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China’s premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

(AP) – China’s No. 2 leader has appealed for global support for free trade following tit-for-tat U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes in an escalating battle over Beijing’s technology policy.

Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday in a speech to a business conference that disputes must be worked out through consultation.

China announced a tariff hike on $60 billion of American imports on Tuesday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the eastern city of Tianjin, Li said, “it is essential that we uphold the basic principles of multilateralism and free trade.”

Li said disputes “need to be worked out through consultation. No unilateralism will offer a viable solution.”

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