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China has 'open attitude' on US trade

By Jing Shuiyu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-14 07:19
Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that China would welcome any US trade delegation to visit the country and is keeping an "open attitude" to visiting the US for trade talks. [Photo/IC]

China is adopting an open stance toward not only the next round of trade talks with the United States but also importing more quality goods, such as soybeans, from the country, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that China would welcome any US trade delegation to visit the country and is keeping an "open attitude" to visiting the US for trade talks.

The two sides' economic and trade teams were maintaining close contact, discussing the details of trade negotiations and making smooth progress, the spokesman said at a news conference in Beijing.

His comments came after foreign media reported that Chinese companies bought at least 500,000 metric tons of US soybeans for no less than $180 million. The purchases would be the first major move made after a series of meetings and exchanges between China and the US this month.

Soybeans have always been an important line item in China's imports of US agricultural products, Gao said, stressing "there is huge domestic demand".

But Gao declined to confirm the reports or release more details.

US soybean futures' prices on Wednesday hit their highest level since early August, continuing a rising trend that started before President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump met in Argentina on Dec 1.

Conversations have been con-ducted since the meeting, with the latest progress being a phone exchange between Vice-Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Wei Jianguo, a former vice-minister of commerce, said China would continue to increase imports of quality goods and services from the rest of the world, including the US. The country, however, will not compromise its core interests in trade talks with the US, he said.

A trader told China Daily that the total amount of soybean shipments that the US was prepared to send to China might exceed three dozen, and many of the soybeans would be shipped from the Pacific Northwest while others would go out from the US Gulf area.

"We are excited to see that these purchases, if true, were from the Pacific Northwest," said Joe Smentek, executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.

"Many of Minnesota's soybeans are shipped through the Northwest. We have ... a high-quality product and are excited to get back to exporting to China," he added.

Foreign direct investment into China from the US climbed 3.7 percent between January and November from a year earlier, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.

On the whole, FDI into China fell 1.3 percent in the first 11 months of the year to 793.3 billion yuan ($115.5 billion) from a year ago.

In November alone, FDI into China declined 26.3 percent year-on-year to 92.1 billion yuan. The ministry said the slowdown was mainly due to a high comparison base a year earlier.

Kong Wenzheng in New York contributed to this story.

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