Forward steps in trade talks raise hopes

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, October 15, 2019
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Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The preliminary agreement reached between China and the United States in the latest trade consultations is "encouraging" and will pave the way for both sides to end the long-running dispute, experts and business leaders said.

A partial deal, if signed, doesn't mean the trade row has been settled, enhanced efforts will be needed to address potential challenges, they said.

Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators made what was characterized as substantial progress in several fields, including agriculture and intellectual property protection, following two days of intensive talks in Washington.

"With our teams making progress on some parts of the agreement under consultation, it is important we address each other's concerns properly and make positive headway in other areas as well," President Xi Jinping said in a message to his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump.

Trump, in an Oval Office meeting with Vice-Premier Liu He, said: "We very much agree that to get the China-U.S. economic relationship right, it's something that is good for China, the U.S. and the whole world, and we are making a lot of progress toward a positive direction."

Trump, asked by China Daily after the meeting with Liu if he would put a stop to the seemingly expanding U.S. blacklist of Chinese companies, said: "We will be looking at the blacklist, and we'll be making a determination as to which companies would be on that list."

Li Yong, deputy director of the China Association of International Trade Expert Committee, said the outcome of the latest round of high-level talks has once again proved that "there is no winner in the trade war, and cooperation is the only way out".

Li said the two sides have adopted a pragmatic and rational attitude, and their consensus in some areas will help them during follow-up talks.

The U.S.-China Business Council said it is pleased that the U.S. and China reached "a tentative phase-one trade agreement" on Friday, accompanied by a suspension of the prospective U.S. tariff increase that had been set for Tuesday.

"This is an encouraging first phase," USCBC President Craig Allen said. "We await word on how implementation will be measured and in what time frame, as well as details on scheduling subsequent phases."

Zang Yueru, an analyst at the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research, a think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the substantial progress made in this round of consultations can mitigate confrontation and inject momentum into global growth.

"However, work needs to be continued toward sealing a final agreement, and the deal needs to be comprehensive," Zang said. "It is critical for the two countries" not to be tempted to push too far.

"The previous changes and experience prove that there will always be differences of opinion."

Both countries must show their willingness to get a positive result, including removal of all the tariffs levied on each other over the past 17 months, to build a better foundation for future talks, Zang said.

Jackson Lee, country head of Fidelity International China, a global asset manager, said the company has been closely monitoring the development of trade frictions between China and the U.S. He said the company's long-term investment philosophy and approach remain unchanged: to find growth opportunities for clients based on active, bottom-up research.

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