new type of globalization. Ramírez said that it is not the "neoliberal" globalization led by the US, but the globalization that is based on mutual benefits. "Many Caribbean countries have problems with 'connectivity,' an area in which Cuba is willing to play a role," he noted.

Stand up for multilateralism

Both China and Cuba stand up for multilateralism and they believe what unilateralism doesn't benefit any country. China and Cuba have been working together for many years and both are socialist countries, and therefore have a united common view of the world.

As a strong supporter of the BRI, Ramírez feels strongly about the importance for both sides to promote multilateralism together in today's world.

In June, the Trump administration decided to increase sanctions on Cuba with a set of policy measures that include tightening the failed embargo and further limiting travel to the country, putting pressure on the already weakened Cuban economy. The ambassador believes that like the trade war that the US started with China, the sanctions on Cuba is one of the actions that showcased the Trump administration's break of multilateralism.

"China considers Cuba as a brother and partner, and we share that view. So both countries have been working very strongly to oppose unilateralism and long-arm jurisdiction that are sanctioned without being approved by the UN Security Council," he said. "We promote multilateralism, democracy, and globalization that are based on win-win cooperation." The ambassador noted that Cuba supports China in its position on the trade war and welcomes Chinese technology companies like Huawei.

Learn from China

Having been in China for almost three years, Ramírez is impressed by the modernization of today's China. He contributed to China's development over the last 40 years, since the launch of the reform and opening-up policy. He was excited about the fact that more than 700 million people were lifted out of poverty in the past decades, and agrees that China is an important leader in global development. 

"There is a good saying that Mao Zedong made us stand up, Deng Xiaoping made us prosperous, and Xi Jinping made us strong, which, to me, is a good review of what China has achieved in the last 70 years," the ambassador said, adding that Cuba always verifies from China's past experiences, sees what China has done, and how those experiences can be applied to Cuba.

Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Cuba, which will mark a time to share memorable stories on both sides. Ramírez is also a witness of these longstanding relationship.

"As Cuba is a tiny island in front of the US, in September 1960, we decided to establish ties with the new China, the 'red' China that the Americans used to call it in the 1960s," he said. "That was a time when Cuba just had its revolution in 1959 and when Taiwan was still a member of the UN Security Council. So, it was really a brave decision and it was particularly relevant because it was done in a public rally in front of one million people and the Cuban people applauded the decisions of the Cuban government to establish diplomatic ties with the new China. These are the things that we are celebrating."

  • Published in Cuba
Subscribe to this RSS feed