Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

U.S. Seeks to Patch Trade Relations With China

U.S. Seeks to Patch Trade Relations With China

President Trump tweeted today revealing he had a long and very good telephonic talk with Chinese counterpart Xi.

After his conversation with the US president, China's President Xi Jinping said that he hopes to push forward a Sino-US relationship that is coordinated, cooperative and stable, Chinese state media reported. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute.

Trump sent his own congratulatory message in return, saying that it was his priority to promote constructive relations, Xinhua reported.

In the same year, late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, often credited with China's "Reform and Opening" policy which led to its economic transformation, met U.S. president Jimmy Carter in the United States.

Xi said he hoped that the teams could meet each other half way and reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial as soon as possible, state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Mr Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on 1 January, and the USA said China would buy a "very substantial" amount of agricultural, industrial and energy products.

In his annual New Year's Eve address to his people, Mr Xi stressed self-reliance amid "changes unseen in 100 years" as the country faced an economic slowdown and a more confrontational US.

The administration of Trump, who has committed to realizing his iconic "Make America Great Again" promise since taking office in January 2017, has shown signs it is serious about containing China's regional and global economic and military influence.

Former US president Jimmy Carter warned on Monday that both countries were increasingly describing each other as threats. File photo: White House.

Xinhua, in a commentary, said it was only natural the two countries would have disagreements and encounter problems, considering their "different social systems, development paths and historical and cultural backgrounds".

The US and China must and can align their economic and national security objectives, as this is essential for the two largest economies to peacefully coexist in the current century, said John Milligan-Whyte, chairman of the America-China Partnership Foundation in NY.

Xi Jinping. File photo: GovHK.

These would be the first face-to-face talks since the truce was agreed by both nation's leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires.

A tariff increase also could stall China's economy, potentially slowing global growth, the report said.

Last week, Beijing's commerce ministry said China and the USA "made new progress" on the issues of trade balance and intellectual property during a phone call between officials from the two countries.

A little less than a year since he scrapped term limits, clearing the path towards his indefinite rule, Mr Xi has seen his major initiatives - notably the Belt and Road trade and infrastructure programme - draw worldwide backlash amid the unprecedented trade war with the US. Trump's efforts to challenge Beijing on trade over the past year have dredged up a wide range of grievances and fueled concerns that the relationship is heading into a prolonged period of confrontation.

Resolving the bruising spat could help shore up confidence in the Chinese economy, which itself is bracing for a slowdown.

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