China-US relations

US hopes Trump’s visit to China yields ‘good deliverables’

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross strikes an upbeat tone amid trade tensions between the two countries

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 September, 2017, 9:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 September, 2017, 9:38pm

The United States hopes there will be some “very good deliverables” when President Donald Trump visits China, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday, striking an upbeat tone amid trade tensions between the two countries.

Trump is expected to visit China in November as part of a trip that will take him to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in the Philippines and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam.

China’s relationship with the US has been strained by the Trump administration’s criticism of its trade practices and demands that Beijing do more to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons and missiles programmes.

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Meeting in Beijing, Ross told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that he and his delegation had been greeted very warmly, which augurs well for Trump’s forthcoming trip to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We are looking forward to a very good session including a lot of American CEOs and we hope there will be some very good deliverables,” Ross said.

Li told Ross that the two countries’ common interests far outweighed their differences, and that their economic and trade relationship had enormously benefited both countries and the world.

“China is the world’s largest developing country, while the United States is the world’s biggest developed country,” Li said.

“In addition to that, China and the United States are the largest trading partners with each other, so I think it is fair to say that our common interests far outweigh our differences and divergences,” he added.

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“Over the years, economic and trade relations between our two countries have always served as a ballast for our overall bilateral relationship, and these important trade and economic relations have benefited enormously our two peoples as well as the whole world.”

China Central Television quoted Li as saying that he hoped the United States would treat Chinese companies’ investments in America fairly, and that Washington would ease its restrictions on exports of hi-tech goods.

He also told Ross that China was willing to manage disputes and frictions with the US through talks.

Meeting earlier in the day, China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told the visiting politician that there was huge potential for cooperation between the US and China.

China was keen to create good conditions for Trump’s visit and ensure his trip was fruitful, he added.

Xi and Trump met for the first time in person at the US leader’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in April. Trump has since played up his personal relationship with Xi, even when criticising China over North Korea and trade.

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At the Florida meeting, the two sides launched a 100-day economic plan, which included some industry-specific announcements such as the resumption of American beef sales in China, but trade relations have become strained since.

Tensions were raised earlier this month after Trump approved a decision to block the acquisition of a US-based chip maker by a Chinese-owned private equity firm.

In August, the US president authorised an inquiry into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property – the first direct trade measure by his administration against Beijing.

During his election campaign, Trump vowed repeatedly to declare China a currency manipulator once in office, but backed off from that threat in April.

Beijing rejects link between North Korea and China-US trade

His administration has also repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in North Korea and has threatened new sanctions on Chinese banks and other firms that do business with Pyongyang.

Beijing said, however, that it was already doing all it could to pressure North Korea and that those countries directly involved in the stand-off on the peninsula should take responsibility for resolving tensions.

Neither Li nor Ross made reference to North Korea in their comments to reporters.