Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: REUTERS

Beijing — China is still determined to reform and wants to work with all parties to build an open world economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday, reiterating Beijing’s message amid a bitter trade war with Washington.

The two countries have been rolling out a series of tariffs on each other’s exports as US President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to tackle a range of issues from the large trade imbalance with China to forced technology transfers.

China has criticised the US for protectionist and unilateral measures and says it will keep opening up its economy, providing a fair and transparent environment for foreign businesses.

Meeting the UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, in Beijing ahead of a major China-Africa summit, Xi made no direct mention of the trade tensions with the US, referring instead to "unilateralism and protectionism rearing its head".

"China’s determination to fully deepen reforms will not change," the foreign ministry paraphrased Xi as telling Guterres. "We are willing to use practical actions to drive all parties to jointly adhere to trade liberalisation and facilitation and build an open world economy." The statement did not elaborate.

US and China ended two days of talks in August without a major breakthrough as their trade war escalated with a further $16bn worth of tariffs on each other’s goods. The two have now targeted $50bn of each other’s goods and threatened duties on most of the rest of their bilateral trade, raising concerns that the conflict could dent global economic growth.

Economists estimate that every $100bn of imports hit by tariffs would reduce global trade by about 0.5%.