China Says It Never Agreed to Trump Administration’s ‘Extravagant Demands’ in Trade-Deal Talks

Mairead McArdle

China said Monday that it never agreed to the “extravagant demands” U.S. negotiators made during April negotiations meant to solidify a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

“We don’t know what this agreement is the United States is talking about,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in comments to reporters. “Perhaps the United States has an agreement they all along had extravagant expectations for, but it’s certainly not a so-called agreement that China agreed to.”

The White House earlier this month raised tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese imports after accusing Beijing of reneging on the terms of a deal. China retaliated last week, saying it will raise tariffs from 5 to 25 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, including coffee, batteries, and spinach.

The Trump administration attempted “to achieve unreasonable interests through extreme pressure,” Kang said. “From the start this wouldn’t work.”

The U.S. and China “had a very strong deal, we had a good deal, and they changed it. And I said, ‘That’s OK, we’re going to tariff their products,’” President Trump said last week.

The tariffs have sparked a fierce backlash from critics who say they will hit American businesses, and by extension consumers, hard. Republican senator Pat Toomey called the tariff hike “very bad policy,” last week, saying that tariffs are a “dangerous and a painful tool that hits both the country against which the tariffs are being imposed and the country that is doing the imposition.”

Meanwhile, the stock market dropped for four days at the beginning of this month as the U.S. prepared to make good on its threat to raise tariffs on China.

The trade war between the two countries has heated up just ahead of next month’s G-20 summit in Japan, where President Trump plans to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

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