Anticipated US deal shows improved understanding of China’s principle: observer

By Li Xuanmin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/13 17:28:40

Chinese and US trade officials make attempt at striking a trade deal to defuse an increasingly bruising trade war that has rattled global markets and presented mounting challenges to both economies. Photo: VCG

Although Chinese authorities have not yet released any information on the progress of the trade talks, US media have been full of speculation over a tentative trade deal between the two countries.

Washington's recent positive attitude toward trade talks with China, evident in its reported plan to roll back existing tariffs and cancel those due on December 15, shows it finally understands Beijing's firm stance and principles - a breakthrough for trade talks to press ahead, officials and experts close to the Chinese government said. 

"Judging from various reports, if they are reliable, it seems as though Washington has formed an understanding of China's stance in facilitating the trade talks - the scrapping of tariffs. This is a key step. When Washington knows the cards Beijing holds, it can make an offer that lives up to the hopes of both sides and head toward a common goal," Wei Jianguo, former Chinese vice minister of commerce, told the Global Times on Friday.

"This is truly the right way to make a deal," Wei noted.

If US President Donald Trump decides in the last minute to withdraw the agreement, it could cast a shadow on the possibility of a trade deal, observers warned. 

The US is scheduled to impose tariffs on $160 million of Chinese goods on December 15. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Washington has proposed it would cancel the new levies and slash existing tariffs by half on roughly $360 billion of Chinese goods, in exchange for some concessions from Beijing in the phase-one trade deal.

Wei noted that the reported deal could be a "phased victory" for China, not because of the terms included but because it reflects a shift in the philosophy of US authorities - a departure from their boastful confidence when they initiated trade war. 

"The trade war has taught the US a lesson. They finally realize that engaging in a prolonged trade war will bring no good, and that ending it as soon as possible is their best option," he said. 

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday that trade talks with the US are ongoing. 

Commenting on Western media reports on a possible China-US trade deal, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Friday that trade talks must be based on the principle of equal footing and mutual respect and the deal must be mutually beneficial. 

The bullish stock markets in the US and Europe due to the possibility of a trade deal "show international society's expectations of a trade agreement between China and the US," Hua said, noting that a deal is also in line with the fundamental interests of Chinese and American people.

Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that China will remain calm before authorities publicize any official details. 

"Releasing so-called details about trade deals to gauge China's response is a common tactic from Washington," Gao told the Global Times, warning that the agreement still hangs in limbo and the market should not be too optimistic. 

China has been waiving import tariffs for some soybean and pork imports from the US, according to the MOFCOM. The US Department of Agriculture revealed on Wednesday that Chinese buyers have booked deals to buy 585,000 tons of US soybean, the largest purchase from China since April.  

China's A shares rallied on Friday amid positive prospects for a trade deal with the US. 

Reversing Thursday's decline, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.78 percent higher on Friday, while the Shenzhen Component Index soared 1.71 percent and the blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.98 percent. The Hang Seng Index was up 2.57 percent.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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