Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the APEC meetings today. The two leaders will also hold a state visit Wednesday. China and the U.S have already negotiated a potential breakthrough on a global information technology agreement that could lower tariffs on electronic components, but progress on key issues from free trade to maritime security still need to be worked out. CCTV America’s Nathan King reported this story.
The bilateral meetings at Zhongnanhai with its beautiful lakes, fountains and guest houses was the relaxed setting where the two leaders and their teams met face to face. Located next to the Forbidden City, Zhongnanhai was once an imperial garden but now serves as the center of power for China’s government and for the Communist Party of China.
As the two leaders walked together along a brightly lit bridge, Xi told Obama about the history of the gardens through a translator. Obama asked Xi when the facility was built.
Xi said it was important to learn about China’s modern history in order to understand the Chinese people’s current aspirations and the path forward that they have chosen. During the walk, Xi said he hoped Obama’s visit will achieve fruitful results.
After the walk, the two leaders began their bilateral meeting to exchange views on Sino-U.S. ties and major international and regional issues. Obama told Xi that the wants to take U.S.-China relations to “a new level.” After the meeting they had a private dinner.
The walk ant talk was preceded by an announcement earlier in the day of a way forward on a long-sought global information technology agreement that could reduce tariffs by 25 percent on vital equipment like semiconductors.
“These efforts are not always large and public; they don’t always get a lot of attention. But they represent the important strides in bringing our people closer together and making our economies stronger,” Obama said.
When it comes to global trade, the two countries have yet to agree with the U.S pushing for a 12-member trade pact called the Trans Pacific Partnership that, for now, excludes China even as China got the backing of APEC leaders to form a regional trade plan that would seek to include all the APEC area economies.
“The approval of the road map symbolizes the start of the process of setting up the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area, and demonstrates the confidence and resolve of members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation to push forward regional economic integration. This is a historic decision, which will bring Asia-Pacific regional economic integration to a higher level,” Xi said.
This bilateral meeting between China and the U.S sets the stage for a state visit early Wednesday. Other breakthroughs could be announced including an easing of military tensions close to China’s coasts, progress toward a bilateral investment treaty, and joint action on climate change.
Story compiled with the information from CCTV America, Xinhua News, and AP reports.
China, U.S. reach IT trade breakthrough
China and the U.S have reached a breakthrough in talks on eliminating duties on information technology products, a deal which that covers $1 trillion in trade, and marks a significant accomplishment amid strained ties between the two countries.
The breakthrough would allow the “swift conclusion” on talks to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at the WTO in Geneva later this year, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported.
More than 200 tariffs will be reduced to zero under the new agreement including medical equipment, GPS devices, video game consoles, and next-generation semiconductors, the White House said. Among the products that would see tariffs eliminated are next-generation semiconductors, which now have tariffs as high as 25 percent; magnetic resonance-imaging, or MRI, machines, which face tariffs of up to 8 percent; and GPS devices, which also have tariffs as high as 8 percent, the U.S. said.
U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled the deal Tuesday morning in Beijing at a gathering of leaders of the APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. He said the U.S. and China reached an “understanding” on the pact that it “will contribute to a rapid conclusion to the broader negotiations in Geneva.”
The ITA was first formed under the World Trade Organization among countries that wanted to cut tariffs on technology goods. In 2012, members of the agreement decided to add a list of new products to the tariff-cutting list to reflect new technologies.
Story compiled with the information Reuters.