China Urges Biden to Scrap Tariffs, Restore Goodwill After Trump

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(Bloomberg) — China urged the Biden administration to take steps to “build up goodwill,” including removing tariffs and sanctions, as Beijing continued to put the onus on Washington to repair their fractured relationship.

© Photographer: AFP Contributor/AFP Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi walks by US and Chinese national flag as he prepares to meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 30, 2017.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a forum Monday in Beijing that the two sides should reopen dialogue platforms cut off under former President Donald Trump and back away from some of the previous administration’s policies. He reiterated the need to remove “unreasonable tariffs” and cited curbs on Chinese media and students as another issue of concern.

“Under the current circumstances, the two sides may start from easier things, interact actively and build up goodwill,” Wang said, adding that Beijing and Washington were still capable of “getting big things done” for the world. “We hope that the U.S. side will adjust its policies as soon as possible.”

The speech in Beijing represents China’s most high-profile comment on ties since U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping spoke by phone before the Lunar New Year holiday earlier this month. While both sides want to stabilize a relationship shaken during Trump’s term, Biden has signaled a desire to maintain many of his predecessor’s China policies.

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In his call with Xi, Biden expressed concern about what he said were China’s coercive and unfair economic practices” as well as human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. Xi cautioned Biden against interfering in what it considers its own internal affairs and urged the U.S. help re-establish communication mechanisms to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation.

Wang’s comments Monday about easing visa pressure on Chinese students and media, which echoed remarks by top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi earlier this month, pointed to one possible area of compromise. Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said in January that the U.S. could reverse such actions to build confidence with China.

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