Beijing urges Biden to lift tariffs

Top News | ASSOCIATED PRESS 23 Feb 2021

China's top diplomat called yesterday for US President Joe Biden's administration to lift curbs on trade and people-to-people contacts while ceasing what Beijing considers interference on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Wang Yi's comments at the foreign ministry's Lanting Forum on US-China relations come as Beijing presses the new US administration to drop many of the confrontational measures adopted by former President Donald Trump.

They included tariff increases on Chinese imports and bans and other curbs on tech companies and academic exchanges amid concerns about trade imbalances and accusations of theft of American technology.

Trump also upgraded military and diplomatic ties with Taiwan, while sanctioning officials blamed for abuses in Xinjiang and a crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong.

"We know the US is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy," Wang said. "We hope US policymakers will abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions and move to bring the China policy back to reason."

While Biden has pledged re-engagement and a more civil tone in US diplomacy, it is unclear whether he will make any fundamental changes in policies toward Beijing. China faces more opposition than ever in Washington due to its trade record, territorial disputes with neighbors, and accusations of technology theft and spying.

Taiwan enjoys strong bipartisan support, as do criticisms of China's human rights record.

Wang urged the US to stop smearing the reputation of the Chinese Communist Party and supporting the erroneous words and actions of separatist forces for Taiwan independence and stop undermining China's sovereignty on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

The pandemic, climate change and the global economic recovery are the three biggest issues on which the two sides can cooperate, he said.

On trade, Wang said China would defend the rights of US firms while hoping the US would "remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes and abandon irrational suppression of China's technological progress."

The US should also lift curbs on media, educational and people-to-people exchanges to reverse sharp declines in numbers of Chinese studying in the US and visits by Chinese for tourism or business, Wang said.

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