US should seek closer trade ties with China as it battles virus

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/15 18:58:40

US should seek closer ties with Beijing as it battles disease

Chinese and US flags at a booth during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai Photo: VCG

The US, which initiated a trade war with China, ought to take the initiative to forge closer ties with China on the trade front as the world's largest economy is facing rising pressure to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, experts close to the China-US trade talks say.

"There's been some coronavirus rhetoric on the US side that's been hurting China. This, adding to the trade war the US launched, has instilled skepticism into the bilateral relationship," Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times.

China has effectively contained the disease with its economic activity on track to gradually resume full life, Tu said, advising that the US needs to take the initiative to send a positive signal in terms of, for instance, easing some of the trade measures that have been set.

Many places in China outside of Central China's Hubei Province have reported no new confirmed coronavirus cases for multiple days running. In an effort to help contain the pandemic, China has also dispatched medical teams to Italy and Iran, among other countries and regions severely hit by COVID-19.

Calls for more cooperation between the world's top two economies came after US President Donald Trump hinted at the possibility of the phase two trade talks after his national emergency declaration on Friday to help contain the rapid spread of the outbreak across the country.

The US had reported 2,726 confirmed cases by Saturday night with at least 54 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

As part of efforts to combat the disease, the US lately announced plans to waive import tariffs on scores of items imported from China including face masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes.

The Trump administration has appeared to be under intense pressure to effectively beat the disease, but it's by no means the case that the US is in the driver's seat when it comes to the start of the second phase of the trade deal, according to Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who closely follows the trade negotiations.

"If the US tries to coerce China [into compromising on trade,] it can't be ruled out that China might invoke force majeure," Gao told the Global Times on Sunday.

Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, the White House physician said over the weekend. The unruly president was under pressure to be tested after having contact with two Brazilian officials who were later confirmed to have been infected with the virus. 

Newspaper headline: US should seek closer ties with Beijing as it battles disease


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