Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun (center) attends the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Photo: VCG
The US is trying to offer Europe and Japan free-trade deals at a G20 finance ministers meeting in an attempt to gain advantage in the trade war with China, but was turned down by France as Chinese experts asserted the Trump administration has lost all respect for global trade rules.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that he was renewing US President Donald Trump's proposal that G7 members drop trade barriers between them at the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Argentina, reported Reuters on Saturday.
The deals would require the elimination of tariffs, non-tariff barriers and subsidies for the European Union and Japan, according to the report.
The US is trying to unite other countries to gain an advantage in a trade war with China, Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute at the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times. "The US now understands that it must engage one by one, so it wants to alienate China with these countries."
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Marie said that the European Union would not consider trade talks with the US unless it withdraws steel and aluminum tariffs and stands down on a car tariff threat, Reuters reported.
"The US was not rational on the steel and aluminum tariffs and angered too many countries," Bai said.
European countries likely prioritize their trade relations with China before making deals with the US, Bai opined, as the Belt and Road initiative will provide them more opportunities.
The US will face difficulties getting trade allies at the G20 meeting, as "it would need to pay greater prices for other countries to respond to its proposal," he said.
The meeting came after a CNBC broadcast Friday in which Trump said that he was ready to impose tariffs on $500 billion of goods the US imports from China.
Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times that the tariff on $500 billion worth of goods could be rhetoric to provoke China. "China should see how the US actually acts and need not overreact to Trump's remarks," Li said.
However, if the tariffs are indeed put into practice, China will take necessary measures, He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times.
"China's measures are already prepared - just waiting to be disclosed at the right moment," He said.
Trump has totally lost respect for global trade rules and is walking further toward a cliff by putting the global supply chain and China and US economies in danger, He said.
Chu Daye contributed to the story