China, US ink $250 bn trade deals to mark Donald Trump's first visit

Cash-rich China on Thursday wooed the US by signing deals worth more than USD 250 billion during President Donald Trump's first visit, amidst his criticism of the Communist giant's unfair business practices and the "chronic imbalance" in bilateral trade.

China, US ink $250 bn trade deals to mark Donald Trump's first visit

Beijing: Cash-rich China on Thursday wooed the US by signing deals worth more than USD 250 billion during President Donald Trump's first visit, amidst his criticism of the Communist giant's unfair business practices and the "chronic imbalance" in bilateral trade.

The deals were signed at a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump at the Great Hall of the People after the two leaders held wide-ranging talks. Xi had hosted Trump yesterday at the iconic Forbidden City, home for Chinese emperors.

In statements to reporters after their talks, Xi and Trump offered placatory views of US-China ties, and insisted that differences between the two countries would be cast aside in place of a cooperative partnership.

"We want a vibrant trade relationship with China," Trump said. "We also want a fair and reciprocal one. Today, I discussed with President Xi the chronic imbalance in our relationship as it pertains to trade and the concrete steps it will take to solve the problem of massive trade distortion."

Ahead of his visit, Trump has said the massive trade deficit in bilateral trade is a shame, and has been pressuring China, the world's second largest economy, to open its huge market more for US products and firms.

The US goods and services trade with China totalled to an estimated USD 648.2 billion in 2016 in which China had a lion's share with about USD 478.9 billion exports. The US exports to China stood at USD 169.3 billion, according to US trade figures.

In his remarks, Xi also offered a conciliatory view of the US-China ties, insisting that bilateral differences could be resolved.

"As two distinctive countries our two sides may have different views or differences on some issues. This is natural," Xi said. "They key is to properly handle and manage them."

Trump also said he does not fault China for taking advantage of differences between the way the two countries do business.

"I don't blame China," Trump said during remarks to business leaders of both countries.

"After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens,'' I give China great credit."

Instead, Trump said previous US administrations were responsible for what he called "a very unfair and one-sided" trade relationship with China.

This, he said, allowed the trade deficit to take place and to grow.

The deals signed between Chinese and American companies included the purchase of 300 Boeing planes, US-made chip sets and soybeans.

Chinese and US companies signed trade and investment deals worth more than USD 250 billion, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Other official media reports put the figure around USD 253 billion. However, it is unclear how much of that figure is past deals being re-announced or simply the potential for future deals.

Facts have shown that China and the United States have huge potential in reciprocal economic and trade cooperation, President Xi said.

Significantly, China also managed to push its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was earlier criticised by the US.

China's Silk Road Fund, a unit under the People's Bank of China to promote the Belt and Road international trade initiative, will set up a joint fund with the US, Hong Kong- based South China Morning Post reported.

China had set up a USD 40 billion Silk Road fund to assist the BRI projects.

Among a long list of agreements ranging from shale gas to car parts, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, the state energy group, signed a USD 43 billion deal to jointly explore natural gas with the US in Alaska, the Post report said.

China's sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, will offer financial support. Bank of China, a Chinese state- owned bank, will help with finance, too.

Chinese phone makers, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo will sign deals to buy products from Qualcomm, the US telecom mobile chip-maker, the report said.

The US tech firm Broadcom made a USD 105 billion takeover bid for Qualcomm earlier this month.

China Investment Corp is to set up a joint fund with Goldman Sachs. Other deals include the Chinese purchase of planes from Boeing and the imports of Tesla cars into China, the report said.

Both sides inked deals worth USD 9 billion yesterday. 

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