BEIJING – China’s government on Monday praised a significant cooling of trade tensions with the United States, saying agreement was in both nations’ interests while state media trumpeted what it saw as Beijing’s refusal to surrender to U.S. economic threats, according to Reuters.
China’s relief, coming after talks last week between the world’s two largest economies, elicited mixed reactions from U.S. business leaders, with some happy to see the prospect of tariffs fade and others saying it would be hard for the Trump administration to regain momentum to address what they see as troubling Chinese policies.
A trade war was “on hold” after the United States and China agreed to drop their tariff threats while they worked on a wider trade agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will travel to China next week to help finalize a trade agreement, Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Monday.
In an interview earlier with CNBC, Mnuchin characterized the U.S. tariff plan as suspended. “If these things aren’t fixed and we don’t get what we want, the president can always put tariffs back on,” Mnuchin said.
Beijing and Washington said they have agreed to keep talking about measures under which China would import more U.S. energy and agricultural commodities to narrow the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China.
On Monday, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that China had pledged to buy “massive amounts” of U.S. agricultural products. He gave no specifics on China’s planned commitments in the wake of the talks on Thursday and Friday in Washington.
Speaking at a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said both countries had clearly recognized that the reaching of a consensus was good for all.
“China has never hoped for any tensions between China and the United States, in the trade or other arenas,” Lu said. But Chinese media was also quick to point out how the country had successfully defended its interests.
Mei Xinyu, a commerce ministry researcher, wrote on the WeChat account of the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily that the agreement preserved China’s right to develop its economy as it sees fit, including moving up the value chain.