May 29, 2023

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Chinese commerce minister’s visit to US brightens trade outlook, but ‘result depends on US honesty’

Sino-US relations. Artwork: Liu Rui/GT

Trade leaders from China and the United States are resuming contact, with China’s commerce minister due to meet his U.S. counterpart and top trade officials in Washington next week, the latest sign that the world’s two largest economies are trying to return to a normal trade path.

However, Chinese experts are urging the US to ‘stand tall and look further’ as the US agreed to trade terms on the island of Taiwan on the same day, casting a shadow over trade talks. Chinese experts said the ability of China-US meetings to yield concrete results depends on the sincerity of the United States.

At the Chinese embassy in Washington, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao will meet with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington and US Trade Representative Catherine Tait at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting in Detroit, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said Beijing was open to engaging with the United States at all levels, but only on the basis of mutual respect, according to Reuters.

The offline meeting showed that contacts between the trade commissioners of the two countries have led to consensus in some specific areas and will bring more confidence to the market, said Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. It’s Friday.

Now, some voices in the US are saying that the additional tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration violate US laws and put bilateral trade under pressure. “If there are results in terms of tariffs this time, it will be a positive sign for trade between the two countries,” Gao said.

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However, the US and Taiwan agreed on Thursday to the so-called first step of a bilateral trade initiative, less than a year after negotiations began.

The original agreement said it would streamline customs procedures, reduce waiting times for trucks and ships, and improve regulations.

Although China and the United States have a certain degree of willingness to strengthen their cooperation, the tactics played by US departments regarding trade with the island of Taiwan fully expose the internal contradictions of US policy towards China, Gao said.

China’s Foreign Ministry also expressed displeasure over the issue and urged the US not to use the name of economy and trade to send wrong signals to separatist “Taiwan independence” forces.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday that the US actions gravely violated the provisions of the One China Policy and three US-China joint statements, and violated the US commitment to maintain only unofficial relations with Taiwan.

Recently, Washington expressed willingness to hold high-level talks with China.

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met with US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan on May 11, and the two sides discussed removing obstacles and stabilizing Sino-US relations. relationships. , according to Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns in Beijing on May 8, saying that stabilizing Sino-US relations, avoiding a downward spiral and preventing accidents between the two great countries are top priorities.

Blinken, Raimondo and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have expressed interest in visiting China, Reuters reported.

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He Weiwen, a former economic and trade counselor at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, told China Direct on Friday that after the balloon incident in February this year, China and the US must gradually restore communication. York.

The meetings next week are expected to focus on managing differences, reducing errors of judgment and seeking possible cooperation, with both sides hoping to discuss issues such as US tariffs and restrictions on high-tech areas in China.

“Trade cooperation has always been the cornerstone of China-US relations,” he said. Although the US government maintained a Cold War attitude in its China policy, US businessmen did not want to “cut off” from China. He added that China and the US still have room to strengthen cooperation in fields such as medicine and new energy.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade in the first quarter of this year was US$161.59 billion, down 13.1 percent year-on-year.

As Washington continues to try to persuade its allies to join its containment strategy against China through platforms such as the summit, it is unclear to what extent Sino-US communication channels can be fully restored between senior officials, some experts said. Taiwan has yet to show firm sincerity in ending its provocation on the issue. All this prompts observers to be cautious when making predictions about the resumption of Sino-US relations.

Apart from the meeting between senior trade officials, whether the two defense chiefs will meet at the Shangri-La talks next month will be key to watch for the next phase of development in bilateral ties, analysts said.

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