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Experts say trade talks can rebuild 2-way trust

(China Daily)    07:47, September 23, 2019

Talks: US said to be sending positive signals on next round

The United States and China can resolve their disagreements by rebuilding trust and avoiding the harm to trade brought by tariffs, experts and business leaders said after the two countries concluded two days of talks in Washington on Friday.

Talks between Vice-Minister of Finance Liao Min and US officials ended on a good note, as discussion on both sides was "constructive", according to a statement by the Ministry of Commerce on Saturday.

Officials from both sides also discussed arrangements for further talks in Washington in October, the 13th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations, the statement said.

Rebuilding trust and eliminating negative factors are helpful in removing tariffs, stimulating the flow of foreign direct investment, saving consumers' money and enhancing the power of international institutions, including the World Trade Organization, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges in Beijing.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based think tank, said that both sides must be aware that reaching an agreement is only the beginning of the process.

The two sides must continue to seek pragmatic solutions to end the prolonged dispute, Wang said.

Patrick Zhao, senior vice-president for Asia Pacific of BASF Coatings Solutions, said that for a global company like BASF, which has integrated global value chains, minimizing the impact of trade barriers and tariffs is essential to operations. The company and its customers benefit from free trade, since any kind of tariff represents an indirect tax, he said.

"We are therefore concerned about the recent US announcements, and the response of several US trading partners, including China, to impose import tariffs on a wide range of products that could affect the chemical industry and its numerous customer industries, including the automotive industry," Zhao said.

He said BASF believes deeply in the value of open markets and a rules-based global order. The company hopes governments will eventually resolve trade differences via sustained multilateral dialogue and within the boundaries of WTO rules, he said.

According to analysts, the US was sending positive signals about the next round of consultations. For example, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced on Tuesday that it would temporarily exempt 437 categories of Chinese products from tariffs that the US government imposed in 2018. The announcement came after companies and other entities submitted more than 1,100 requests for relief.

Yin Zheng, executive vice-president of Schneider Electric SA, said globalization is a positive economic trend that brings new opportunities everywhere in the world and improves cross-border partnerships.

Wang Yiwei, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said it's possible for China and the US to reach a temporary bilateral agreement during the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in November in Chile if they can make breakthroughs in the coming high-level talks.

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

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