Fri, Jun 08, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China offers to buy US goods: official

TRADE COOPERATION:While the two nations have discussed proposals, including ones on agricultural products and energy, no deal has made to lift ZTE’s sanctions

AFP, WASHINGTON

China has offered to buy US$70 billion worth of US goods if Washington drops plans to impose tariffs in return, an official in US President Donald Trump’s administration said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier report.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) made the offer during weekend trade talks in Beijing with a US delegation, which was led by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The new purchases would include soybeans, natural gas, crude oil and coal.

No definitive agreement had been reached and no further information was available, the US Department of Commerce said.

During a regular news briefing in Beijing yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that The two sides had discussed detailed proposals during the trade negotiations.

“China and the US carried out in-depth and concrete discussions in some specific areas of trade cooperation, especially agricultural products and energy,” spokesman Gao Feng (高峰) said, when he was asked about the US$70 billion figure.

“China is willing to expand imports from the US under the precondition of both sides walking towards each other,” Gao said.

US exports to China last year hit US$130.4 billion, the US department said.

A US$70 billion package of purchases would amount to a 53.8 percent increase.

For goods alone, the US trade deficit with China hit a record US$375 billion last year and the White House has demanded Beijing cut the imbalance by US$200 billion.

Liu personally explained to Ross the offer would be void in the event that Washington imposed additional tariffs, the Wall Street Journal said.

Separately, the US and China have not yet reached a deal on Chinese telecoms giant ZTE Corp (中興通訊) that would lift crippling sanctions against the company, US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday.

“No decision has been reached by both sides as of now,” Kudlow said.

US media reported late last month that the commerce department had brokered a deal under which ZTE would pay a substantial fine, hire US compliance officers to be placed at the firm and make changes to its management.

Trump appeared to confirm that a deal had been reached in a tweet on May 25, but subsequent broader US trade talks in Beijing ended inconclusively with no mention of the ZTE matter.

US Democrats and some Republicans have vehemently opposed any deal on ZTE, which is deemed a cybersecurity risk, but Trump cited the potential loss of US jobs if ZTE is forced out of business.

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