1248 GMT January 19, 2020
After holding talks with his Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok in The Hague on Monday, Pompeo said that President Donald Trump wants to insure that Chinese companies and American companies are doing business on equal terms.
"We're very concerned that Western companies, American companies and others that enter the Chinese markets aren't treated the same way that Chinese companies are treated when they enter those Western markets," Pompeo said.
Trump initiated what is effectively a trade war with China last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the country. Since then, the world’s two largest economies have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade.
The two sides have held talks to settle the issue, but all to no avail so far. Their latest round of trade negotiations ended last month without conclusion, with Trump accusing Beijing that it had “reneged” on its previous promises to make structural changes to its economic practices.
They have yet to set a date to resume the talks, with the US president announcing an increase of tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and Beijing hiking its own tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products.
China strongly opposes the US tariff hikes, saying they are harmful not only to China and the US, but to the whole world. Washington, for its part, says a primary goal of the aggressive tariff strategy is to decrease the trade imbalance with China, which totaled $379 billion in 2018.
A senior Chinese official said on Sunday the United States cannot use pressure to force a trade deal with China.
“If the US side wants to use extreme pressure, to escalate the trade friction, to force China to submit and make concessions, this is absolutely impossible,” said Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, who has been part of China’s negotiating team.
His comments came a day after Beijing hit $60 billion worth of US goods with new punitive tariffs ranging from five to 25 percent, a retaliatory move in response to Washington’s raising duty on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent.