Beijing and Washington could reach a trade deal that “we can live with”, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday as dozens of officials from the world’s two largest economies resumed talks in a bid to end their trade dispute.
“I think there’s a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement that China can live with, that we can live with and that addresses all of the key issues,” Ross said in an interview with CNBC, Reuters reports.
Immediate trade issues will be easiest to tackle while enforcement issues and structural reforms, such as intellectual property rights and market access, will be more challenging to resolve, the US official said.
The comments came as Chinese officials met their US counterparts in Beijing for the first face-to-face talks since US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets.
After the first day of talks wrapped up on Monday, Chinese importers made their third large purchase of US soybeans in the past month, according to Reuters.
Trump said on Sunday that trade talks with China were going very well and that weakness in the Chinese economy gave Beijing a reason to work towards a deal.
Ross told CNBC that talks were being held with appropriate-level staff and would help determine how the administration moves forward.
The two sides agreed to hold “positive and constructive” dialogue to resolve economic and trade disputes in accordance with the consensus reached by their respective leaders, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
“From the beginning we have believed that China-US trade friction is not a positive situation for either country or the world economy. China has the good faith, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, to resolve the bilateral trade frictions,” the spokesman told a regular news briefing.
Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods last year and has threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property to hacking. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own.
Few details emerged of the trade talks, which are scheduled to run through Tuesday.
Although the talks were held at a vice-ministerial level, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who has led trade negotiations with the United States and is a top economic adviser to Xi, made an unexpected appearance at the meetings on Monday, Reuters cited a source as saying.
The American delegation includes under-secretaries from the US departments of agriculture, commerce, energy and treasury, as well as senior officials from the White House.
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