DAVOS, Switzerland—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced optimism on Jan. 22 for a good outcome in upcoming trade talks with China and said a superpower conflict between the two nations could be avoided.
Pompeo, speaking by video to the annual Davos summit of big business, was referring to protracted negotiations designed to avert a threat by U.S. President Donald Trump to further ramp up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports by early March.
Pompeo began by describing China as belligerent towards its neighbors and “embracing totalitarianism” at home but said the row could be resolved if Beijing were to accept the principles of fair and open trade and protection of intellectual property.
“There are those who say that a superpower conflict between our countries is inevitable. We don’t see it that way,” he said.
In reference to the next round of trade talks, scheduled for Jan. 30-31 in Washington, he added: “I am optimistic that we will receive them well and we will have a good outcome from those conversations.”
His remarks chime with comments made by Trump last weekend, when he said the talks were going very well. However, Trump denied he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports.
The U.S.-China trade war has roiled world financial markets and contributed to a slowdown in global economic growth.
On Monday, China reported its weakest annual growth in nearly three decades, hurt by rising U.S. tariffs, and the International Monetary Fund cited the trade war in downgrading its global 2019 outlook for the second time in three months.