China, US reach consensus
China and the US have agreed to cooperate in cutting their trade deficit, officials from both countries said Wednesday at the conclusion of the first China-US Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (CED), rendering skepticism by some foreign media outlets over the economic talks.
The two countries agreed to work constructively together to address the trade imbalance, Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said after the one-day economic dialogue in Washington, DC, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Both sides agreed that one of the ways to solve the trade imbalance is for the US to expand its exports to China, instead of reducing them," Zhu said, adding that China is not deliberately seeking a trade surplus with the US and is willing to achieve balanced trade.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also noted the bilateral consensus on the trade deficit.
"China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve," they said in a statement, Reuters reported.
At a daily briefing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang stated both sides agreed on constructive cooperation in narrowing the trade deficit.
The two countries discussed a wide range of issues, including trade and investment, the China-US 100-day action plan, a one-year cooperation plan and global economic governance, and reached broad consensus, the spokesperson said.
Both countries believe this is an innovative, down-to-earth and constructive dialogue, Lu said.
The most significant achievement of the economic dialogue is its acknowledgement of the right direction for Sino-US economic cooperation, and regards win-win cooperation as the underlying principle in developing bilateral trade ties, sets dialogue and negotiations as a basic solution to resolving disputes, and considers keeping key economic policy communication as the fundamental approach to dialogue and cooperation, he elaborated.
A Reuters report on Thursday claimed the two countries failed to "agree on major new steps to reduce the US trade deficit with China," and went further by saying the failure casts doubts over "US President Donald Trump's economic and security relations with Beijing."
"China and the US have differences but the key is to reach a consensus in principle despite these differences. This will lay a good foundation for both sides to resolve their conflicts and problems in the future," Li Yong, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times.
"These consensuses mean increasing the size of the pie of common interests to allow both countries to benefit from economic and trade cooperation. In this sense, the dialogue was constructive and a success," Li said.