Respect and cooperation: China, US make progress in trade talks

China’s vice foreign minister says China doesn’t want to ‘take anything from anyone else’.

US China trade war (flags)
Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng says China and the US can resolve their disagreements 'as long as we respect each other' [File: Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

China and the United States have achieved some progress in their trade talks, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said on Tuesday, and any problem could be resolved as long as both sides respected each other.

No country can prosper without working with other nations, Le said at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, which China styles as its answer to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

The world wants China and the US to end their trade war, he said. That would require openness rather than a “de-coupling” of countries or a new Cold War.

China has been nervous that the US is seeking to sever, or at least severely curb, economic ties in what has been called a “de-coupling”. Beijing fears that the Trump administration wants a complete separation with China.

The two countries have been working to resolve their trade dispute, with the US announcing a “phase 1” deal with China on trade matters and suspending a scheduled tariff increase for October.

“As long as we respect each other and seek equal cooperation, there are no disagreements that cannot be resolved between China and the United States,” Le said.

“What China wants is to deliver a better life for the Chinese people. We don’t want to take anything from anyone else. There’s no such thing as China replacing anyone or threatening anyone,” he said.

China and the US have accomplished much through cooperation over the years, Le said. “Why would we toss away the achievements of such cooperation?” 

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said efforts to end the trade war were going well.

Trump said last week he hopes that the first phase of a trade deal announced earlier in October will be signed by the middle of November.

“The deal with China’s coming along very well. They want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters before a US Cabinet meeting, stressing the toll that US tariffs have taken on the Chinese economy. “They sort of have to make a deal,” he added, “because their supply chain is going down the tubes.”

Earlier this month, the administration delayed raising tariffs on another $250bn of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent.

Tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by the US and China over the past 15 months have sent financial markets roiling and resulted in a sharp drag on global economic growth.

Pressure is mounting from the international community for the two powers to work out their differences.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund forecast that fallout from the US-China trade war – and other trade disputes across the world – will slow global growth in 2019 to three percent, the slowest pace in a decade.

Source: Reuters