Upcoming China-US trade ministers' meeting sends 'positive signal of readiness for improving trade ties'
Published: May 20, 2023 11:13 PM
File photo: China US

Photo: GT

The reported upcoming meeting of Chinese and US trade ministers is much anticipated, which sends a positive signal and shows that both sides have recognized the importance of economic and trade relations to them and are ready to improve ties, Chinese experts said on Saturday.

Further, they said US officials aim to strengthen trade cooperation China to bolster the sluggish US economy despite its mounting crackdown on China as more US senior economic and trade officials are reportedly expected to visit China. 

The Chinese embassy in Washington said China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao will meet with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting in Detroit, according to Reuters on Thursday.

"This marks a resumption of bilateral meetings between commerce ministers from China and the US and is one of the most important meetings between the two countries since the cancellation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to China in February after the balloon incident," Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on the sidelines of Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum held in Beijing on Saturday.

There are signs that China and the US have gradually increased high-level exchanges in recent weeks since the US shot down a Chinese drone in February, bringing the "China threat" hype to a new level and further straining bilateral relations.

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, had candid, in-depth, substantive, and constructive discussions on bilateral ties with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Vienna on May 10 and May 11. Experts believe that the Wang-Sullivan meeting has opened a window for the two countries to remove obstacles and ease tensions amid a diplomatic stalemate after the balloon incident.

The coming meeting sends a positive signal that both sides have recognized the significance of China-US economic and trade relations and are ready to maintain ties, Tu said.

"As for focus of the meeting, it's highly expected that the US could set a goal of lifting additional tariffs imposed on Chinese imports in phrases, and continued dialogues are also necessary to further increase bilateral trade," he said.

The reported meeting between China and US trade also came following the meeting between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on May 8 in Beijing.

Reuters also reported that Blinken, Raimondo, and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have all expressed interest in visiting China.

"The possible visits by US senior economic and trade officials to China reflect that the US still aims to strengthen trade cooperation with China to bolster the sluggish US economy despite its mounting crackdown on China," Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher from the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times at the same forum on Saturday.

He gave the example of China-US cooperation in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. "At that time, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wasted no time in flying to China to seek cooperation with China in easing the financial crisis," he said, noting that China's measures including purchase of US treasuries and exports helped the US walk out of the global financial turmoil.   

In this sense, it's important for the two super economies to maintain dialogue and exchange, Zhang added. He said there is big room for cooperation between China and the US in areas including the green economy and new energy.

Experts expressed confidence over China's trade prospects in 2023 despite weakening external demand, rising geopolitical tensions and the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"We should be confident in our provincial governments and private enterprises. The country's foreign trade is more resilient as analysts expected, and will blaze a path toward stable growth enabled by the green economy and technological innovation," Zhang said.