Beijing/Washington: US and Chinese trade negotiators on Thursday held talks over the two countries’ ongoing trade dispute for the first time since American President Joe Biden took office in January.
The new US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and China’s Vice Premier Liu He spoke on Thursday, both sides have confirmed in separate statements.
“The two sides had frank, pragmatic and constructive exchanges,” dpa news agency quoted China’s Trade Ministry as saying in a statement.
The US gave a similar evaluation, noting a “candid exchange” between the two.
It added that during an “introductory virtual meeting”, Ambassador Tai discussed “the guiding principles of the Biden-Harris administration’s worker-centred trade policy and her ongoing review of the US-China trade relationship, while also raising issues of concern”.
The USTR also noted that she looks forward to future discussions with Vice Premier Liu, according to the US statement.
Both sides emphasised the importance of their trading relationship.
But the new administration sees China as its biggest competitor and has indicated that it will also pursue a tough course against Beijing, albeit in coordination with international allies.
China has been accused of unfair trade practices, government subsidies, market barriers, intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer.
Beijing and Washington have been embroiled in a trade war for three years.
The last contact between negotiators was in August 2020 during the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
The US and China reached a partial agreement last January with a so-called phase-one trade deal that served as a ceasefire in the trade war, with compliance to be reviewed every six months.
China pledged to significantly increase its imports from the US as part of the agreement.
Beijing is also demanding the US withdraw punitive tariffs imposed by Trump on almost all imports from China, more than Beijing could respond to with counter-tariffs.