The United States does not intend to send senior government officials to attend an important import fair in Shanghai next month, calling on Beijing to refrain from what it described as harmful and unfair trade practices, a spokesman for the US embassy in China said Wednesday.
The tariff dispute between the world's two largest economies is escalating as US President Donald Trump slammed China over the theft of intellectual property rights, the obstacles faced by US firms to enter the market and the worsening US trade deficit.
The China International Import Fair will be held from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10, with thousands of Chinese and foreign companies participating to boost imports and ease foreign concerns about China's business practices and show willingness to narrow trade gaps.
The spokesman said by telephone from Beijing that the United States does not intend to participate with a high-level government delegation.
"We encourage China to achieve equality for US goods and services," he said. "China needs to make the necessary reforms to end its unfair trade practices that are hurting the global economy."
China's return to economic reform and serious adherence to market-based rules of investment and trade would not only benefit the United States but ultimately benefit China, he said.
He declined to give a specific reason for the US decision.
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the import fair in early 2017 and is expected to address the opening. Critics of the exhibition, which Beijing plans to turn into an annual event, call it propaganda. Many countries hail national pavilions to showcase products at the exhibition, which is held in a huge conference hall in Shanghai.