China and the United States have achieved substantial progress following their latest round of trade talks, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen said at a news conference Saturday on the sidelines of the second session of the 13th NPC in Beijing.
Wang said he was optimistic about negotiations with Washington, and that the two sides are working on a deal to eliminate the tariffs imposed on each other during the trade war, as tit-for-tat tariffs are not beneficial for either.
But any trade mechanism achieved must be equal and fair, he added.
The China-U.S. trade dispute was triggered last March by America’s 301 investigations into China’s trade practices and treatment of intellectual property. In July, the two sides started imposing additional tariffs on each other as high as 25 percent on 50-billion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods. The U.S. later imposed an extra 10 percent on 200 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, while China retaliated with 10 percent tariffs on 60 billion dollars in U.S. exports to China. The two countries’ lists covered nearly all categories of the other side’s exports.
December 1 became a turning point when the presidents of both nations met at the G20 summit in Argentina. They reached a “90-day truce” and decided to negotiate during this period, while pausing tariff increases. Since then, the U.S. and China have held another three rounds of negotiations.
Trump tweeted that he will postpone the deadline of the 90-day truce, and won’t increase tariffs during this period.
A new historical high for foreign trade
China will keep foreign trade growth stable in 2019 while improving its quality, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said during the press conference while answering a question from CGTN on U.S.-China trade frictions and China’s foreign trade.
China’s foreign trade rose 9.7 percent year on year to a historic high of 30.5 trillion yuan (4.6 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, the minister said.
China will actively expand imports in 2019, Zhong said, adding that private and public companies both have roles to play in foreign trade.
China’s surplus with the U.S. grew 17 percent from a year ago to hit 323.32 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.
Exports to the United States rose 11.3 percent year on year in 2018, while imports from the U.S. to China rose 0.7 percent during that period.