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'Important progress' made in trade talks with US

(China Daily)    14:57, February 02, 2019

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (2ndR) speaks across from China's Vice-Premier Liu He (L) during the opening of US-China Trade Talks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, US, January 30, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Important progress made during the latest round of China-US trade talks paves the way for a complete solution in next-step negotiations, officials, business leaders and analysts said.

They also said China has been opening up its economy to the world, offering ample opportunities for global investors.

They made the comments after the wrap-up of the latest round of talks between China and the United States in Washington on Thursday, in which the two sides had specific and constructive discussions covering such topics as trade balance, technology transfers, protection of intellectual property rights and non-tariff barriers, according to the Chinese delegation.

"Important progress has been achieved in the current stage, and the two sides had candid, specific and constructive discussions," the Chinese delegation said in Washington on Thursday.

Vice-Premier Liu He met with US President Donald Trump, who confirmed that a US trade delegation will visit China in mid-February for further consultations, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The US delegation is to be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, it added.

The two-day talks that started on Wednesday morning in Washington were led by Liu and Lighthizer, with the participation of dozens of senior officials from both governments.

During the talks, the two sides also determined the timetable and road map for next-step consultations. They attached great importance to the issue of IPR protection and technology transfers, and have agreed to further enhance cooperation in this regard.

"We understand that this week's discussions covered familiar ground on structural issues and look forward to hearing details about any progress that was made," said Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council.

The Washington-based council has urged both governments to use this month to address their unresolved issues, he said in a statement.

The Chinese delegation said that creating a market environment of fair competition is in line with the general direction of China's reform and opening-up, and therefore China will actively address relevant US concerns.

The two countries have agreed to take effective measures to promote the more balanced development of bilateral trade. China will make active efforts to expand imports from the US in agriculture, energy, manufacturing and services, which will help the country's pursuit of high-quality economic development and meet the people's demand for a better life, the Chinese delegation said.

It's clear that changes to the bilateral commercial relationship are underway, but because the issues are complex, it will take hard work and considerable time to resolve them, Allen said.

Robert Aspell, president for Asia-Pacific of the US agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc, said the best way to solve trade issues is to talk to each other, communicating to find solutions.

"A large number of global companies have invested in China; it is a clear signal that China is going to further open its markets, and many opportunities can be found in different sectors across the country," he said.

Experts said the new progress, reached by collaborative efforts from both sides, can improve the outlook for both the US and Chinese economies and benefit the global economy and supply chain in 2019.

The Chinese and US economies are so inextricably intertwined that a blow to one would most likely make a dent in the other, too, said Bai Ming, deputy director at the International Market Institute of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

This interdependence would exact far-reaching damage on the optimal resource allocation of both countries if trade tensions escalated, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for Economic Exchanges. "The US needs Chinese goods as much as China needs equipment and agricultural products from the US," she said.

Jing Shuiyu and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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

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