By Bloomberg News
Chinese officials are working on the text of an agreement on trade in close contact with U.S. negotiators, and have begun discussions on the next stage, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing in Beijing Thursday.
“The two sides are in the process of consultation on the text of the first phase agreement and are having specific discussions on the work arrangements for the next phase,” Gao said. China’s aim is to end the trade war and remove all tariffs, Gao said, reiterating the government’s standard position in the trade war with the U.S.
Bloomberg reported that Beijing needs further talks before it is ready to sign an agreement first made verbally last week, which would see China increase agricultural purchases from the U.S. in exchange for a limited reprieve on tariffs. The U.S. claimed China agreed to gradually increase buys of soybeans, pork and other farm goods to $40 billion to $50 billion annually at the most recent talks, but China hasn’t confirmed that. Gao declined to comment when asked about that number.
“Chinese enterprises will increase their purchases of American agricultural products according to domestic needs,” and the United States will create good conditions for those purchases, Gao said. He also repeated a previous statement from the Foreign Ministry listing all the agricultural purchases China has made so far this year.
“Chinese companies are still increasing their purchases of American agricultural products according to the needs of the domestic market,” he said. “The Chinese market is huge. Ending the trade war as soon as possible and abolishing the imposition of tariffs will be conducive to the expansion of bilateral cooperation in a broader economic and trade field, including agriculture.”
The yuan extended gains after Gao made the comments, with the onshore rate advancing to 7.0785 as of 4:55 p.m. in Shanghai.