WASHINGTON -- China is pushing back against President-elect Donald Trump's threat to use sanctions to win back a competitive trade advantage for the United States.

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to act on his first day in the White House to slap 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese products and label China a "currency manipulator."

But Zhang Xiangchen, China's deputy trade representative, warned Wednesday that Trump will find that he is bound by the rules of the World Trade Organization, which restrain countries from imposing trade sanctions without making a persuasive case for them.

Speaking at the end of annual U.S.-China trade talks, Zhang also disputed the idea that China keeps its currency artificially low to give its exporters a price advantage. Many economists agree that China no longer manipulates its currency.