Beijing urged Washington on Wednesday to "adjust its outdated policies" on exports to China in light of a recent analysis saying U.S. policy in areas like high-tech goods "significantly contributes" to its trade deficit with China.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said it is hoped Washington will "create conditions for handling its trade deficit". China is "willing to expand imports from the U.S. based on the actual needs of the domestic market", Lu said, responding to a question about the analysis at Wednesday's daily news conference in Beijing.
China's trade surplus with the United States in the first quarter was 342.1 billion yuan (.7 billion), a year-on-year increase of 6.7 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs.
"A significant amount of U.S. potential exports to China were blocked by its political barriers," according to an analysis published on April 10 on the website of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading U.S.-based think tank.
It said that according to data from 2004 to 2009, if the U.S. were to liberalize export barriers against China to the same level as those applied to France, U.S. exports to China would increase by an estimated .7 billion to billion, narrowing the deficit by 20.3 to 33.7 percent.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has raised concerns about the U.S. trade deficit with China on multiple occasions.
Beijing has repeatedly complained about U.S. restrictions on exports in areas such as high-tech goods and urged Washington to lift them.
Huang Songping, head of General Administration of Customs, said on April 13 that "U.S. restrictions on high-tech exports to China is one of the factors behind the U.S. trade deficit with China".
Lu noted that the two countries are each other's largest trade partner, and "there is great potential" for reinforcing their economic and trade cooperation. Beijing is ready to act on the agreement President Xi Jinping and Trump reached in their recent meeting to expand pragmatic cooperation and properly tackle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and communication, he said.
Chen Fengying, a senior researcher on the world economy at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, noted that U.S.-based transnational companies also contribute to a large portion of the deficit.
"Part of their production overseas will eventually go back to the U.S. and get registered as imports. So it is extremely wrong to use trade to examine U.S. economic activities worldwide," Chen said.