By John Geddie and Fathin Ungku
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China is ready to hold discussions and work with the United States to resolve trade disputes because the world’s two largest economies stand to lose from confrontation, Vice President Wang Qishan said on Tuesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose further tariffs on $267 billion (204 billion pounds)of Chinese imports into the United States if the two countries cannot reach an agreement on trade, ahead of his expected meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
“Both China and the U.S. would love to see greater trade and economic cooperation,” Wang told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.
“The Chinese side is ready to have discussions with the U.S. on issues of mutual concern and work for a solution on trade acceptable to both sides,” he said.
“The world today faces many major problems that require close cooperation between China and the United States,” he said. “It is our firm belief that China and the U.S. will both gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.”
Wang echoed comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday at a major trade expo that Beijing will embrace greater openness, amid mounting frictions with the United States.
Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to U.S. business and a gaping trade deficit.
Wang said Beijing supports the settlement of international disputes via rules and consensus and stands against unilateralism and protectionism.
“Our relationship will have a direct impact on global stability and development,” he said.
“Trade and economic cooperation remain the anchor and propeller of a steady and healthy China-US relationship which is in essence mutually beneficial. China will stay calm and sober-minded, embrace greater openness and work for mutual benefit.”
(Reporting by John Geddie and Fathin Ungku; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer)