Commerce ministers from China and the US agreed to push forward trade and investment links in their first call since US President Joe Biden took office.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤) and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo “agreed to promote the healthy development of pragmatic cooperation in trade and investment,” in a conference call yesterday morning, the Chinese government said in a statement.
The two “exchanged views frankly and pragmatically on relevant issues and mutual concerns,” it said.
The two nations are slowly resuming official contact after the change of administration in the US in January. Some parts of US policy toward China are becoming clearer, but it is still not publicly clear what the US plans to do with the “phase 1” trade deal signed last year or tariffs on Chinese goods.
The call was the third between senior officials in the past few weeks, after Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) spoke with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
The US Department of Commerce did not respond to a request for more details on the call.
Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng (高峰) last week said that normal communications between the two countries have started.
The two sides have agreed to pragmatically solve some issues for producers and consumers, and promote healthy, stable economic and trade ties, he said.
However, US statements on the relationship with China are not so positive.
The US’ trade relationship with China has “significant imbalance” and the administration is committed to leveling it, Tai said last weekend before a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region.
There are parts of the US-China relationship “that are unhealthy and have over time been damaging in some very important ways to the US economy,” she said.
“I won’t get overly excited” about the call, said Alvin Tan, head of Asia currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets LLC.
“It’s positive in the sense that both countries are stepping up” economic and trade communication, but no game-changing decisions or announcements have come out, he said.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Tai would as soon as yesterday talk with her Taiwanese counterpart.
The two sides would soon discuss “some kind of framework agreement,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this week.
However, China opposes any official contact between the US and Taiwan, and any negotiations or discussions would inevitably be linked with US-China relations, potentially increasing the tensions between the two.
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