China confirms trade talks with Washington next month and trade still cornerstone in ties: commerce ministry

China confirms trade talks with Washington next month and trade still cornerstone in ties: commerce ministry

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce confirmed on Thursday that China and the US will hold negotiations in January as scheduled, and the two may arrange meetings or phone calls as needed to talk about issues.

"Since the recent meeting of Chinese and US top leaders, the two sides have been communicating very closely and have arranged detailed topics to talk about for negotiations," Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday. 

If needed, the two sides could arrange meetings and phone calls at any time to act in line with the consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries, he said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the two sides plan to hold a formal, face-to-face meeting in January to negotiate a broader truce in the trade war.

Meanwhile, China and the US held vice-ministerial-level talks on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing trade issue.

"We've talked about issues in line with the interests of both sides, including more balanced trade, protection of intellectual property rights and so on, and have also exchanged views on trade negotiations," Gao told the Global Times.

Gao also rebutted the claim that the role of trade and cooperation between the two countries has been weakening in bilateral relations. "The common interests of the two countries in trade have been far greater than the divergences," Gao said.

More people have realized that China-US economic and trade relations should be put back on track as soon as possible, and the role of these relations as the cornerstone in bilateral ties should not be weakened but strengthened.

In 2017, the cargo volume of the two countries surpassed $580 billion and services trade exceeded $120 billion, Gao noted. Two-way investment volume also totaled over $230 billion. "These figures prove how close our ties are," he said.

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