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Both sides agree to solve core trade concerns

By JING SHUIYU in Beijing and HENG WEILI in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-11-27 23:51
[Photo/IC]

Top trade negotiators for China and the United States discussed solving issues regarding each other's core concerns and reached consensus on properly addressing related issues in a phone call on Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Analysts said they hoped both governments would further enhance mutual trust and seal a partial agreement, as a new study indicated the US is absorbing the cost of hefty tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.

On Tuesday morning, Vice-Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the ministry said in a brief statement. They reached a consensus on properly addressing core concerns, and both sides agreed to maintain communication on remaining issues in the phase one deal, according to the statement.

Other officials, including Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, Governor of the People's Bank of China Yi Gang and Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe also joined in the call on Tuesday.

The talks followed a "constructive" phone conversation earlier this month.

Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said: "Protectionism and beggar-thy-neighbor policies can no longer be sustained. The world should move toward stability, cooperation and mutual benefit."

He said mutual trust should be enhanced so the international community can better understand China's reforms and opening-up and become more willing to cooperate with China. Wei said he has confidence that China and the US, the world's two largest economies, will be able to strike a deal and get back on track.

Dong Yan, a research fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "Mutual trust is an essential factor for resolving China-US trade issues."

In order to reach a balanced trade pact, the two countries need to focus first on issues that are solvable and to understand each other's concerns, Dong said.

Negotiating teams for China and the US have been continuing talks since they outlined the preliminary deal in early October. Both nations have made moves in the previous months to ease tensions on such issues as tariffs and food imports.

In recent weekly briefings, China's Ministry of Commerce has reiterated that a tariff rollback is a vital condition to seal the deal with the US.

According to a study released on Monday by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the expectation that Chinese companies would bear the costs of tariffs imposed by the US government has not materialized.

The study — Who Pays the Tax on Imports from China? — was published on the bank's Liberty Street Economics blog.

"US businesses and consumers are shielded from the higher tariffs to the extent that Chinese firms lower the dollar prices they charge. US import price data, however, indicate that prices on goods from China have so far not fallen. As a result, US wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers are left paying the tax," the study said.

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