China, US resume high-level trade talks

BEIJING • China and the United States have restarted high-level talks on trade and other economic matters after a telephone call between their respective leaders, President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump, on Nov 1, China's Ministry of Commerce said.

The teams from both sides are working together closely to carry out the consensus reached between the two heads of state, Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday.

That is an encouraging sign for the world's economic recovery and, more importantly, offers confidence to companies in China and the US, said Mr Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the China Society for WTO Studies.

He added: "Many of them have already borne the financial burden caused by tariffs, which have dramatically affected not only trade but also the global value chain and financial stability."

The two presidents agreed in a telephone call to meet during the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. Experts and business leaders say it will be the most important bilateral meeting during the G-20.

Mr Robert Aspell, president for Asia-Pacific of US agricultural conglomerate Cargill, said the best way to solve trade issues is to talk to each other. "With strong complementarity, it can be profitable and promising for two countries to resume closer economic and trade cooperation to benefit their consumers and businesses," he added.

In another development, Mr Gao said negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have made substantial progress this year and may be concluded next year. The pact will be "modern, comprehensive, high-quality and reciprocal", he said.


The RCEP, a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 Asean member states and six of their FTA partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea - is expected to be one of the world's largest trading blocs.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2018, with the headline 'China, US resume high-level trade talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe