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China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States and will not start one, but can handle any related challenges and will defend national and Chinese people’s interests,Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said Sunday.

Trade wars leave no winners, only disastrous outcomes for the two countries and the rest of the world, Zhong told a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.

The United States side formally declared to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum Thursday, with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, saying such results could be made for other countries through negotiations.

Zhong pointed out that different statistical methods widen U.S. trade deficit with China by around 20 percent, citing the research of a joint work group tracking and comparing the two countries’ trade figures.

China’s trade surplus with the United States grew 13 percent year on year to 1.87 trillion yuan last year, official data showed.

Trade imbalance between the two countries is structural, with China exporting more commodities to the Unites States while importing more services, Zhong said, adding that trade competitiveness is determined by industries.

Also read:Trade war between China and the US could harm Hong Kong’s economy, city NPC official warns

U.S. control of high-tech exports to China also contributed to bilateral trade imbalance, Zhong said, quoting one U.S. research report which estimated a 35-percent fall in trade deficit with China if the United States relaxed export restrictions.

Zhong said the two countries have different demands in opening up markets in financial, telecom, automobile, produce and other sectors due to different national conditions.

Different views on Internet security and intellectual property rights also impact bilateral trade and investment, he added.

The two sides haven’t halted economic dialogues and will continue the exchanges, the minister stressed.

Liu He, a senior Chinese economic and financial official met with U.S. officials earlier this month and they have agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes by cooperation rather than confrontation.

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