China’s Ministry of Commerce says that the Chinese government is maintaining close contact with US officials with respect to upcoming trade negotiations.
At a MOFCOM press conference held on 10 May, spokesperson Gao Feng said that Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump had engaged in a phone conversation on 8 May, reaching “important common understandings” with respect to the appropriate handling of the ongoing trade dispute.
Xi reportedly said that the development of Sino-US relations has reached an important stage, and hopes that both parties can earnestly implement the common understandings reached at recent meetings in Beijing.
“At present, the work teams of both sides are maintaining communication on arrangements in relation to upcoming negotiations,” said Gao.
“China has never wanted to start a trade war, but is also not afraid of engaging in a trade war.
“We hope that both parties can continue in-depth communication, pragmatically strengthen cooperation, appropriately contain differences, and jointly advance the stable and healthy development of Sino-US economic and trade relations in accordance with the principles of mutual respect and equal dialogue.”
The ongoing trade dispute between China and the US first kicked off in earnest at the start of April, when the Trump administration issued the results of its 301 investigation, mooting the possibility of a 25% tariff on up to USD$50 billion in Chinese imports.
Gao Feng reiterated China’s position with regard to the proposed tariffs, stating that “we oppose this unilateral, protectionist method…the US must withdraw its threatening cudgel.
“We will firmly defend the interests of the nation and the people…China’s position has not changed, and also will not change.”