China says it will work with US to address core concerns

Both countries making progress for phased agreement, says Beijing's chief negotiator

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said the Chinese government has every confidence in its ability to meet macroeconomic targets for the year.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said the Chinese government has every confidence in its ability to meet macroeconomic targets for the year.PHOTO: REUTERS

NANCHANG • Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said yesterday that China will work with the United States to address each other's core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and that stopping the trade war would be good for both sides and the world.

"The two sides have made substantial progress in many fields, laying an important foundation for the signing of a phased agreement," Mr Liu, also the chief negotiator in the trade talks, told a virtual reality conference in Nanchang, the capital of south-eastern Jiangxi province.

"Stopping the escalation of the trade war benefits China, the US and the whole world. It's what producers and consumers alike are hoping for," Mr Liu said in a rare public speech about the trade war.

China and the US reached a limited deal on Oct 11 towards ending the trade war that has roiled global markets and hammered world growth. Both sides are working towards a written agreement.

China's third-quarter economic growth slowed to an annual 6 per cent, its weakest pace in almost three decades as the bruising trade war hit factory production and investment sentiment.

Mr Liu said yesterday that China will step up investment in core technologies to accelerate economic restructuring, adding that economic prospects remain "very bright".

"We're not worried about short-term economic volatility. We have every confidence in our ability to meet macroeconomic targets for the year," he said.

Mr Liu said improved relations between China and the US benefited the world.


"Growth in Sino-US economic and trade cooperation is connected to peace, stability and prosperity of the whole world," he said.

"China and the US can meet each other halfway, based on equality and mutual respect, addressing each other's core concerns, striving to create a good environment and achieving both sides' common goals."

His comments came after US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he thinks a trade deal between the US and China will be signed by the time the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings take place in Chile on Nov 16 and 17.

"I think it will get signed quite easily, hopefully by the summit in Chile, where President Xi and I will both be," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House, without providing details.

He added: "We're working with China very well."

The International Monetary Fund estimated that the tentative trade deal reached by Washington and Beijing on Oct 11 could reduce the harm to global growth from tariffs imposed by both countries over the past 15 months.

Separately, blacklisted Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei is in early-stage talks with some US telecoms companies about licensing its 5G network technology to them, a Huawei executive told Reuters on Friday.

Mr Vincent Pang, senior vice-president and board director at the company, said some firms had expressed interest in a long-term deal or a one-off transfer, declining to name or quantify the companies.

"There are some companies talking to us, but it would take a long journey to really finalise everything," Mr Pang explained on a visit to Washington last week.

"They have shown interest," he added, saying conversations are only a couple of weeks old and not at a detailed level yet.

The US government, fearing that Huawei equipment could be used to spy on customers, has led a campaign to convince allies to bar it from their 5G networks.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 20, 2019, with the headline 'China says it will work with US to address core concerns'. Subscribe