China should target U.S. soybeans, former finance minister says

Beijing | Reuters –– The response by China’s commerce ministry to the latest U.S trade measures is too weak, and should target U.S. soybeans, former Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei said on Saturday.

The commerce ministry on Friday unveiled a plan to levy additional duties on up to US$3 billion of U.S. imports including fruit and wine, in response to U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“I think the measures taken by China’s commerce ministry are relatively weak,” said Lou, currently chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF).

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“If I were in the government, I would probably hit soybeans first, then hit autos and airplanes. We cannot let other people profit at our expense.”

Lou was speaking at the annual China Development Forum in Beijing.

However, Lou also said a trade war is not good for either side.

“It’s like killing 1,000 enemies and losing 800 of our own people,” he told reporters separately on the sidelines of the forum.

“We should try to resolve the problem.”

— Reporting for Reuters by Kevin Yao; writing by Ryan Woo.

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