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Premier Li: Use dialogue to address friction

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Mar 28,2018 6:59 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang talks with visiting US Senator Steve Daines in Beijing on March 27. Daines was leading a congressional delegation to China.[Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang called on the United States to work with China in solving trade friction through dialogue and negotiations, but China is fully prepared to respond to any possible trade war.

Premier Li reiterated China’s stance facing a possible trade war between the two countries for a second consecutive day when he met with a US congressional delegation headed by Senator Steve Daines in Beijing on March 27.

Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum for a plan that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China and curb Chinese investment in the US.

The two countries have made progress in bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties decades ago despite twists and turns, Premier Li said. President Xi Jinping and Trump have met several times and maintained communications, he said.

“Using a trade war to address trade friction and disputes will be irrational and not pragmatic,” Premier Li said. “Trade disputes and friction can be addressed with dialogue and negotiations, but China is fully prepared to respond to such scenarios.”

The Premier said the trade sanctions violate fundamental rules and cannot solve the problem. “As the world’s largest developing and developed countries, China and the US should maintain stable relations, because the two economies are highly complementary,” he said.

“China-US trade has grown to such a large volume over the past several decades, it is natural to see a certain amount of friction and disputes, ”Premier Li said. “It’s important that we take a proactive approach to seek a balanced solution to existing problems. We should uphold the overall stability of China-US economic ties. Eventually we should find a way that serves the interests of both countries and the world.”

The US should work with China in a rational and pragmatic way and safeguard multilateral trading rules, he said. Premier Li also said it is hoped the US Congress plays a constructive role in safeguarding political foundations for bilateral ties.

On March 26, he told CEOs of multinational companies who were at the China Development Forum 2018 that the two countries should achieve balanced trade by expanding trade volume and tackling friction through dialogue.

The senators said China-US ties are among the most important bilateral relations in the world and there is no reason for conflicts between the two countries. The US Congress would like to help solve trade friction in a mutually beneficial way, which is expected to bring continuous benefits to both peoples, they said.