Trump, Xi signal readiness for trade talks

Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen has said Beijing hopes to meet Washington halfway in addressing trade issues, adding that US trade action hurts China, America and the world.
Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen has said Beijing hopes to meet Washington halfway in addressing trade issues, adding that US trade action hurts China, America and the world.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

G-20 meeting seen as setting stage for deal, with global growth hit by rising trade war

BEIJING • US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have indicated they are both ready for a highly anticipated meeting at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Argentina next week.

The world's biggest economies have been engaged in an escalating trade war that is starting to have a greater impact on financial markets and global growth.

Mr Trump told reporters on Thursday that China wants to make a deal "very badly" after his administration placed tariffs on about US$200 billion (S$275 billion) worth of Chinese goods.

China "wants to make a deal and we're very happy with that," he said. "I'm very prepared, I've been preparing for it all my life."

Yesterday, in Beijing, top Chinese officials gave a briefing on President Xi's upcoming travels, including the G-20 in Buenos Aires from Nov 30 to Dec 1 where he will meet Mr Trump. Mr Xi's trip will take in Spain, Portugal and Panama.

China "hopes the Xi-Trump meeting goes smoothly", Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Chao said.

It hopes to meet the United States halfway in addressing trade issues, Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said.

LET'S DEAL

I've been preparing for it all my life. I know every ingredient, every stat. I know it better than everybody knows it. My gut is always right... China wants to make a deal. If we can make a deal, we will.

U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, on his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G-20 summit in Argentina.

FINDING SOLUTION

We hope that both sides can work together on the basis of mutual respect, balance, honesty and mutual benefit and finally find a solution to solve the problem… We noticed the US wants to reach an agreement to solve trade frictions with China. China hopes to work with the US to contain disputes.

MR WANG SHOUWEN, Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce, speaking at a press briefing in Beijing.

"Chinese and US trade teams have been in close touch," he added, echoing White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow's comments last week that they have resumed contact "at all levels".

Mr Wang Shouwen added: "We noticed the US wants to reach an agreement to solve trade frictions with China. China hopes to work with the US to contain disputes."

US trade action hurts China, America and the world, he said.

The briefing included remarks from Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang, Vice-Minister of Finance Zou Jiayi and central bank deputy governor Chen Yulu.

Mr Xi will also attend a meeting of Brics nations and hold bilateral summits with other leaders.

China hopes to use the G-20 to reach a practical, open agreement on economic and trade cooperation, pushing all parties to improve policy coordination.

It also hopes to send a clear signal on supporting a multilateral system of trade and enhance cooperation with its trading partners. China is paying "close attention" to the summit and calling for all parties to uphold equality and mutual respect.

The G-20 will agree to a 2020 deal on a digital economy. The bloc agrees the global economy faces downward pressure and rising risks, including a volatile finance market, trade frictions and weak structural growth.

China says reforms of the World Trade Organisation should be addressed within the global trade body. Mr Trump has repeatedly said the US has not been treated fairly by the organisation.

China and Spain will chart a new road map for bilateral relations.

 
 
 

While some Latin American countries see rising challenges in an unstable global environment, cooperation between China and the continent will not change.

As Mr Trump scales back America's involvement in international trade agreements, Mr Xi is using his signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure programme to position himself as a champion of global free trade. The initiative has extended into South America and the Caribbean, as Mr Xi looks to expand China's influence in the region.

This trip is also a chance for China to bolster ties with the developing world after its lending practices to poor countries, including Ecuador, fuelled concerns that they would become saddled by debt. US Vice-President Mike Pence warned countries to avoid becoming indebted to Beijing in a speech last week at the Apec summit in Papua New Guinea.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2018, with the headline 'Trump, Xi signal readiness for trade talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe