China slams US for 'sudden flip-flops' in trade policy

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Hitting back at the Trump administration's threat to impose a 25 per cent tariff on $50 billion goods imported from China, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, "In worldwide relations, every flip-flop and U-turn by a country will undermine and hurt its own credibility".

Trade tensions between Washington and Beijing appeared to have eased in recent weeks after both sides said they had agreed to put plans for tariffs on hold while they tried to make progress in negotiations.

Washington also said it will press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States as well as export controls for goods exported to China.

The trade spat between the top two economies of the world began last month with President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into US.

State news agency Xinhua said China hoped that the United States would not act impulsively but stood ready to fight to protect its own interests.

It comes as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross prepares to travel to Beijing this week for another round of talks aimed at resolving the conflict.

"People to people exchanges constitutes important foundation in worldwide relations", Hua said.

China said last month that it would respond to the USA tariff threat with similar measures on $50 billion of American exports, including aircraft, automobiles and soybeans. China's Foreign Ministry referred questions to the Commerce Ministry, which did not reply to a fax seeking comment.

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Six members of his delegation had already arrived in Beijing as of Wednesday evening, the USA embassy confirmed to AFP. The six-person group includes the U.S. Trade Representative's Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud; Ted McKinney, the under secretary for trade at the Department of Agriculture; and Treasury's deputy assistant secretaries Robert Kaproth and Mitch Silk, according to an emailed statement.

Reports said this could be in connection to concerns of espionage as well as China's theft of US intellectual property.

Earlier, China's state council, or cabinet, said it will cut import tariffs on a range of consumer items including apparel, cosmetics and home appliances from July 1, and would finalize a so-called negative list for foreign investment by the same date, following through on earlier pledges.

On Tuesday, Trump renewed his threat to place 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods, in retaliation for what his administration says are China's unfair trade practices.

"On hold now", a person familiar with Qualcomm's talks with the Chinese government said on Wednesday, declining to be identified as the negotiations are confidential.

"The thinking became that if the USA doesn't have any leverage and there is no pressure on our Chinese friends, then we will not have serious negotiations".

FILE - Chinese students wait outside the U.S. Embassy for their visa application interviews in Beijing, China.

The application process itself won't change, the State Department said. But a US official said that according to instructions sent to USA embassies and consulates, Chinese graduate students will be limited to one-year visas if they are studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing.