China's top trade negotiator urges calm: report

Beijing (AFP) –


China's top trade negotiator tried to reduce tensions with the US by calling for a "calm attitude" on Monday, local media reported, as the two countries engage in a fresh round of the tit-for-tat tariffs roiling global markets.

Last week, the China-US trade war took a turn for the worse after US President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods -- the latest escalation in a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year.

"We are willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude," said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Smart China Expo in Chongqing, reported Caixin.

"We firmly oppose the escalation of the trade war."

Trump's announcement last Friday followed an earlier notification from Beijing that it would introduce fresh tariffs on US goods worth $75 billion.

The US president also "ordered" American firms to start looking for an alternative to production in China on Twitter, though he and his top aides on Sunday later downplayed the idea of pushing US firms to abandon the Chinese market.

The increase in tariffs has intensified global economic tensions and fuelled fears of a worldwide downturn, with China's currency sliding to its weakest point in more than 11 years on Monday.

At the expo in Chongqing, Chinese Vice Premier Liu also emphasised Beijing's desire to cooperate with other countries to develop "smart" or connected devices, on top of trying to lower tensions in the trade war.

"We welcome investors from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China," reported Caixin, which published a transcript of Liu's speech.