Talks calm trade cli­mate for Bei­jing, Wash­ing­ton

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHONG NAN and JING SHUIYU Con­tact the writ­ers at zhong­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

The lat­est round of vice-min­is­te­rial level trade talks be­tween China and the United States, which con­cluded on Wednesday, have laid a foun­da­tion for ad­dress­ing each other’s con­cerns, the Min­istry of Com­merce said on Thursday.

Both sides have ac­tively im­ple­mented the sig­nif­i­cant con­sen­sus reached by their heads of state and con­ducted ex­ten­sive, in-depth and de­tailed ex­changes on trade and struc­tural is­sues of com­mon con­cern, Gao Feng, the min­istry’s spokesman, said at a news brief­ing on Thursday.

The meet­ings be­tween China and the US be­gan on Mon­day in Bei­jing.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the min­istry on Thursday morn­ing, the two sides im­proved mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.

Both sides agreed to con­tinue to keep in close con­tact, the state­ment said.

On Dec 1, the top lead­ers of China and the US met on the side­lines of the G20 Lead­ers’ Sum­mit in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina. They agreed to con­tinue ne­go­ti­a­tions, sus­pend the im­po­si­tion of new tar­iffs and ex­change vis­its at an ap­pro­pri­ate time.

The US del­e­ga­tion was led by US Deputy Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jeffrey Ger­rish.

Craig Allen, pres­i­dent of the US-China Busi­ness Coun­cil, said he was pleased that the two govern­ments have had sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sions over the past three days and looked for­ward to hear­ing de­tails about the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Any agree­ment be­tween the govern­ments should in­clude pos­i­tive in­cen­tives, such as a mech­a­nism for re­mov­ing tar­iff hikes the two coun­tries have im­posed on each other, as progress is made in the talks, Allen said.

He said re­moval of those tar­iffs should be a pri­or­ity to ad­dress the dam­age that has been done to US com­pa­nies that de­pend on trade with China and to the US econ­omy as a whole. The coun­cil will con­tinue to work with both govern­ments to en­cour­age that re­sult, he said.

China has al­ready shown its de­ter­mi­na­tion to put its for­eign trade on a firmer foot­ing, said Wei Jian­guo, vi­cepres­i­dent of the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes. The coun­try also has in­creased moves to ac­cel­er­ate the pace of its re­form and open­ing-up, es­pe­cially to fur­ther safe­guard in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, ex­pand mar­ket ac­cess, in­crease im­ports from the US and make the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment even more trans­par­ent and fairer, Wei said.

“These moves are not only to re­spond to con­cerns from the US but also to re­al­ize the po­ten­tial of high­level open­ing-up to the rest of the world,” he said. “China has al­ways adopted an open stance to­ward solv­ing trade dis­putes with the US. It has shown its sin­cer­ity in set­tling dis­putes through con­crete mea­sures.”

Trade vol­ume be­tween China and the US amounted to $582.8 bil­lion be­tween Jan­uary and Novem­ber last year, up 10.9 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

To fur­ther im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, China has al­ready re­moved the im­port li­cense re­quire­ment for 118 prod­ucts and 29 prod­uct re­stric­tions on im­ports, said Song Xian­mao, deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the For­eign Trade Depart­ment at the Min­istry of Com­merce. It also has sus­pended ex­port quo­tas for phos­pho­rus ore and sil­ver start­ing Jan 1, he said.

China’s im­ports are ex­pected to ex­ceed $2 tril­lion in 2018, which would be a record, Song said.

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