Sunday, July 7, 2019
Martin Hennecke

China sets tone as trade talks poised to resume
Top Chinese and US officials will resume trade talks in accordance with the wishes of their leaders, but China hopes the United States will create the necessary conditions for dialogue, the Chinese commerce ministry said yesterday.

Hopes for a revival of negotiations have been rekindled by a telephone call on Wednesday between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and confirmation they will meet next week in Japan at a G20 summit.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday he would speak by telephone to Liu He, China's vice premier and chief negotiator in the trade talks, "in the next day and a half."

"The heads of the two trade teams will communicate, according to instructions passed down from the two presidents," Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters. "We hope (the US) will create the necessary conditions and atmosphere for solving problems through dialogue as equals."

The US Trade Representative's Office kicked off seven days of testimony this week from US retailers, manufacturers and other businesses about Trump's tariff plan.

China hopes the US would listen to its industry voices, and stop threatening tariffs and waging a trade war, Gao said, adding that such behavior was "wrong" and should be "abandoned." But when asked if China thought it could reach an agreement with the US on issues such as its structural reforms, the implementation mechanism, intellectual right protection and further opening of its markets, Gao still expressed optimism.

"I believe by taking care of each other's concerns through equal dialogue, both sides will for sure be able to find a solution to solve the problems properly," Gao said.

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