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China, U.S. commerce chiefs to cooperate on handling differences, Beijing says

China, U.S. commerce chiefs to cooperate on handling differences, Beijing says

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Top U.S. and Chinese commerce officials spoke by telephone and agreed to promote healthy trade and cooperate over differences, China’s commmerce ministry said on Thursday, the latest high-level exchange as the countries spar over disagreements.

Both sides recognise the importance of business exchanges and will keep lines of communication open, the Chinese statement said after Commerce Minister Wang Wentao spoke with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

“They agreed to promote the healthy development of trade and investment and cooperate in a pragmatic way to handle their differences,” the Chinese ministry said.

Earlier this month, Chinese Vice Premier Liu spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and late last month he held a similarly “candid” exchange of views with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

The world’s two biggest economies are at loggerheads on a variety of fronts, with the U.S. Senate this week approving a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology, drawing strong criticism from Beijing.

On Wednesday, however, President Joe Biden withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of the popular Chinese-owned WeChat and TikTok, and ordered a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps and others.

In a Thursday editorial, official China Daily saying in an editorial that the U.S. technology legislation is “really deployment for Cold War.”

(Reporting by Colin Qian, Engen Tham and Tony Munroe; Editing by Tom Hogue and Michael Perry)

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