China says hopes to reach trade deal with US as soon as possible

December 09, 2019 16:06
China and the United States are negotiating a “phase one” deal aimed at de-escalating their prolonged trade dispute. Photo: Reuters

China said it hopes to make a trade deal with the United States as soon as possible, Reuters reports.

“On the question of China-US trade talks and negotiations, we wish that both sides can, on the foundation of equality and mutual respect, push forward negotiations, and in consideration of each others’ core interests, reach an agreement that satisfies all sides as soon as possible,” Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin told reporters on Monday.

China and the US are negotiating a “phase one” deal aimed at de-escalating their prolonged trade dispute, but it is unclear whether such an agreement can be reached in the near term.

Washington’s next round of tariffs against Chinese goods is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 15.

China has demanded that some of the existing US tariffs imposed on about US$375 billion worth of its exports be removed, in addition to the cancellation of the Dec. 15 tariffs on some US$156 billion of its remaining exports to the US.

US President Donald Trump has demanded that China commit to specific minimum purchases of US agricultural products, among other concessions on intellectual property rights, currency and access to China’s financial services markets.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday that the two sides had talked almost daily, but there were currently no plans for face-to-face talks or a signing ceremony between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

With less than a week to go before the deadline amid “intense” negotiations, Kudlow said Trump would make the final decision on the tariffs, which would hit Chinese-made cellphones, laptop computers, toys and clothing.

“We’ll have to see, but right now we’re moving along,” Trump said last week. “On December 15th, something could happen, but we are not discussing that yet. We are having very good discussions with China, however.”

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