China, August 26:
- Negotiators review progress of phase one trade deal in telephone conversation on Tuesday
- Both sides say they are committed to making progress on the agreement signed last year
China said its lead negotiator had discussed greater coordination on macroeconomic policies with the US in a phone conversation, as both sides said they were committed to making progress on their phase one trade deal.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He spoke with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday to discuss the agreement’s implementation.
A brief statement by the Chinese side described the talks as “constructive” and said both sides would create favourable conditions to continue the deal.
“Both sides had a constructive dialogue regarding stepping up macroeconomic policies coordination and the implementation of the phase one trade deal,” a statement released by the Chinese government said.
China and the US reached the phase one trade agreement on January 15. The deal took effect one month later and the two sides have remained in regular contact on its implementation, with a top-level review scheduled every six months. Talks to review the implementation were originally expected to occur on August 15.
A statement by Lighthizer’s office did not mention coordination of macroeconomic policies, but said the negotiators had discussed further action needed to make progress on the trade deal.
“The parties addressed steps that China has taken to effectuate structural changes called for by the agreement that will ensure greater protection for intellectual property rights, remove impediments to American companies in the areas of financial services and agriculture, and eliminate forced technology transfer,” the statement said.
China promised to buy more American goods as part of the phase one deal, including US$77 billion worth this year, with a goal of raising the value of purchases by US$200 billion compared with 2017 levels.
Beijing has fallen behind its first-year commitment because of the coronavirus pandemic and inflamed tensions with Washington. Trade remains the only sector in which the Trump administration has publicly engaged with Beijing.But senior Chinese officials have repeatedly said Beijing was committed to honouring the deal, despite rising tensions with the US over issues such as Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan and Xinjiang.
US official data and industrial data show China has increased its purchases of agricultural and energy products in recent months.The phone conversation came as Chinese tech firm ByteDance filed a lawsuit challenging the US government’s crackdown on its popular video app TikTok, which Washington has accused of being a national security threat.
US President Donald Trump in recent weeks has stepped up has rhetoric against China ahead of what is expected to be a tough re-election fight, raising questions about the deal’s fate as well as the possibility of a phase two agreement.
Source– south china morning post