China offers to up US imports: Bloomberg

- Reuters, New York

Jan 20, 2019-

China has offered to go on a six-year buying spree to ramp up imports from the United States in order to reconfigure the relation between the two countries, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

By raising annual goods imports from the United States by a combined value of more than $1 trillion, China would seek to reduce its trade surplus, which last year stood at $323 billion, to zero by 2024, one of the people told Bloomberg.

It was unclear how the offer differed from what China pledged when US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Buones Aires in December. At that meeting, China offered more than $1.2 trillion in additional commitments on trade, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

Reuters reported on Jan. 9 that US officials used three days of trade talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing to demand more details on China’s pledge to make big purchases of American goods. China offered similar commitments, albeit on a smaller scale, during talks in Washington last May.

The Bloomberg report on Friday helped drive a rally on Wall Street where main stock indexes were on track for their fourth week of gains, in part on hopes the United States and China would strike a deal to end a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. The two sides have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs that have disrupted hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce.

While increased purchases of US goods have been part of the talks, American negotiators have also focused on issues that would require structural change in China. Those include finding ways to end the misappropriation of intellectual property from US companies and halting industrial subsidies.

Halfway through a 90-day truce in the US-China trade war agreed to on Dec. 1 when Trump and Xi met during the G20 summit in Argentina, there have been few details provided of any progress made. On Tuesday, a Republican senator said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had told him he had seen no progress on structural issues.

Data on Monday showed China’s exports unexpectedly fell the most in two years

in December and imports also contracted, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy in 2019 and deteriorating global demand.

Published: 20-01-2019 10:59

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