US President Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping’s pledge to open up the world’s second-largest economy, even as the White House ruled out reversing the 25 per cent import tariffs worth USD 50 billion on Chinese products, saying America wants “concrete actions” from Beijing.
In his keynote address at the Boao Forum for Asia yesterday, Xi vowed to lower auto import tariffs, protect the intellectual property of foreign companies and further open the USD 12.84 trillion economies, the second largest in the world.
“China’s door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider,” Xi said.
“Very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers…also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers. We will make great progress together!” Trump tweeted.
The White House also issued a statement, praising Xi for his statement.
“Certainly, we are encouraged by President Xi’s words, his kind words. But at the same time, we want to see concrete actions from China, and we’re going to continue moving forward in the process and in the negotiations until those happen,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
The statements from both leaders follow a week of escalating tariff threats sparked by US’ concern over China’s trade and intellectual property policies, worrying financial markets over potential damage to global growth.
The world’s top two economies had edged towards an all-out trade war after Trump administration last week published a list of about 1,300 Chinese exports worth USD 50 billion that could be hit by US tariffs because of Beijing’s alleged theft of intellectual property and technology.
China in a retaliatory measure decided to impose an additional tariff of 25 per cent on 106 products under 14 categories worth USD 50 billion.
China has already slapped tariffs on 128 US products, including wine and pork, totalling to USD 3 billion in retaliation to Trump’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium.
The US State Department also hailed Xi’s remarks.
“We’ve been clear with the Chinese government in areas that are of concern to US workers, US companies, and the overall trade balance. We have had those conversations with them, so I think we’re looking like we’re in a better place,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert.
“What we may be seeing is China coming to terms with some of our concerns about unfair trade practices and the United States saying ‘we stand by to engage with you, the government of China and President Xi on that matter'”, she said.