Easing tension sets stage for resumed talks
Beijing, Washington exchange goodwill gestures ahead of trade negotiations
Chinese and United States' teams will soon meet to prepare the continuation of high-level trade talks, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday, as both countries have taken steps to deescalate the tensions.
Speaking at a weekly briefing, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China and US negotiators have maintained "effective" communication. The two teams will meet in the near future, negotiate and fully prepare for the next round of high-level consultations, he said.
The next face-to-face, high-level talks, the 13th round, are scheduled to take place next month in Washington. Gao said the two sides have been in touch to discuss the arrangements.
The US administration announced on Wednesday a two-week postponement of planned 5 percent tariff hikes on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, which would now come on Oct 15.
Gao said China welcomes the delay as a goodwill gesture.
Chinese companies have started inquiring about the prices of US agricultural products, including soybeans and pork, he said. Beijing had halted imports of US farm-product imports in August after trade negotiations deteriorated.
Gao said China hopes the two countries will meet each other halfway, take concrete actions, and create favorable conditions for future trade talks.
On Wednesday, China announced that 16 US items in two lists would be excluded from additional tariffs up to Sept 16 of next year. Gao said more products for tariff exclusion would be announced at an appropriate time.
Following the tit-for-tat tariff exchanges between the two countries, experts have been calling on both governments to get back to the negotiating table and ease the trade tensions.
Gu Xueming, head of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said China and the US need to bridge their differences, as cooperation is the only right choice.
Both countries should negotiate on a basis of mutual benefit and respect, and should strive for a deal acceptable to both sides, Gu said.
Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank, said there are economic and trade disputes between China and the US, but they cannot be resolved by increasing tariffs.
Right now, entrepreneurs need to cooperate on some projects and use such practical actions to express their hope for Sino-US relations getting back on the right track, Wei, a former vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Wei said he is optimistic about the next stage of China-US economic and trade relations and that there has been no massive wave of foreign capital withdrawal from China.
Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland amounted to 604.04 billion yuan ($84.89 billion) from January through August, a 6.9 percent year-on-year increase, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday. In August alone, FDI rose 3.6 percent yearonyear to 70.89 billion yuan, it said.