China tries to tamp down United States trade tensions

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Zhong said he is looking forward to meeting with the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "I am willing to work with great people, because they are always far-sighted with strategic thinking", Zhong said at a press conference during the annual session of the National People's Congress.

Managing differences can be a challenging job for the two top trade officials.

The billionaire politician has repeatedly accused China of using unfair trade policies to steal jobs from the United States, threatening to retaliate with massive tariffs unless Beijing changes tack.

China's exports for January and February combined rose 4 percent from the same period past year, while imports surged more than 26 percent, suggesting solid improvement in demand domestically and overseas.

During his Manila visit, Zhong said he met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang as well as the President's economic teams led by Finance Secretary Carlos "Sonny" Dominguez and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. "Now everybody is watching and waiting", he said.

A trade war between China and the United States is not in line with the interests of the two countries and will bring nothing but harm, China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said Saturday.

The warning was the second time this week that China has railed against a possible trade war, amid growing indications that the Trump administration is serious about pursuing a protectionist agenda.

American exports to China expanded an average 11 percent in the past 10 years, outpacing the 6.6 percent growth in Chinese shipments to the US during the period, according to Zhong.

Chinese businesses hired some 1.5 million foreigners overseas a year ago, the commerce minister said today. Before that, he was a deputy governor of exporting powerhouse Zhejiang province and worked under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the then-party chief for the region.