China hopes the United States will join efforts to explore appropriate ways to resolve differences and promote cooperation between the world's two largest economies, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Analysts said that to resolve the current trade disputes, the two countries should shift their focus to making the economic pie bigger in order to benefit both, as the two economies are complementary.
Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said at a news conference that the country is open to resuming negotiations with the U.S. on bilateral investment and initiating talks on a free-trade agreement at a proper time. "But regrettably, the U.S. has failed to demonstrate its sincerity."
China and the U.S. initiated talks in 2008 on a bilateral investment treaty, the signing of which will ease two-way investment procedures. The ongoing trade tensions have brought more uncertainty to its possibility of success.
He reiterated that China has not, and will not, engage in "economic aggression". On the contrary, China hopes to share opportunities with all its economic and trade partners and grow together with them to boost world economic growth.
Gao was responding to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence's accusations toward China last week. In a speech, Pence said the administration would levy even more tariffs, with the possibility of more than doubling the current level, unless a "fair and reciprocal" deal is made.
In response to Pence's claim that much of China's success was driven by U.S. investment and trade imbalances, Gao said the country does not deny the contribution U.S. investment has made to its economic growth, although it accounts for a small proportion of total foreign investment in China.
Since 1987, China has seen $2 trillion in foreign investment, of which the U.S. accounted for $81.4 billion, or 4.1 percent, according to the ministry.
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, said Chinese and U.S. policymakers should "make the economic pie bigger", build on the agreements already reached through bilateral negotiations and work to increase Sino-U.S. bilateral trade and opportunities in services trade, Wang said. They should also seek further tariff reductions through bilateral negotiations and re-engage in the Bilateral Investment Treaty talks.
Long Guoqiang, vice-president of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said the trade tensions will not change the two nations' overall economic complementarity, as they are complementary in terms of industrial structures, technologies and resources. "Their economic and trade relations will rise to a higher level in both scale and substance in the coming 10 years."