China wants to reach an initial trade pact with the United States but is "not afraid" to fight back when necessary, President Xi Jinping said on Friday November 22nd, AFP reported. "We want to work for a phase-one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Xi told former US officials and other foreign visitors at a meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. "As we always said, we don't want to start the trade war but we are not afraid," Xi said responding to questions from representatives of the New Economy Forum, organised by Bloomberg LP.
Xi’s remarks came two days after US President Donald Trump complained that Beijing had not made sufficient concessions so far, making him reluctant to conclude a deal. "When necessary we will fight back but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war," he told the group, which included former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson and former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd.
The world's two biggest economies have been locked in a bruising trade conflict for more than a year, hitting each other with volleys of tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. Economists warn that such a prolonged dispute is elevating risks to the global economy by disrupting supply chains and curbing business confidence.
Completion of a phase one deal could slide into next year and delays would only bring more trouble, said Fred Hu, founder of the China-based global investment firm Primavera Capital Group. "The longer the time it takes, the more variables are there, such as the Hong Kong issue," Hu told Reuters on the sidelines of the Bloomberg forum.