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Trade consultations make positive, concrete progress: statement

(Global Times)    09:51, June 04, 2018

China and the US delegations made specific progress on Sunday in sectors including agriculture and energy, and toward implementation of their previously agreed consensus in Washington.

Details will be confirmed later by both sides as the delegations concluded a third round of trade talks in Beijing on Sunday following Washington two weeks ago and Beijing in early May.

Led by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the US delegates met for two days with the Chinese side led by Vice Premier Liu He.

"To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details have yet to be confirmed by both sides," the statement said.

All the economic and trade achievements negotiated by the two parties will not take effect if the US still goes ahead and introduces tariffs, according to a statement released by the Chinese side on Sunday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"All the trade achievements between China and the US should be on the premise that the two countries will not launch a trade war," the China statement said.

China's bottom line was to avoid a trade war and it was also the precondition for realizing the achievements of trade talks, Bai Ming, deputy director of the Beijing-based international market research institute at the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"China's statement is targeting Trump's capricious attitude toward bilateral trade disputes, which has aroused much concern," Bai said.

The US will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of goods from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the Made in China 2025 program, according to a statement issued by the US government on May 29 just before Ross' China journey.

The final list of imports will be announced by June 15, the statement said.

Separately, by June 30, the US will issue its proposed restrictions on investment related to Chinese institutions and companies seeking to acquire American technology, the White House said.

The weekend talks may have marked a step forward, but the face-off, contrary to the Washington consensus reached on May 15-19, shows there is a way to go for both nations, Bai said.

Both sides communicated well on the implementation of the Washington consensus when Liu led a delegation to Washington for economic and trade consultations with the US side, Xinhua reported.

During the Washington talks, China and the US issued a joint statement on May 19, vowing not to launch a trade war against each other.

According to the statement released on Sunday, China agreed to increase imports from other countries, including the US, so as to meet the consumption needs of the Chinese people and propel high-quality economic development.

Consensus was most likely to be reached first in agriculture and energy, Bai said, as China, the world's largest consumption market, relies on imports in these sectors. The US is aiming for a $375 billion reduction in its trade deficit with China.

China was sticking to its development path by expanding domestic demand, increasing imports and attaching importance to trade negotiations with the world's largest economy, said Huo Jianguo, a senior research fellow at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing.

But risks and challenges remain for China, Huo told the Global Times on Sunday. "For example, the US side might not repeal the announced tariff and investment restriction plan when Ross returns to the country or it might pursue more offers from China."

That was why no concrete agreement was disclosed when the Beijing talks concluded Sunday, Huo believed.

"The US has time to consider whether to accept the negotiation results, but Ross seems satisfied with the result, revealing a positive attitude," Huo said.

The meetings so far "have been friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items," Reuters quoted Ross as saying on Sunday.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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