China can reach trade deal ‘we can live with’ – US commerce secretary

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted on Monday that Beijing and Washington could reach a trade deal that “we can live with” as dozens of officials from the world’s two largest economies resumed talks in a bid to end their trade dispute.

Ross told CNBC the immediate trade issues would be easiest to tackle while enforcement issues and structural reforms, such as intellectual property rights and market access, would be more challenging to resolve.

“I think there’s a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement that China can live with, that we can live with and that addresses all of the key issues,” Mr Ross said in an interview with CNBC.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing had the “good faith” to work with the United States to resolve trade frictions as Chinese officials met their US counterparts in Beijing for the first face-to-face talks since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets.

After the first day of talks wrapped up, Chinese importers made their third large purchase of US soybeans in the past month, Chicago-based traders said. But China has bought only around 5 million tonnes since purchases resumed in December, less than 20 percent of the beans it bought a year earlier.

Mr Trump said on Sunday that trade talks with China were going very well and that weakness in the Chinese economy gave Beijing a reason to work towards a deal. Ross told CNBC the talks were being held with appropriate-level staff and would help determine how the administration moves forward.

The two sides agreed to hold “positive and constructive” dialogue to resolve economic and trade disputes in accordance with the consensus reached by their respective leaders, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing.

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