Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Will China’s Farm Goods Purchase Signal a Trade Deal?
By Hu Weijia
Global Times
2019/7/23 21:03:40

Chinese importers are considering new purchases of US farm products, but it would be simplistic or premature to claim that the trade dispute between the US and China over agricultural exports has reached a happy ending.

Some Chinese companies have made new inquiries on US farm products, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday, citing Chinese authorities.

Beijing has showed its sincerity to build a good atmosphere for face-to-face trade talks with the US that are likely to be held soon.

China has also felt the goodwill signaled by Washington as US President Donald Trump said in June that he would ease restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The two countries are moving closer to their first face-to-face trade negotiations after the talks reached a stalemate in May.

Both sides clearly understand each other's bottom line. Economic ties won't be completely cut off regardless of how the trade war develops, because the two countries are highly interdependent in countless economic fields. Goodwill signs by each country to the other remind people of the sustained resilience of Sino-US relations.

The resumption of trade negotiations will end the deadlock between China and the US in broader relations. However, Beijing and Washington still face the arduous task of ironing out their differences to reach a trade agreement at an earlier date.

It's supposed to be a bargaining seesaw process in which both sides play their cards and find a balance that suits each other's interests. This process will be difficult, and it's possible that the process could encounter new problems and return to a stalemate.

Both sides must be prepared for possible setbacks. It is the US that launched the trade war, and China has played defense from the start. It is believed after several rounds of contests on the table, China is thoroughly prepared for potential setbacks and won't only be playing defense.

After ups and downs, the Chinese people have realized what China's advantages are in weathering the trade war. Chinese society has formed a calm attitude toward the bilateral relationship.

Chinese importers are seeking new purchases of US agricultural products, but this process can be suspended at any time if the trade negotiations reach another impasse. It will take months for US exporters to ship their products by sea.

Trump's fickle temperament may make it hard for US farmers to seize this window of opportunity to export their goods to China.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

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