China-U.S. trade relations move in a constructive direction

Updated 2018-05-17 10:12:03

U.S. President Donald Trump says he and Chinese President Xi Jinping are working to give Chinese telecom company ZTE, in his words, "a way to get back into business, fast." The Chinese Foreign Ministry welcomed the announcement and President Xi sent Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to visit the United States from Tuesday to Saturday for economic and trade talks.

Could this be the beginning of mending frayed economic ties – or is it just another bargaining chip to gain trade concessions? CGTN's World Insight invited two guests to share their views on the issue, one is Liu Baocheng, the dean of the Center for International Business Ethics at the University of International Business and Economics. Another is Douglas Paal, the vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"I would say it was a precondition to having negotiations," said Douglas Paal, characterizing the issue in a different way.

Earlier this month, the Chinese technology company suspended its main operations after an American supply ban was imposed by the U.S. government. The ban came amid heightened trade tensions between China and the U.S.. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is currently in the U.S. to have trade negotiations, so with the ZTE issue hanging in front of everyone, Paal said, "it was necessary to get that out of the way in order to move forward."

About 10 days ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin led the U.S. delegation to China for trade negotiations. But during the discussion, the U.S. side appeared to be confused about what its priorities are. "I think President Trump and his people have been authorizing everything can go, anything you wanna bring up, bring up. But someone now has to make decisions about what's more important in these negotiations, and what's less important," Mr. Paal said.

Professor Liu pointed out that the ZTE issue is an isolated case which is not tied to the tariff issues: "It's hanging on both sides when China is also ready to retaliate."

Professor Liu feels positive about the ongoing second round of negotiations. "Of course there has been a large gap during the round of talks with seven people coming to China and it is also good to see there is going to be a chance for further engagement and hopefully, when the bottom lines of both sides are being better understood, then they will really move into a constructive direction."

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