Chinese Official Hopeful for ‘Calm, Rational’ Resolution to US–Sino Trade War

By Reuters
September 29, 2019 Updated: September 29, 2019

BEIJING—China hopes that Beijing and Washington will resolve their trade dispute “with a calm, rational attitude,” Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said ahead of talks in two weeks between the two sides.

The United States and China have been locked in an escalating trade war for more than a year. They have levied punitive duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods, roiling financial markets and threatening global growth.

A new round of high-level talks between the world’s two largest economies is expected in Washington on Oct. 10–11, led on the Chinese side by regime leader Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Vice Premier Liu He.

Wang, who has been part of China‘s negotiating team, said at a Sept. 29 news conference that Liu will go to Washington for the talks the week after China‘s “National Day” holiday, which begins Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s takeover of the country. The anniversary is a national holiday that lasts for a week.

He said he hoped both sides would find ways to resolve their differences. “We believe this will benefit both countries’ people and the world,” he said.

The Trump administration is considering radical new financial pressure tactics on Beijing, including the possibility of delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.

Sources told Reuters on Sept. 27 that the move would be part of a broader effort to limit U.S. investments into Chinese companies, in part because of growing security concerns about their activities.

Unprecedented Challenges

China has hit back at U.S. criticisms about lack of market access for U.S. firms, forced technology transfers, and poor protection of intellectual property. Wang reiterated that China will open up more sectors of the economy to foreign investors.

Earlier, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at the news conference in Beijing that Chinese companies faced many difficulties due to the trade frictions, which he said posed unprecedented trade challenges to the country.

To offset the effects, China would expand imports and other measures to stabilize trade, he said, without giving details.

The trade war has added to tensions between China and the United States, whose ties are also strained over U.S. criticism of human rights issues in China, including protests in Hong Kong, the disputed South China Sea, and U.S. support for self-ruled Taiwan, which the Chinese regime considers part of its territory.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat said Sept. 27 that Beijing is committed to resolving the dispute in a “calm, rational, and cooperative manner.”

The dispute has taken its toll on the Chinese economy.

China‘s exports unexpectedly fell in August as shipments to the United States slowed sharply, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy and underlining a pressing need for more stimulus.

Beijing is widely expected to announce more support measures in coming months to avert the risk of a sharper economic slowdown as the United States ratchets up trade pressure.

By Ryan Woo and Kevin Yao