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Yang Yingming will head the Ministry of Finance’s international cooperation department. Photo: IISD

World Bank official to join China’s US trade talks team

  • Yang Yingming to take on international coordination role at Ministry of Finance as Beijing ‘tries to stop ties worsening’
  • Yang known for openness and sense of humour, sources say
China is adding a new face to its trade negotiation team by appointing its chief representative at the World Bank to head the Ministry of Finance’s international cooperation department, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Yang Yingming, who has been executive director for China at the World Bank in Washington since 2016, returns to the ministry months after Beijing and Washington completed a phase one agreement that brought a truce to their bitter trade war, although bilateral tensions remain at their worst in decades.

Yang, who is among a group of rising Chinese economic policymakers with international experience, told some of his colleagues recently in Washington that he was returning to China to work on G20 coordination and China-US trade talks, two of them said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Yang, the ministry, and the World Bank’s Beijing office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Unpacking the ‘phase one’ deal for the US-China trade war

Unpacking the ‘phase one’ deal for the US-China trade war

Yang, who studied English literature at Beijing Foreign Studies University and development economics at the University of Manchester in Britain, was also executive director for China at the Asian Development Bank until 2012, before moving to the finance ministry.

Yang is a fluent English speaker known for openness and a sense of humour, according to two of the people.

Li Mingjiang, associate professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the appointment further reflected Beijing’s keenness to maintain engagement and prevent ties worsening.

Beijing and Washington have had limited high-level engagement this year as they square off over a range of friction points, from the coronavirus to Hong Kong, although China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks in Hawaii earlier this month.

“Both sides still want to face their problems and resolve them through negotiation, instead of heading towards decoupling,” Li said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: World Bank official to join team for US trade talks