China urges US to cancel tariffs in bilateral test of engagement

  • Virtual talks between USTR and Chinese vice premier
  • US trade chief Tai aimed to pressure “non-market practices”
  • Chinese envoy says Beijing still meets commitments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Reuters) – China on Saturday said it was urging the United States to eliminate tariffs during talks among senior trade officials from countries Washington saw as a test of bilateral engagement between the world’s largest economies.

Virtual talks between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He followed Tai’s announcement on Monday that she would seek “frank” talks and force China to meet its commitments under the framework. of a “phase 1” trade agreement negotiated by former President Donald Trump.

“The Chinese side negotiated the cancellation of tariffs and sanctions, and clarified its position on China’s economic development model and industrial policies,” Chinese state news agency Xinhua told the outcome of the talks, which were held Friday, Washington time.

Tai intended to use the call, the second of the two, to test whether the bilateral engagement can respond to complaints from the United States about Beijing’s trade and subsidy practices, an official said. USTR.

“Ambassador Tai and Vice Premier Liu reviewed the implementation of the US-China Economic and Trade Agreement and agreed that the two sides will consult on some outstanding issues,” USTR said in a statement.

Xinhua said the two sides “expressed their main concerns and agreed to resolve the reasonable concerns of the other through consultations.”

“The two sides agree to continue to communicate with an equal approach and mutual respect, and to create the conditions for the healthy development of economic and trade relations between the two countries and the recovery of the world economy”, a- he declared.


During a briefing before the call, a senior USTR official said Tai would give Liu an assessment of China’s performance in implementing the Phase 1 agreement, including the promised purchases of American products that do not meet the targets.

Asked about the loopholes, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang told Chinese Phoenix TV on Friday that Beijing has always kept its promises in state-to-state relations, the embassy said in a statement. summary published on Saturday.

He said Beijing had sincerely and steadily implemented the agreement, despite the severe challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, including what he called “tangible steps” on intellectual property protection and opening up of the financial sector.

He blamed Washington for acting at the same time to impose barriers and restrictions on Chinese companies in the United States.

Tai would raise concerns about China’s “non-market” economic practices, the US official said.

“We recognize that Beijing is increasingly explicit that it is doubling down on its authoritarian state-centric approach and being reluctant to address our structural concerns,” the official said, adding that as a result, Washington would focus on improving the competitiveness of the United States, diversifying markets and “limiting the impact of Beijing’s harmful practices.”

The Phase 1 deal in January eased a long tariff war between the world’s two largest economies. He mainly focused on China’s pledge to increase purchases of US agricultural and manufactured goods, energy and services by $ 200 billion over two years, as well as increased copyright protection. , trademarks and other forms of intellectual property.

The Trump administration has considered a Phase 2 negotiation to follow to tackle more difficult issues such as subsidies to state-owned enterprises and China’s strategic industrial policies.

The official said Tai’s future engagement with China would depend on “how China responds to tonight’s call” and declined to discuss possible next steps, but added Tai would not seek to negotiate phase 2.

Reporting by David Lawder, Michael Martina and Andrea Shalal in Washington and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and William Mallard

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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