China urges US to lift Huawei ban as trade talks loom
Truce possible at Trump-Xi meeting at G-20 summit in Japan this weekend
BEIJING: The United States should immediately remove sanctions on Chinese telecom equipment-maker Huawei, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said yesterday, days before the two countries' leaders are due to meet for talks.
China opposes the US' abuse of export controls and urges the US to return to a track of cooperation, said the spokesman, Mr Gao Feng.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping was possible this weekend when they meet at the G-20 summit in Japan, but he was prepared to impose tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports if disagreement persisted.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Xi planned to present Mr Trump with terms for ending the trade dispute, including removing a ban on the sale of US technology to Huawei, citing Chinese officials with knowledge of the plan.
The report also said that China wants the US to lift all punitive tariffs and abandon efforts to get China to promise to buy even more US goods than it previously agreed to do - a reiteration of long-standing demands.
The US has put Huawei, the world's largest maker of telecom equipment and its second biggest maker of smartphones, on an export blacklist, citing national security issues.
The listing bars US suppliers from selling to it without special approval.
"We urge the United States to cancel immediately sanctions on Chinese companies including Huawei to push for the healthy and stable development in Sino-US ties," Mr Gao said, when asked whether the two sides were expected to reach a deal on measures facing Huawei and other Chinese tech firms.
Mr Gao noted that Mr Xi told Mr Trump during a phone call last week - a gesture that rekindled hopes of a deal - that he hoped the US could treat Chinese firms fairly.
Earlier last month, the US accused China of reneging on pledges to reform its economy, infuriating Beijing and leading to a collapse in trade talks.
The US Commerce Department announced last week it was adding several Chinese companies and a government-owned institute involved in supercomputing with military applications to its national security "entity list" that bars them from buying US parts and components without government approval.
China would consider putting foreign firms on a list designating them "unreliable" if they adopted discriminatory measures against Chinese entities, hurt its industries and threaten its national security, Mr Gao said.
Details of the list would be released soon, he said.
Asked about a news report that a truce in the trade war with the US had been struck after Mr Trump agreed to halt the next round of US tariffs on another US$300 billion (S$406 billion) of Chinese goods, Mr Gao said China would welcome action that helped reduce tension.
"We welcome actions that help manage differences and prevent an escalation in frictions," he said, without answering directly whether a deal was expected at the summit.
Yesterday, the South China Morning Post said the US and China had agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute, citing sources.
The Wall Street Journal said the chief US trade negotiator, Mr Robert Lighthizer, and his Chinese counterpart, Mr Liu He, were expected to meet before the leaders.
The Presidents are expected to meet for talks in Osaka on Saturday. - REUTERS