Putin Criticizes U.S. Trade Wars as 'Bullying'

The Russian president called U.S. policy 'ultimate fighting' during a meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping

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Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 14, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 14, 2019.Credit: Alexei Druzhinin,AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of "ultimate fighting" in light of the numerous "trade wars" being fought internationally. 

"Unfortunately, trade wars are raging across the world," Putin said on Saturday in the Central Asian ex-Soviet republic of Tajikistan, according to the Kremlin. "Ultimate fighting is ongoing, which involves bullying and attempts to eliminate competitors through non-market methods." 

Putin was speaking at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. 

>> Read more: Europe, then China. Now, Israel is the new front in Trump’s trade wars

"Today, our collective efforts to find a way out of the situation are important like never before," Putin said. Russia was not only accusing the US of illegal sanctions against its own economy, but Putin also repeatedly criticized the U.S. "trade war" with China. 

For the third time this month, he also met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who celebrated his 66th birthday in Dushanbe on Saturday. Putin surprised Xi - as he has often done in the past - with an entire box of Russian ice cream as a gift. The two men toasted with sparkling wine.

This week, the U.S. Senate criticized Israel over its deepening economic ties with China, promoting a bill that expresses "serious security concerns" about a contract letting a Chinese company operate a port in Haifa. 

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump took steps to penalize the makers of steel, aluminum and electrical products in the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Next he imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese imports. And in March, he ended preferential trade status to Turkey and India.

In the early days of his administration, Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which encompassed the countries of Asia and the Pacific Rim, and pulled out of talks with the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.