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U.S. trade chief seeks 'frank conversations' with China

Amer Asia ReportU.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai said on Monday that the United States seeks "frank conversations" with the Chinese side on issues including implementation of the phase-one economic and trade agreement, and industrial policies. Tai made the remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on the Biden administration's approach to the U.S.-China trade relationship. "The U.S.-China trade and economic relationship is one of profound consequence," she said. "How we relate to each other does not just affect our two countries. It impacts the entire world and billions of workers." Tai said the Biden administration needs to "take a new, holistic, and pragmatic approach" to dealing with the trade relationship with China, while claiming that it will work with allies and like-minded partners towards building "truly fair international trade" and vowing to defend "American economic interests from harmful policies and practices" with old and new tools. "Our objective is not to inflame trade tensions with China," the U.S. official stressed, revealing that the Biden administration "will start a targeted tariff exclusion process." Tai also proposed a "durable coexistence" between the world's two largest economies. When asked about the U.S.-China economic decoupling, she said she didn't think full decoupling was a realistic outcome, adding that "the issue perhaps is what are the goals we're looking for in a kind of recoupling." The U.S. side is sending a signal that it is ready to hold talks and re-engage with the Chinese side on economic and trade issues, according to Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents over 200 American companies doing business with China. "So that's good, in a way it's sort of an invitation to start dialogue, again, and I think that's important," Allen told Xinhua in response to Tai's remarks. "We would like to see a roadmap to engage between USTR and Chinese counterparts, to resolve issues and to get rid of the tariffs." Last week, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said "the China-U.S. economic and trade relations are in essence mutually beneficial and win-win, and both sides stand to lose in a trade war." "We hope the United States will earnestly respect market economy principles and international trade rules, and work with China to strive for healthy and steady development of China-U.S. trade and economic relations," Hua added.

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