China is willing to work with “American states, local councils, and businesses,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a speech on the communist nation’s economy on Monday.
“Opening up is a key driver of China’s fast and persistent growth. It is a basic national policy. We’ll upgrade our opening level, foster international cooperation, and seek new competitive advantages,” Xi told a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) symposium of state economists and sociologists in Beijing on Monday, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
“For all countries, regions, and businesses that are willing to work with us, including American states, local councils, and businesses, we must undertake cooperation proactively,” the CCP leader added.
Xi’s speech comes amid deteriorating economic relations between the U.S. and China over trade and technology disputes.
“Beijing used to have cozy relationships with Wall Street firms and American businesses with large operations in China, but that goodwill has thinned considerably in recent years. Among U.S. states, China has traditionally had close economic ties with the west coast – California, Oregon, and Washington – while its purchases of American agriculture products as part of the phase one trade deal have also boosted interactions with Midwest farm states,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) wrote on Tuesday.
In January, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a “phase one” trade deal with China pausing “a damaging trade war — involving retaliatory tariffs being slapped on billions of dollars worth of goods — between the world’s top two economies that started in 2018,” according to CNBC.
A key feature of the phase one trade deal was China’s commitment to buy at least $200 billion more from America over two years, compared to 2017 purchases. However, recent data compiled by the Peterson Institute for International Economics shows that “[i]n the first half of 2020, China bought less than a quarter of the targeted full-year amount of U.S. goods agreed under the deal.”
Trade representatives from the U.S. and China reviewed the progress of their phase one trade deal in a conference call on Tuesday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He. The representatives said that the U.S. and China had made some progress in implementing the deal since its signing in January. The parties agreed to “create conditions and atmosphere” to ensure its future success.
The CCP has increasingly pressured local U.S. governments to promote Beijing’s interests in recent years.