China’s chief envoy to high-stakes trade talks with Washington said he came “with sincerity” and more tariff hikes is “not a solution to the problem.”
Vice Premier Liu He told Chinese state TV on Friday the talks aimed at ending a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions “have run into some problems.”
Liu told CCTV that “I came here with sincerity.”
He said he hoped to “engage in rational and candid exchanges” with American negotiators.
The Trump administration planned to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods on Friday after American officials accused Beijing of backtracking on earlier commitments.
“Of course, China believes raising tariffs in the current situation is not a solution to the problem, but harmful to China, to the United States and to the whole world,” Liu said.
“We should not hurt innocent people,” Liu said. “So we hope to find an optimal way to solve this issue.”
U.S. and Chinese negotiators are set to resume trade talks just hours before the United States plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.
China says it will retaliate if President Donald Trump follows through, though the Commerce Ministry in Beijing offered no specifics.
The negotiations starting up again Thursday were thrown into disarray after U.S. officials accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made in earlier rounds of talks. In response to the backsliding, the United States is raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday.
The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and pressures American companies into handing over trade secrets.