BEIJING -- China has hinted at backing out of the anticipated new trade talks with the U.S. if President Donald Trump carries out additional tariffs covering $200 billion worth of Chinese products.
"If the U.S. imposes any additional tariffs on China, we will have to take necessary countermeasures and resolutely safeguard our legitimate and legal rights and interests," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters Monday.
"The escalating trade disputes serve the interests of neither side. We always believe that dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality, good faith and mutual respect make the only viable way out for the China-U.S. trade issues," Geng said.
Beijing said last week that it welcomed the invitation from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to restart high-level talks. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington on Sept. 27 and 28 for talks with Mnuchin. An advance team from the Chinese Commerce Department is expected in Washington later this week for preparations.
Meanwhile, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday that the U.S. is ready to negotiate a trade deal with China whenever Beijing is prepared for serious talks that will reduce tariffs and eliminate non-tariff trade barriers.
"We are ready to negotiate and talk with China any time that they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations towards free trade to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers, to open markets, to allow the most competitive economy in the world, ours, to export more and more goods and services to China," Kudlow said at the Economic Club of New York.
Kudlow said China's economic reforms were moving in the wrong direction and that he expected the U.S. would soon announce tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The Trump administration is expected to announce as early as Monday the third round of tariffs.