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Vice premier’s US visit shows hopeful development in consultations

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He's visit to the US this week, his second this year, shows the two countries are making progress in bilateral trade talks and brings hope that the scope of the consultations will broaden, experts say.

Liu is scheduled to visit the US from Tuesday to Saturday where he will meet with US trade officials including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday. Earlier this month, a US trade delegation led by Mnuchin visited China for talks on trade tariffs. Liu visited the US in February.

"The five-day visit by Liu shows the Chinese government's sincere hope that bilateral trade issues can be fully addressed," Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Monday.

Wang suggested Liu would not be making the trip if there was no hope of moving toward a resolution of the trade dispute. "Liu's visit shows that China and the US have so far made sound progress in consultations on the basis of mutual compromise," Wang said, adding that a good indicator of this is US President Donald Trump's tweet about Chinese telecom equipment company ZTE.

Trump said in a Twitter post on Sunday that he will work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give ZTE "a way to get back into business." On April 16, the US Department of Commerce imposed a seven-year ban on American exports of components used by ZTE, accusing the Chinese firm of violating US regulations.

"ZTE welcomes this latest progress. Under the guidance of the Chinese government, ZTE will continue to communicate with relevant parties, including the US Department of Commerce, to facilitate the final resolution," a ZTE employee who asked not to be identified told the Global Times on Monday.

"We will do our utmost to restore production and operations, to fulfill our responsibilities to customers, partners, and suppliers around the world, and to strive for further development," the employee noted.

Lu said the Chinese government highly appreciates the US reconsideration of the ZTE ban and is communicating closely with the US on details.

The US could cancel or delay its export ban on essential parts required by ZTE or impose a fine on the firm, said Wang, adding that the US will ask for something in return.

Persistent issues

The change in Trump's attitude toward ZTE is a positive and pragmatic move, which "could be a turning point in Sino-US trade tensions," said Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute under the Ministry of Commerce.

Bai told the Global Times that the US export ban has put a lot of pressure on China's information technology industry but it has also harmed US chip manufacturers.

Experts said despite Trump's apparent reversal of the export ban that has severely impacted ZTE, many uncertainties in the trade talks still exist.

To further advance resolution of the countries' trade dispute, many complicated issues will have to be overcome, including the trade imbalance, US concerns over the Made in China 2025 initiative, and protection of intellectual property rights, noted Bai. "ZTE is only one of the issues."

Bai said that domestic manufacturers should pursue growth in their sector by enhancing independent research and development.


Newspaper headline: Trade talks to continue


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