MOFCOM: China, U.S. make 'substantial progress' in trade talks
Updated 16:42, 18-Oct-2019

China and the U.S. held "frank, efficient and constructive discussions" on the economic and trade issues of common concern and made "substantial progress," said Gao Feng, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday. 

"The two sides had candid, highly efficient, and constructive discussions. The substantial progress was the result of the two countries' following the same direction and taking care of each other's concerns," the spokesman said. 

At present, both sides are stepping up consultations to try to implement the trade agreement, said Gao, adding that to meet domestic needs, Chinese companies have been importing products from the U.S. in accordance with the principle of marketization. The ministry shed further light on this, and on what's next. 

Gao said the two sides have reached their first-stage agreement, and admitted that Beijing has agreed to import more American agricultural products. 

"The first-stage agreement holds that China will increase imports of agricultural products from the United States, and the U.S. will create good conditions for this, according to China's domestic needs and the principles of marketization." 

Gao stopped short of saying what conditions America will provide, nor did he discuss China's future plans for purchasing. 

But he did talk import numbers. 

"China has imported some American agricultural products already, mainly 20 million tons of soybeans, 700,000 tons of pork, 700,000 tons of sorghum, 230,000 tons of wheat, and 320,000 tons of cotton.” 

At the press conference, CGTN reporter asked the spokesman whether the top leaders of the two countries plan to reach a complete agreement at the APEC summit in Chile next month, but the spokesman didn't give a specific timeline. He only said that the two sides are busy discussing the wording of the agreement, based on equal treatment and mutual benefits. 

"China's position, principles, and goals for China-U.S. trade talks have never changed. The ultimate goal of the two sides' consultations is to stop the trade war and eliminate all tariffs. This is beneficial to China, the United States, and the world," Gao said.  

Riding the progress of last week's China-U.S. trade talks, officials in Beijing Thursday said areas like agriculture, intellectual property protection, technology transfers and dispute resolution look promising.

(CGTN's Wang Hui also contributed to the story.)

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