China ready for further US trade talks, envoy says

May 22, 2019 09:24
Beijing's door remains open for resolving the US trade dispute, says Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the United States. Photo: Bloomberg

Beijing is ready to resume trade talks with Washington, China's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday, while blaming the US side for frequently “changing its mind” on tentative deals to end the trade dispute.

“China remains ready to continue our talks with our American colleagues to reach a conclusion. Our door is still open,” Cui Tiankai said in an interview on Fox News Channel, Reuters reports.

No further trade talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended in a stalemate on May 10, the same day US President Donald Trump sharply increased tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods and took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports.

Negotiations between the United States and China have soured dramatically since early May, when Chinese officials sought major changes to the text of a proposed deal that the Trump administration says had been largely agreed.

Asked about this reversal, Cui turned the tables and said it was US negotiators that had abruptly backed away from some previous deals that had been tentatively agreed over the past year.

“It’s quite clear it is the US side that more than once changed its mind overnight and broke the tentative deal already reached.” Cui said. “So we are still committed to whatever we agree to do, but it is the US side that changed its mind so often.”

In June 2018, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on an offer by China to increase its purchases of US goods by around US$70 billion, US officials said at the time.

But US President Donald Trump did not accept the offer, choosing instead to begin imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.

The US is seeking sweeping changes to China’s trade and economic policies, including an end to forced technology transfers and theft of US trade secrets. Washington also wants curbs on subsidies for Chinese state-owned enterprises and increased access to markets.

Cui told Fox News Channel that US restrictions on Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei Technologies announced last week “are without any foundation and evidence” and could undermine the normal functioning of markets.

“Everybody knows Huawei is a privately owned company. It is just a normal Chinese private company,” Cui said. “So all the actions taken against Huawei are politically motivated.”

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