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China presses Trump to compromise on trade war demands ahead of key meeting

Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

BEIJING -- Chinese officials on Monday demanded compromise from the Trump administration, with hopes for an end to a bruising trade war resting on a key meeting this week with China's Xi Jinping.

China's vice minister of commerce, Wang Shouwen, told journalists Monday that compromise had to come from both sides.

"Both sides must make compromises and concessions, not just one party," Wang said.

Relations are prickly in the lead-up to the meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. After trade talks broke down last month, the U.S. increased tariffs on Chinese goods worth about $200 billion to 25% from 10% and threatened tariffs on $325 billion more. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi agreed last week to rekindle the talks.

But in a step that further infuriated Chinese officials, the U.S. on Friday banned five Chinese tech companies from buying U.S. components without government permission -- after an earlier ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei and related entities.

Unless Trump and Xi agree to pull back from the confrontation, the stage is set for increasingly sharp retaliations and the decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies in many high-tech fields, which would disrupt global supply chains and slow global growth.

 

Wang called on the U.S. to reverse its actions against Huawei and others.

"We hope the U.S. can remove certain unilateral measures inappropriately taken against Chinese companies in the spirit of free trade and the World Trade Organization," Wang said. He added that the two sides were "continuing to discuss the possibility of further communication."

According to Hu Xijin, editor of the state-owned Global Times, the decision to blacklist five more companies has undermined the atmosphere of the upcoming Trump-Xi meeting and complicated chances of reaching a deal.

In comments on Twitter, he added that it strengthened the hand of those in Beijing convinced that any deal with Washington was useless because the U.S. could not be trusted. He added that the "Chinese side is concerned about the fairness of a trade deal."

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