Sat, Nov 24, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China hoping for trade spat solution

AFP, BEIJING

US President Donald Trump, left, and first lady Melania Trump sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Beijing yesterday said it hopes US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) can find a solution to the trade dispute when they meet at the G20 summit next week.

The talks in Argentina come as the two nations have failed to reach any agreement to resolve a dispute that escalated after Trump slapped huge tariffs on Chinese goods, prompting tit-for-tat responses.

“We hope that both sides can work together on the basis of mutual respect, balance, honesty and mutual benefit, and finally find a solution to solve the problem,” Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen (王受文) said at a news conference in Beijing.

Global trade faces a “complex situation,” with “unilateralism and protectionism on the rise” creating uncertainty for economic development, Wang said.

China hopes the G20 would uphold its backing of multilateralism at the summit, which takes place from Friday to Saturday next week in Buenos Aires.

Beijing also backs reform of the WTO to enhance its authority and effectiveness, he said.

Trump on Thursday said he was “very prepared” for the meeting with Xi.

“I have been preparing for it all my life,” he told journalists at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, where he gave a lengthy news conference after a Thanksgiving day telephone address to US troops deployed overseas.

“I know every ingredient, every stat. I know it better than everybody knows it. My gut is always right,” Trump said of his preparations for the meeting.

Washington has threatened to toughen measures even further if the issue is not resolved before January.

“China wants to make a deal. If we can make a deal, we will,” Trump said.

The US has imposed punitive tariffs on US$250 billion per year of Chinese goods. In retaliation, China imposed tariffs on US$110 billion of US goods.

Shanghai stocks yesterday fell the most in five weeks amid worries over China’s economic growth, and doubts over the chances of Xi and Trump achieving a de-escalation in the trade dispute when they meet next week.

The Shanghai Composite Index slumped 2.5 percent to 2,579.48 points, the biggest one-day percentage loss since Oct. 18. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 2.2 percent, to 3,143.48 points.

China’s start-up board ChiNext slumped 3.3 percent, despite a slew of government measures to aid small listed firms.

Stocks fell across the board, with property and materials among the biggest casualties.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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