Chinese state media says any US-China trade agreement must involve 'give and take'

US and Chinese officials are conducting talks in Beijing, their first since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets.
US and Chinese officials are conducting talks in Beijing, their first since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China is keen to put an end to its trade dispute with the United States but will not make any "unreasonable concessions", and any agreement must involve compromise on both sides, state newspaper the China Daily said on Wednesday (Jan 9).

US and Chinese officials conducted talks in Beijing, their first since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets.

Mr Ted McKinney, US under secretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said the US trade delegation is “wrapping up” meetings with Chinese officials and will return to the US later on Wednesday after a “good few days”.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang later told a daily news briefing results will be released soon.

Asian stocks markets jumped after the talks were extended for an unscheduled third day, fuelling optimism that the world’s largest economies can strike a trade deal to avoid an all-out confrontation that would severely disrupt the global economy.

Originally scheduled for Monday (Jan 7) and Tuesday (Jan 8), the negotiations were extended by a day amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of US farm and energy commodities and increased access to China’s markets.  

However, people familiar with the talks told Reuters on Tuesday that the two sides were further apart on Chinese structural reforms that the Trump administration is demanding in order to stop alleged theft and forced transfer of US technology, and on how Beijing will be held to its promises.

If no deal is reached by March 2, Mr Trump has said he will proceed with raising tariffs to 25 per cent from 10 per cent on US$200 billion (S$271.5 billion) worth of Chinese imports, at a time when China’s economy is slowing significantly. Beijing has retaliated in turn to US tariffs. 

But as meetings wound down in Beijing on Tuesday evening, Mr Trump tweeted: “Talks with China are going very well!”

The US team is led by deputy US trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish, and includes under secretaries from the US Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from the White House. 

Vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen heads the vice ministerial level talks for China, though Vice Premier Liu He, a top economic adviser to Xi, made an appearance at a meeting on Monday.  

The China Daily said in an editorial that Beijing's stance remains firm that the dispute harms both countries and disrupts the international trade order and supply chains.

"However, it has also made it clear that it will not seek a solution to the trade frictions by making unreasonable concessions, and any agreement has to involve give and take from both sides," it said.