Vice-premier, US officials discuss trade

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Vice-Premier Liu He spoke with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by phone on Thursday evening, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Friday.

They exchanged views on implementation of the recent consensus reached by the two countries' heads of state in Osaka, Japan. Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan also joined the conversation, according to the statement.

Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, leads the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue.

This is the second call between the two sides since the G20 Summit concluded in Japan in late June, during which time both China and the US agreed to restart economic and trade consultations based on equality and mutual respect.

Analysts said the complexities of domestic circumstances in the US will bring uncertainties for reaching an agreement, and Washington should be more sincere and work with China in a responsible manner in their economic and trade talks.

Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of the Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the US keeps arguing that it needs a better deal, but so does China. Therefore, they need to aim at reaching a fair agreement in the next round of negotiations that can help with the economic growth of both countries.

"There will never be an agreement where the US is the sole winner; the agreement must be mutually beneficial," Zhang said, adding that for China, the most important thing is to focus on its own development, deepening reform and opening-up and creating more jobs while joining hands with other countries to build an open global economy.

The US should have realized China's resilience in coping with challenges, such as increased tariffs and technology barriers, as well as the country's determination and resolve reflected by its refusal to yield to pressure over the previous rounds of talks, said Zhang Yunling, director of international studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

"China today is supported by its policy adjustment capacity, modern industrial system and vibrant domestic consumption," he said, adding that the country's economy was largely stable in the first half of this year, in particular in terms of foreign trade and domestic demand amid slower global economic growth and weak expansion of international trade.

Trade disputes with China have affected some US industries.

Michael Tate, chairman of the National Cotton Council — a trade organization in the US — said the cotton industry in the US hopes Sino-US trade disputes will be resolved as soon as possible to minimize the impact on the cotton export market.

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