China, US to continue trade talks in Washington next week: Xi Jinping

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Beijing, Feb 15 (IANS) Talks aimed at ending the trade war between China and the US made important progress this week, President Xi Jinping told top US trade negotiators on Friday, adding that efforts to resolve the issue would continue in Washington next week.

“Both sides will meet again next week in Washington. I hope you all will make persistent efforts and try to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” the Chinese President was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Negotiators from the two countries have been trying to strike a deal before March 2, when the US government is due to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent if no agreement is reached.

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The world’s top two economies imposed tariffs on huge swathes of each other’s exports last year, causing major disruptions for businesses, rattling financial markets and endangering global growth.

The US delegation was led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who were here for the two-day talks that started on Thursday. Vice Premier Liu He was China’s top negotiator in the negotiations.

Mnuchin tweeted that the two sides had “productive meetings”, while the White House in a statement confirmed that the next round of talks will be held in Washington next week, CNN reported.

According to the state media, Xi met Lighthizer and Mnuchin after a full week of trade negotiations at senior and deputy levels in Beijing and called for a deal that both sides could accept.

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“These days, the world’s attention is cast on Beijing. The negotiations of two sides have again achieved important and steady progress,” Xi said, adding, “I hope you make persistent efforts and push for a mutually beneficial consensus.”

Calling the China-US ties one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world today, Xi said the two countries share broad common interests and shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and stability as well as promoting global development and prosperity.

“It serves both peoples’ fundamental interests and meets the expectations of the international community to maintain sound and stable development of the China-US ties,” the Chinese President said.

Xi said he met with US President Donald Trump in Argentina last December and reached important consensus as both countries agreed to jointly advance their ties.

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“I hope that both teams will strengthen communication, focus on cooperation and manage differences in the principles and directions set by President Trump and I, so as to promote the sound and stable development of the China-US economic and trade cooperation and bilateral ties.”

Washington and Beijing carried out intensive and conducive consultations since last December, Xi said, adding that “cooperation was the best choice for both sides”.

–IANS

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