Chicago mayor meets Chinese VP amid trade dispute

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Beijing, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Emanuel, on a mission to salvage business deals threatened by a tariff war, says Chinese officials expressed confidence during his visit to Beijing that they can survive the spiraling dispute with Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Beijing, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Emanuel, on a mission to salvage business deals threatened by a tariff war, says Chinese officials expressed confidence during his visit to Beijing that they can survive the spiraling dispute with Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Beijing, Thursday, July 12, 2018. Emanuel, on a mission to salvage business deals threatened by a tariff war, says Chinese officials expressed confidence during his visit to Beijing that they can survive the spiraling dispute with Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on a mission to salvage business deals threatened by a tariff war, said Thursday that Chinese officials expressed confidence they can survive the spiraling dispute with Washington.

The mayor met with Vice President Wang Qishan and China's commerce minister this week in an effort to lock in a $1.3 billion deal for a Chinese company to assemble rail cars in Chicago.

The foreign ministry said Wednesday that China will take "firm and forceful measures" if President Donald Trump goes ahead with a second round of tariff hikes on Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing's technology policy.

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

After meeting with executives from the Chinese railway car manufacturer, Emanuel said he is committed to completing the project. The factory construction will soon be finished and employees from Chicago are due to arrive in China for training, he said.

The U.S.-Chinese conflict has rattled businesses that worry trade and investment might be disrupted.

The Democratic mayor said he hopes to "hermetically seal" off Chicago, a city of 3 million people, from the impact of the dispute, in which the two nations' governments have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods.

The railway venture is expected to create more than 200 jobs, and cargo from China also contributes to Chicago airport revenues.

"We don't want our relationships to be influenced by the winds of where the trade and tariff battles are," Emanuel said.

Emanuel said he had not initially expected to meet with Wang, an adviser of Chinese President Xi Jinping who is believed to have an outsize influence on foreign policy.

On Friday, Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products. Beijing responded by imposing similar duties on the same amount of U.S. imports.

Must Read

US, Russia close on Syria deal, but Obama says not there yet

Sep 4, 2016

President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are working "around the clock" to try to...

Asian stocks drift as Fed rate outlook eases on service data

Sep 7, 2016

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday after a weak report on U.S. service companies reinforced...

Asian stocks mixed on stronger China trade, Nasdaq gain

Sep 8, 2016

Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after China reported unexpectedly strong trade and Wall...

Winds may finally clear 'scary' pollution from China's skies

Dec 21, 2016

The dense smog that has smothered much of China for five days may soon clear, giving relief to...

Global markets mixed after Wall Street loss

Dec 23, 2016

Asian markets are mostly lower while Europe has gained in early trading ahead of the Christmas...