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  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea on Nov. 17, 2018.

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea on Nov. 17, 2018.

Published 17 November 2018

Through its protectionist policy, the Trump Administration aims to reduce Chinese imports and boost U.S. exports.

The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double tariffs, unless Beijing cedes to Washington's demands, Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday, in a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.

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"We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China... We put tariffs on US$250 billion in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number," declared Pence, who added that "the United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways."

Through its protectionist policy, the Trump Administration aims to reduce Chinese imports and boost U.S. exports, in an attempt to close a trade deficit with China that exceeded US$375 billion in 2017.

The deterioration of the U.S. trade balance began, in 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and began to enhance its economic relations globally.

On March 23, the U.S. tariffs of US$3 billion came into effect. By June, however, the list of U.S. trade barriers reached US$200 billion. Some US$250-billion worth of Chinese imports are currently subject to trade barriers.

Nevertheless, Pence showed no interest in making concessions during the high-level summit. The U.S. vice president alluded to China's influence in the Pacific and specifically to President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative which seeks to expand land and sea links among Asia, Africa and Europe.

"China has taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Those days are over," Pence, commented, adding that the United States "don't offer constricting belts or a one-way road... we will continue to fly and sail wherever international law allows and our interests demand."

Xi's position markedly differed from Pence's speech, during t an APEC summit session.

"History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a Cold War, hot war or trade war will produce no winners," Xi noted.

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