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China-U.S. Beijing trade talks make "useful progress": U.S. expert

Xinhua Financein NEW YORK
2019-01-11 10:45

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File Photo: Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. (Xinhua/REUTERS)


The just-concluded U.S.-China trade talks in Beijing achieved "useful progress" and both parties are expected to narrow down their differences further in addressing the trade tension between the world's two largest economies, said a U.S. expert.

"Let me be frank in saying that I belong to a very tiny minority who has always viewed that a deal between the two sides is eminently do-able," Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"I am glad to see that both sides have made positive moves in this regard. I have felt that the two sides were never as far apart as has been deliberately mischaracterized by the Washington establishment and by hardline figures in the Trump administration," he said.

There was "never much of a problem" with regard to China's foreign investment policies although further liberalization would have been welcome, and was necessary to level the playing field, he said.

"There were issues with regard to certain Chinese foreign investment-related practices. But that these practices were leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of 'theft' was a gross falsehood perpetrated by motivated parties in the United States and the Anglosphere," he said.

"As it now appears, there has been useful progress in addressing these 'practices'-related concerns," Gupta said. "Given that the gaps between the two sides in reality was never as large as advertised, I fully expect that both parties will be able to narrow down their differences further."

"That significant market access-related concerns have also been successfully dealt with, including agricultural biotechnology-related approvals, which adds to the sense of optimism," he said.

"It is instructive to note that just on Tuesday, the World Bank released a pessimistic outlook for the global economy in 2019. At this time, the most important factor weighing down on the global economy is policy uncertainty," he said, adding "a good deal of that uncertainty stems from the ongoing trade frictions" between the U.S. and China.

"As such, both countries, being major players in the global economy, have a responsibility to put their trade and investment relationship back onto a stable and productive track," he said.

Further, he said, from China's long-term growth perspective, there is no fundamental contradiction between stabilizing aggregate and continuing with a new era of reform and opening-up policies, particularly in the sphere of liberalization of foreign investment policies and practices in the goods and services sectors.

"Such liberalization generates strong internal drivers of growth, delivers the economy to a higher productivity frontier, and reduces the temptation for (unsustainable) debt-fueled, excess investment-led growth," he said.

China and the United States held vice-ministerial-level talks on economic and trade issues in Beijing from Monday to Wednesday.
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