BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Monday praised a significant dialing back of trade tension with the United States, with the government saying agreement was in the interests of both countries while state media trumpeted what it saw as China’s refusal to surrender.
The cooling of tension elicited mixed reactions from U.S. business leaders dealing with China, with some happy to see the prospect of damaging tariffs fade, while others said it would be difficult for Washington to rebuild momentum to address what they see as troubling Chinese policies.
A trade war was “on hold” after the world’s largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
The previous day, Beijing and Washington said they would keep talking about measures under which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities from the United States to narrow the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China.
Speaking at a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said both countries had clearly recognized that the reaching of a consensus was good for all.
“China has never hoped for any tensions between China and the United States, in the trade or other arenas,” Lu said.
But Chinese media was also quick to point out how the country had successfully defended its interests.
Mei Xinyu, a commerce ministry researcher, wrote on the WeChat account of the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily that the agreement preserved China’s right to develop its economy as it sees fit, including moving up the value chain.