Caixin
Jun 29, 2019 01:23 PM

Xi and Trump Agree to Restart Trade Talks While U.S. Halts Additional Tariffs

(Osaka) ― Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S President Donald Trump have agreed to restart trade talks as the U.S. agreed not to impose new tariffs on Chinese exports, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

The two met earlier on the sidelines of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka, Japan.

Trump also said China and the U.S. should be strategic partners instead of competitors or enemies, when answering a Caixin reporter’s question during a press conference after the meeting.

Trump told the media the meeting with Xi was “excellent,” and the U.S. was “right back on track” with China.

The trade talks stalled in early May after 11 rounds of negotiations between Chinese and U.S. trade officials. On May 10, the U.S. raised the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese products on to 25% from 10%. Trump also threatened to slap tariffs of up to 25% on virtually all remaining imports from China, worth about $300 billion.

The situation showed signs of thawing when Xi and Trump had a telephone conversation on June 18, during which the two leaders agreed to meet at G-20 site and discuss “fundamental issues.”

According to Xinhua, at the beginning of the meeting with Trump on Saturday, Xi talked about the China-U.S. table tennis athletes’ ice-breaking diplomacy in Japan in 1971. He moved on to emphasize the positive results that have come from the two countries’ improving relations since that time.

"One basic fact remains unchanged in the past 40 years: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation," Xi said. "Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation." Trump responded positively in the meeting, according to Xinhua.

Trump said the U.S. hopes the negotiations can help solve the bilateral trade imbalance as well as ensure fair treatment of businesses of both countries, Xinhua reported. The U.S. will not add more tariffs to products exported from China, and also hopes China can import more from the U.S. The U.S. is willing to reach a trade agreement that both sides can accept, which will have historic significance, Xinhua quoted Trump as saying.

Xi also said he hope the U.S. can treat Chinese companies and students fairly as well as ensure normal business investment conditions and cooperation between the two countries’ companies, Xinhua reported.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd has been targeted by the U.S. government due to “national security” concerns. U.S. companies are forbidden from supplying software and hardware to Huawei without prior government approval, a move considered to be intended to strangle the Chinese tech competitor.

However, during a news conference after the meeting with Xi on Saturday, Trump said he would allow the U.S. companies to sell equipment and components to Huawei, though these products should not pose national security issues.

In response to a Caixin reporter’s question whether China and the U.S. are partners, competitors or enemies, Trump said the two should be strategic partners.

“We are going to be strategic partners, we can help each other,” Trump said during the news conference on Saturday.

He also urged China to reach the “right deal” and to open up its “tremendous” market to the U.S.

Contact reporter Wu Gang (gangwu@caixin.com)

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