In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, an employee of Hyundai Motor Co. waits for customers at the company’s showroom in Seoul, South Korea. Hyundai Motor Co.’s labor union said Thursday, July 12, 2018, steep auto tariffs that the U.S. is considering could cost tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

China says US companies should lobby Washington over trade

BEIJING — China tried to step up pressure on Washington in their growing tariff war Thursday by suggesting U.S. companies lobby American leaders, while a Korean union warned President Donald Trump’s threat of higher auto import duties could lead to job losses in Alabama.

Beijing and Washington have yet to resume negotiations over the dispute that led to tariff hikes each other’s goods last week, said a spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

“We hope American companies do more to lobby the U.S. government and work hard to safeguard their own interests,” said Gao Feng at a news conference.

While some U.S. companies and lawmakers have criticized Trump’s tactics, Gao’s statement was an unusually direct attempt to rouse domestic American opposition. Beijing frequently rejects foreign comments about its own policies as improper interference in its affairs.

Gao gave no details. His remark about lobbying was missing from an official transcript on the ministry’s website, suggesting officials recognized its potential sensitivity.

The Trump administration imposed a 25 per cent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese goods Friday in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing responded by imposing similar duties on the same amount of imports from the United States.

Washington announced a second possible round of tariff hikes Tuesday targeting a wider range of $200 billion of goods. Beijing vowed “firm and forceful measures” in response, but China’s lopsided trade balance means it cannot match the full scale of American tariff hikes. That has prompted concern regulators might expand retaliation to trying to hamper operations of American companies in China.

Chinese leaders have tried to deflect criticism by pointing to the benefits of trading with the world’s second-largest economy, a theme Gao repeated Thursday. He noted Tesla Inc.’s announcement this week of plans to build a factory in Shanghai.

China has a “great potential consumer market that is steadily more open,” said Gao. “We will continue to improve the business environment and protect the legitimate rights of foreign companies in China.”

As for negotiations, he said, “the two sides have not been in touch about re-starting talks.”

Meanwhile, the labour union for Hyundai Motor Co. warned a downturn in U.S. auto imports due to Trump’s threatened tariffs could force the company to curtail work at its Alabama factory opened in 2005.

The Department of Commerce is investigating whether auto imports from Europe, South Korea, Japan and other U.S. allies pose a threat to national security and should be limited.

The union said in the event of a downturn, its contract requires Hyundai to idle factories abroad before those in South Korea.

The Alabama factory “could be the first one to be shut down, putting some 20,000 American workers at risk of layoffs,” said a union statement.

A group representing global automakers warned last month Trump’s tariff plans could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“The cumulative tariffs that both countries are beginning to implement will harm each other’s economies and jobs,” said John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business in China, in a statement.

Frisbie called for the two governments to “stop the needless escalation of a tariff war and start working on solutions” to complaints about Chinese technology policies.

Also this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited Beijing on a mission to try to lock in a $1.3 billion deal for a Chinese company to assemble rail cars in his city.

Emanuel met with Vice-President Wang Qishan, China’s commerce minister and executives of the Chinese railway manufacturer. The mayor said he was committed to the project but gave no indication whether the Chinese company had given him reassurances about its status.

“They wanted to communicate, obviously, that this is not their preference,” Emanuel told The Associated Press on Thursday. “They would rather work something out, but they’re not scared if this is where it goes.”

Just Posted

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

EDMONTON — Twelve people, including 11 children, were taken to hospital Thursday… Continue reading

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — A fire-threatened town in northern Alberta says a… Continue reading

Crime prevention barbecue on Friday in Innisfail

Barbecue runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Central Alberta Co-op parking lot

India’s ruling party claims win with assured lead in votes

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party claimed it had… Continue reading

China says door open to trade talks, but slams tech controls

BEIJING — China held the door open to resuming talks in the… Continue reading

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Canadian ‘Aladdin’ star eyes diverse career championing homegrown talent

TORONTO — Canadian “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud says his wild carpet ride… Continue reading

Speech from the throne: Read the entire text outlining UCP priorities

The following is the speech from the throne, read Wednesday in the… Continue reading

Canada’s Rebecca Marino drops second-round French Open qualifying match

PARIS — Canada’s Rebecca Marino fell just short in a second-round qualifying… Continue reading

Acclaimed writer Casey Plett wins $60K First Novel Award for ‘Little Fish’

TORONTO — Casey Plett has won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award… Continue reading

Nik Wallenda and sister plan highwire walk over Times Square

NEW YORK — For his next trick, daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to… Continue reading

Gardening: Adding a new dimension with water

A water feature, large or small, adds a whole new dimension to… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech promises changes to expand economy, end carbon tax

EDMONTON — The new Alberta government has set its first legislature sitting… Continue reading

Most Read