Biden administration asked to dialogue with China to improve relations: former official
Published: Jan 26, 2021 04:34 PM

soybean Photo:Xinhua

China and the US should resume and improve their mechanism of communications to build up mutual trust as the Biden administration has been inaugurated, and the two governments ought to return to the negotiation table to discuss removing existing tariffs step by step, former Chinese and US officials said. 

The comment was made on Tuesday at the Hong Kong Forum on US-China Relations, a three-day meeting co-hosted by the China-US Exchange Foundation and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) in Beijing. The forum invites distinguished speakers around the world to discuss the development trend of China-US relations and its potential impact on the world.

Zeng Peiyan, chairman of CCIEE and a former vice-premier of the State Council said at the forum that he hoped the Biden administration work with the Chinese side to resume communications and high-level strategic dialogues, and the US side could regard such communication channel as a basic way to solve existing problems and narrow their differences. 

In particular, the China-US economic and trade relations - which serves as the stabilizer and cornerstone of the bilateral relations - should be "brought to the right track," according to Zeng. 

"China and the US should launch a new round of trade talks on the basis of evaluating the phase one trade agreement in an objective and comprehensive manner. The hefty tariffs imposed on each other's goods since Trump's trade war should be removed," Zeng said. 

China and the US signed the phase one trade deal in January last year. Under the deal, Washington agreed to roll back some tariffs in phases while Beijing agreed to buy more US agricultural and energy products. But tariffs between the two nations still remain significantly elevated.

Zeng called on the Biden administration to remove unreasonable investment barriers, and the world's two largest economies could start negotiation on a bilateral investment treaty as soon as possible. 

Carlos Gutierrez, a former US Secretary of Commerce, said at the forum that economic and trade issues should have its own independent path and not be blended with geopolitics. 

The bilateral trade between China and the US should be more than transactional, according to Gutierrez. It could be strategic, under which both sides make greater contribution to each other's development, according to Gutierrez, who stressed that the China and the US are not enemies. 

He urged the worlds' two largest economies to sit on the negotiation table to discuss possible "cooling down" on tariffs. Tariffs could be cut item by item, according to him. 

Economists stressed at the forum that it is impossible for the world's two largest economies to push forward economic decoupling, as they are closely integrated and intertwined.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at the forum's opening that she hopes relations between the world's two major economies improve after Biden is sworn in as the 46th US President, which would help boost the global economic recovery.

She also highlighted the role of Hong Kong in serving as a valuable commercial bridge between Beijing and Washington in such areas as trade, investment and finance. Lam noted that Hong Kong's unique advantage could play a constructive role under the "one country, two systems" principle. 

The bilateral goods trade between China and the US expanded by more than 250 times since the two nations established diplomatic relations four decades ago, according to media reports. About 90 percent of US companies invested in China have made profits, Zeng noted.