Business & Economy

China voices optimism about trade talks with US

Beijing, June 3 (EFE).- China Thursday expressed optimism over the prospects of improving trade and economic ties with the United States after the “normal” resumption of negotiations between the two largest economies.

The confidence to end disputes spawning from years of strained ties follows a series of talks between US and Chinese negotiators.

“The two sides agreed that the conversations were professional, frank and constructive. China and the United States have started normal communications in the fields of economy and trade,” commerce ministry spokesperson Gao Feng told reporters here.

Vice Prime Minister Liu He, leading the Chinese negotiators, and US trade representative Katherine Tai spoke over the phone on May 27.

The two spoke over the trade dispute that began in 2018 during the then-President Donald Trump administration.

It was the first meeting between Beijing and Washington to officially address the trade issues since Joe Biden took over from Trump in January.

Six days later, Liu spoke with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Gao said the two sides spoke for about 50 minutes each time with a consensus on seeking common ground while putting aside differences.

He said they agreed that the China-US economic and trade relations were “very important, with many specific fields for cooperation.”

“The two countries raised their respective issues of concern. The Chinese side raised its specific concerns with full consideration of the background and situation of its domestic economic development,” said the spokesperson.

He said the two sides agreed to make joint efforts to solve some “specific problems for producers and consumers in a practical way and promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral economic and trade relations.”

The ties between the two countries began deteriorating in 2018 after they imposed high tariffs on mutual imports.

The relationship between China and the US began to deteriorate in March 2018 with the start of the trade dispute and the subsequent imposition of tariffs by both countries, which later led to diplomatic rows and technology standoffs.

Trump imposed annual tariffs on about $370 billion worth of Chinese goods, roughly two-thirds of all US imports from China.

Beijing retaliated with hiked tariffs on US imports.

In January 2020, the two countries signed a partial trade agreement that they promised to review every six months. But the last time they did so was in August.

The agreement called for China to increase its purchases of US goods by about $200 billion in two years, compared to 2017 levels.

But in 2020, it only reached 58 percent of the annual target, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The US-based research institute pointed out that China had met 73 percent of its import target between January and April.

For its part, the US promised to cut the tariffs imposed on Chinese imports worth $120 billion in half to 7.5 percent.

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