UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Signs of hope for a trade war between the United States and China emerged on Monday as US President Donald Trump said Washington would resume “very soon” negotiations with China, while China’s top negotiator called for a “calm”.
The two sides have been locked in a trade dispute for a year with the exchange of customs duties on billions of dollars of goods, and tension has escalated over the weekend.
Just three days after the two sides announced additional tariffs, Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit that he had received “very good” calls from Chinese officials.
“China called last night,” he said Monday. “She said, ‘Let’s go back to the negotiating table.’ So … … we will start negotiating again very soon,” adding, “They want to reach an agreement.”
He said later Monday at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the current talks with China on the trade dispute between the two countries “more important than ever” because the United States is in a good economic situation, while China is “losing millions of jobs.”
This comes after moves by China’s top negotiator, Vice President Liu He, to reduce the escalation.
“We are ready to settle the problem calmly through consultation and cooperation,” Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was quoted as saying by the Chinese financial magazine Kaishin. “We firmly oppose the escalation of trade war.”
“ We strongly oppose any escalation in the trade war, ” he said at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Smart China Expo in Chongqing, southwest China.
Trump later said the word “calm” was “very appropriate,” adding, “It’s not a word I’ve always used.”
He stressed that the contacts he received came from “the highest levels”. “The vice president is a normal official? I don’t think so.”
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin visited Shanghai in July for a “constructive” round of talks that ended without any announcement.
Monday’s breakthrough comes after Trump raised tariffs on 500 billion dollars worth of Chinese exports in a new round of punitive measures that are shaking world markets.
Friday’s announcement came after China suddenly confirmed it would impose new tariffs on $ 75 billion worth of US goods.
Some of those procedures will be put into effect on 1 September, and the remaining ones will be implemented in the coming months.
Trump on Twitter called on US companies to start looking for an alternative to production in China, but he and his top aides later downplayed the idea.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ging Shuang said he was unaware of Trump’s contacts and strongly criticized the imposition of new tariffs at a regular press conference in Beijing.
The US move, he said, “encroaches on multilateral trade rules, harms the security of the global industrial supply chain, strikes global trade and global economic growth.”
US allies pressured Trump at the Group of Seven summit with their assertion that a trade war was jeopardizing the global economy.
The Chinese currency fell to an 11-year low on Monday, amid ongoing tensions and mounting concerns about a global economic downturn.
The yuan was valued at 7,1425 against the dollar during Asian morning trade, the lowest level since 2008. The afternoon’s value against the dollar was 7,1581.
The Chinese yuan is not easily convertible. The Chinese government restricts its movement against the dollar, at rates set by the central bank on a daily basis.
China’s central bank has lowered its currency conversion rate in recent weeks, allowing it to devalue, making Chinese exports cheaper and easing US tariff burdens.
The Americans accuse China of keeping its currency artificially low in order to raise the competitiveness of its industries.
The Chinese currency also fell in early August as Trump announced new tariffs on additional Chinese goods.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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