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China defends trade stance after Trump appointee’s criticism

Beijing: China’s government defended itself on Thursday as a supporter of free trade after US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for commerce secretary criticised its tactics.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying pointed to President Xi Jinping’s appeal to avoid protectionism in a speech this week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

“Who is sincerely pushing ahead with liberalisation of trade and investment and who is exercising trade protectionism should be clear for all to see,” Hua said at a news briefing.

Trump, who takes office Friday, promised during his campaign to respond to what he called unfair ‘Beijing trade tactics’ by raising tariffs on Chinese goods and possibly imposing other penalties.

His nominee for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, criticised China on Wednesday for excess steel and aluminium production and said he would look closely at potential anti-dumping cases.

“It’s a little weird that we have very low tariffs and China has very high tariffs,” Ross said.

PTI