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China's Wang vows to uphold trade deal during Biden administration: US business group

China's Wang vows to uphold trade deal during Biden administration: US business group

FILE PHOTO: China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi waves as he leaves a joint news conference with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool/File Photo

WASHINGTON: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured US executives during a videoconference on Sunday (Dec 6) that Beijing remained committed to the Phase 1 trade deal with the United States, the head of the US-China Business Council said.

"He definitely re-committed. On the Chinese side, it's all systems go. They will fulfil their commitments," US-China Business Council President Craig Allen told Reuters.

Wang's comments to the business group come amid recent moves by the government of outgoing US President Donald Trump to crack down on Chinese military companies and box incoming President-elect Joe Biden into hardline positions on Beijing.

The US-China Business Council, which represents 240 companies doing business in China, said it was pleased with Beijing's progress in implementing policy changes under the trade deal signed in January, although China had fallen short of targets for increased purchases of US goods and services.

READ: China calls for new talks with US after Biden win

As of October, Beijing's purchases of US goods and services, specified in the Phase 1 deal at US$75.5 billion for 2020, were about half the level they should be on a pro-rated annual basis, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"They are behind, but it's a two-year agreement," Allen said. "This has been a successful agreement in terms of changing China's policies that prevented a level playing field. But it's not complete. It's not finished, that's what Phase 2 is about."

Allen said members of the council's board pressed Wang on continued concerns about equal treatment of US companies, visa concerns and intellectual property rights, adding his hope that the world's two largest economies will start negotiations on a Phase 2 agreement without delay after US President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan 20.

READ: Biden vows no quick rollback of Trump's China tariffs

The US executives met for more than an hour via videoconference with Wang and other Chinese officials. Such meetings generally take place every year and are normally in person, he said.

Wang said little about the Phase 2 negotiations, which will be led by Vice Premier Liu He, Allen said.

Allen said Wang was "very forthcoming and replied to our concerns very clearly". Wang told the group there were more than100,000 US companies in China, and a lot were doing very well.

He said the group was keen to ensure that US companies are able to expand their access to their most important market, given China's middle class of around 400 million people, and the fact that it will generate 30 per cent of global growth in coming years.

Source: Reuters

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