China and the United States are still in frequent discussion about a bilateral trade pact, despite a challenging global trade environment, a Chinese commerce official said on Thursday.
China is keen to maintain open markets for its goods as its economy grows at its slowest pace in 25 years, but it faces rising trade tensions as its imports deteriorate faster than exports, setting it up for another record trade surplus. Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $336.2 billion, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's office. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to slap tariffs on Chinese products to show Beijing the United States is "not playing games anymore".
The United States - China's second-largest trade partner after the European Union - has imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese products and also brought cases against China at the World Trade Organization. "The global economy has not emerged from its difficulties, which has led a lot of countries to adopt trade protectionist policies," China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said in a rare conversation with reporters over coffee in a Starbucks cafe near Tiananmen Square.