China's Xi Jinping Pledges To Cut Auto Tariffs Amid US Trade Clash

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In the wake of Trump's decision in March to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, primarily to target China, the U.S. on Tuesday published a list of US$50 billion in Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs over what Washington says is widespread theft of intellectual property and technology.

Trump hit back again late Thursday, instructing trade officials to consider the additional levies on US$100 billion in imports.

Xi also said China would raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile sector as soon as possible and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.

On Tuesday, Washington unveiled about $US50 billion ($A65 billion) worth of proposed tariffs on Chinese imports and on Thursday Trump upped the ante, directing USA trade officials to identify tariffs on another $US100 billion of Chinese imports.

China's President Xi Jinping has soothed investor fears of a trade war with the United States as he warned against a "Cold War mentality", causing Asian shares to bounce. Taxes will end up reciprocal and a bargain will be reached on intellectual land.

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Amid global fears of an escalating trade dispute between the USA and China, President Donald Trump suggested that Beijing will ease trade barriers "because it is the right thing to do" and that the economic superpowers can settle the conflict that has rattled financial markets, consumers and businesses.

He added that he and China's President Xi Jinping "will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade".

"President Xi is very strong".

Meanwhile, Chinese diplomats filed a request at WTO headquarters in Geneva for consultations with Washington over Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminum.

Xi gave no details on how those conditions might change, leaving it unclear whether that might mollify Washington.

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"China is opening sectors where they already have a distinct advantage, or a stranglehold over the sector", Short said, citing China's banking industry, which is dominated by domestic players.

China charges total duties of 25 percent on most imported cars - a 10 percent customs tariff plus a 15 percent auto tax.

The yuan was quoted at 6.297 per US dollar, 0.25 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.3126. Other automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen that assemble vehicles in China with local state-owned partners could offer additional models.

An unnamed White House official quoted by Bloomberg said the speech appeared to provide an opening to build trust between the two sides, but that the USA was expecting to see concrete proposals from Beijing.

Investors across the globe are bracing for uncertain markets over an escalating trade dispute between the US and China. "Xi's apparent desire to balance out his country's global payments is clearly great news for countries and companies selling goods to China".

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The bulk of Xi's 40-minute speech was devoted to China's vision for economic development and its global role following a ruling party congress in October that installed him for a second five-year term as leader. "Cold war thinking and zero-sum games are increasingly obsolete".

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