China softens stance on trade after saying it has to take counter-measures to US tariffs

China hopes to “meet the U.S. halfway” on trade issues, the foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday. The statement came after China said it will have to take the necessary counter-measures to President Donald Trump’s latest tariffs threat.

“We hope the U.S. side will meet China half-way, and implement the consensus reached by the two leaders during their meeting in Osaka, and look for mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” China’s spokesperson at the foreign ministry Hua Chunying said Thursday, according to a CNBC translation. The statement drove stock futures higher.

“On the basis of equality and mutual respect, we will find mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue and consultation,” Hua said.

China’s State Council Tariff Committee said earlier the U.S. tariffs “seriously violated” a consensus reached by leaders of two countries at the G-20 summit.

Trump early this month abruptly ended the cease-fire with China by threatening to slap duties on $300 billion of Chinese goods from Sept. 1. Some additional tariffs are now delayed to December and some items have been removed on the tariff list, the administration announced Wednesday.

Trump said the move was designed to avoid any potential impact on holiday shopping ahead of the Christmas season. The president said Wednesday in a tweet the deferral “helps China more than us, but will be reciprocated.”

The trade negotiators from both sides have agreed to hold discussions again in two weeks, China’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday.

However, there are still many “structural issues” the U.S. needs to settle with China before they can reach a deal, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said on Wednesday. These issues include cyber intrusion into U.S. business networks, forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft and currency manipulation, he said.

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