Rationality guides China-US trade talks

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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that “negotiators for the US and China have scheduled a new round of high-level trade talks in Beijing and Washington… US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to fly to Beijing next week,” and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington in the following week. As of press time, neither Beijing nor Washington has commented on the report.

China and the US have maintained close contact since the seventh round of talks in February and have made substantial progress in settling remaining differences.

Divergences still exist, but both sides believe that none are irresolvable. China and the US are both positive about resolving differences fairly and equally.

A final agreement is expected by the two sides. Both countries have prepared for the worst, but neither has used the worst possible outcome to threaten each other in a bid to push forward the talks. Both sides are focusing on the problems pragmatically and positively.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump said that there would either be “a good deal or it’s not going to be a deal”. This is obviously also the bottom line of China. Washington openly speaks about it due to the bipartisan competition which stems from the US political structure. But generally, the US political arena and society are looking forward to seeing a deal being reached. Both China and the US have a strong willingness to overcome key divergences so as to prevent the worst case scenario from becoming a reality.

According to foreign media reports, the main difference between the two sides now is the mechanism to ensure that the final agreement can be implemented and on the question of how to cancel the tariffs. Theoretically speaking, as long as both parties have enough sincerity to reach an agreement, those issues should not be stumbling blocks.

It has been four weeks since the seventh round of talks. Regardless of confusing information, the trend that Beijing and Washington are meeting each other halfway to resolve issues has been further consolidated. Notwithstanding the uncertainties, no reasons or motives have been observed yet from either side to neglect the existing results.

An old Chinese saying goes, “No discord, no concord”. Another says, “A good gain takes long pain”. After all the twists and turns of the past year, the two countries have achieved new understandings not only of each other’s will and strength, but also a recognition for mutual benefit and fairness. Whatever the result, it should be accepted calmly.

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