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China Ready For Trade Negotiations

Xi

China is ready to negotiate a trade deal with the United States as both economies stand to lose from a prolonged trade war, Vice President Wang Qishan said today as quoted by Bloomberg. Wang was speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, and added that trade was the “anchor and propeller of China-U.S. relations.”

However, President Xi’s number-two as Bloomberg called him, also warned against “right-leaning populism” and “unilateralism.”

The trade war saw US crude oil shipments to China stop completely in October, and China slapped a 10% tariff on LNG in September.

“The Chinese side is ready to have discussions with the U.S. on issues of mutual concern and work for a solution on trade acceptable to both sides,” Wang told the forum, making it clear, however, that China will hold its ground and will not agree to a disadvantageous deal.

Talk about trade negotiations has been in the media for months after two failed attempts to reach common ground. Judging by the latest attempt at negotiations, which China canceled in late September, the chances of success for this attempt are as uncertain as ever, although the waiver that Washington proffered to China that will allow it to purchase Iranian crude oil may be some grease on the wheels of a trade agreement. Related: Nasdaq Continues To Fall On Disappointing Tech Earnings

Back in September, Beijing called off a planned meeting to negotiate trade arrangements after Washington slapped tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods effective September and on top of that also sanctioned the country’s defense agency and its head.

Now, Presidents Trump and Xi are due to meet this month at the G-20 summit in Argentina and there are hopes the war will end, although there are also serious doubts it will happen. China has more than once made it clear it will not be the loser in a deal. The United States, in the face of President Trump, on the other hand, has followed a consistently hawkish line in its dealings with Beijing, and this, too, is far from likely to change.

Recent comments from President Xi reinforce a feeling it will take a lot of effort on both sides to reach a deal. Speaking at a recent event, the China International Import Expo, Xi said, as quoted by CNBC, “As globalisation deepens, the practices of ‘law of the jungle’ and ‘winner-take-all’ are a narrowing road that leads to a dead end. Inclusion and reciprocity, win-win and mutual benefits is the widening and correct path.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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