China says it's willing to resolve US trade spat through talks

Discussions to be based on mutual respect, says key Chinese official

China is willing to resolve trade disputes with the United States through talks that are based on mutual respect, integrity and equal footing, said one of the country's top commerce officials.

Beijing will jointly promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations, said Vice-Commerce Minister Wang Bingnan yesterday at a news conference ahead of the inaugural China International Import Fair in Shanghai.

Billed as the "first-ever" global trade fair that is solely focused on imports, it marks China's commitment to promote "a new round of opening up" to the outside world, said Mr Wang.

When asked about the impact of the fair on the trade war between China and the US, and their bilateral trade ties, Mr Wang told reporters that US companies have responded positively to the fair.

He noted that nearly 180 American companies are participating in the expo, making them the third largest group among the 81 participating countries.

"This fully demonstrates the attractiveness of China's market and this import fair to American companies," he said.

China is "willing to expand imports from all over the world including the US", Mr Wang added.


"We also hope that Chinese and American companies can make full use of the platform of the import fair to promote the complementary economic advantages of the two countries to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results."

The world's two largest economies have been locked in a trade war, with the US imposing tariffs on US$250 billion (S$344 billion) worth of Chinese goods and China retaliating with tariffs on US$110 billion worth of American products.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump said he will likely make a deal with China on trade, adding that a lot of progress had been made to resolve the two countries' differences.

"If we can open up China and make it fair, for the first time ever - this should have been done years ago by other presidents but it wasn't - I am very much willing to do it. But China very much wants to make a deal," he told reporters in Washington.

But he also warned that if a deal is not made with China, he could impose tariffs on another US$267 billion in Chinese imports into the US.

Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be meeting at the Group of 20 leaders summit in Argentina later this month and both leaders are expected to discuss trade issues over dinner.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline 'China says it's willing to resolve US trade spat through talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe