China trade talks fail to make breakthrough

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump

New US import taxes on a tranche of Chinese exports worth $16 billion, including train carriages, tractors and motorbikes, faced immediate retaliation.

Combined with the round of tariffs that took effect in early July, two countries have imposed tariffs on a total of $100 billion of their traded goods.

They gave no sign of progress toward a settlement of USA complaints that Beijing steals technology and its industry development plans violate Chinese free-trade commitments.

Allowing China Mobile access to U.S. telecommunications networks would carry a "substantial and unacceptable risk" to national security and law enforcement, the USA government has said.

The escalation came as the world's two largest economies hold their first formal discussions since June on the spiraling trade war.

A Chinese trade delegation has reportedly told Washington there may be no substantial negotiations to avert a trade war between the world's number one and two economies until after United States mid-term elections in November.

China's commerce ministry has said that it firmly opposes and reserves its right to retaliate to the latest batch of U.S. tariffs that went into effect on Thursday and targeted another $16bn worth of imports from the Asian country.

The trade war risks significantly raising prices for consumers, while global stock markets, which have largely ignored Mr Trump's complaints as "bluster" and a negotiating ploy, are getting more jittery as nations retaliate.

Many said the new tax would hurt their businesses and warned that they would not be able to absorb another tax without raising prices for USA consumers.

Some business groups have warned about the impact of escalating tariffs.

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The US accuses China of unfair trading practices, particularly on technology. "Naturally they'll retaliate a little bit", U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on CNBC on Wednesday at a Century Aluminum Co smelter in Kentucky that has benefited from Trump's aluminum tariffs.

U.S. Treasury's David Malpass, undersecretary for worldwide affairs, is leading two days of talks, which began Wednesday, with China's Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen and Chinese Vice Finance Minister Liao Min. USA officials worry they might erode the US' industrial leadership.

"I'm like them; I have a long horizon", he reportedly told Reuters. "They worry not so much about what's happening with the trade war, but what's going to happen in the future", he said.

The talks were to continue this morning, but the Treasury has not specified what topics are being discussed.

Earlier, a senior Trump administration official downplayed chances for success, saying China had yet to address USA complaints about alleged misappropriation of US intellectual property and industrial subsidies.

Such fears have helped push China's main stock index into a bear market and drive the country's currency, the yuan, sharply lower against the USA dollar.

"It has to be a two-way street".

"At the same time, to safeguard free trade and multilateral systems, and defend its own lawful interests, China will file suit regarding these tariff measures under the WTO dispute resolution mechanism", it said. "We only have one-way streets not only with China but everybody".

Ironically, the goods the United States has targeted are mostly intermediate products manufactured in China by multinational companies imported by US-based manufacturers, and miss Chinese firms, according to analysts.

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