China looks to push economic, trade ties back to cooperation with US: MOFCOM
Published: Feb 24, 2021 08:05 PM

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Photo: VCG

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday that it looks forward to working with its US counterparts to put China-US trade and economic ties back on the track of cooperation. A Chinese expert said this could be one of the first among many comments by Chinese government departments over the relationship with the US.

"In the next phase, I look forward to our joint efforts with colleagues in the US, in accordance with the recent phone call between the two leaders, to enhance communication and understanding, focus on cooperation, manage differences, and push bilateral economic and trade relations back to the track of cooperation," said Wang Wentao in his first press conference as China's commerce minister on Wednesday.

Wang made his remarks after Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, earlier this month. The two presidents exchanged Chinese Lunar New Year greetings along with views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues.

"US-China cooperation is the only right choice," Wang said, noting that China-US trade continued to expand amid the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which depressed global trade.

"Bilateral trade and investment have made positive contributions toward the economic recovery of both China and the US, highlighting their positive roles in bilateral ties and the real benefits generated for both countries," Wang said.


Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday that China hopes the US side will remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes, and abandon its unilateral sanctions of China's technological progress, among other policy adjustments needed to create the necessary conditions for bilateral cooperation.

Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who closely follows the trade negotiations, said China and the US are exchanging views on a framework to reset their ties, and the MOFCOM's statement on Wednesday showed that China is prepared to engage with the US on the commercial front.

"Next, more ministries that are responsible for charting the course of bilateral ties are expected to come out with comments," Gao predicted, noting that his observation does not necessarily reflect that of government policymakers.

Several ministries, including the National Development and Reform Commission, People's Bank of China, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the General Administration of Customs, are involved in charting the course of China-US trade and economic ties.

"The framework will guide China-US relations for years to come, and it will transcend the phase one trade deal agreed in January 2020," Gao said, noting that the relationship far outweighs the deal, which only covers billions of US dollars worth of trade.

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