Senior Chinese officials have unsuccessfully pressed the European Union to launch a joint challenge to the trade policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, Reuters reported, citing EU officials as sources.
The report said Chinese officials including Vice Premier Liu He and Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi, in various meetings with EU officials, suggested a joint move against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization.
China is also pressuring the EU to issue a joint statement opposing U.S. trade policies at a Sino-European summit in Beijing later this month, according to the report.
However, EU officials and diplomats said the bloc has rejected the proposed alliance with China, and that the two sides are expected to release only a modest summit statement affirming commitments to the multilateral trading system.
"China wants the European Union to stand with Beijing against Washington, to take sides," Reuters quoted a European diplomat as saying. "We won't do it and we have told them that."
The U.S. has imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to respond with 25% tariffs on 545 U.S. products, set to go into effect July 6. The Trump administration has also threatened to impose additional tariffs on up to another $400 billion of Chinese imports in case China retaliates.
Meanwhile, the European Commission applied tariffs on €2.8 billion of U.S. goods on June 22 in response to Washington's levies on steel and aluminum products from the EU.
The European Commission has also said that the EU and major economies could target as much as $294 billion worth of U.S. exports with tariffs if Trump goes ahead with his threat to impose levies on European-made cars.