China wants trade deal with US, but will retaliate if needed, says Xi

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2019   •   653

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) speaks during a meeting with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva (not pictured) as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) looks on, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 22 November 2019. EPA-EFE/JASON LEE

Beijing – China’s president said Friday his country wanted to work out an agreement with the United States to resolve the ongoing trade dispute but warned that he was also willing to take counter-measures if required.

This is the first public statement by Xi Jinping on the possibility of reaching a pact with Washington to end – at least temporarily – the tariff war that the world’s two biggest economies have been involved in since March 2018.

“When necessary, we will fight back. But we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war. We did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want,” Xi said at an economic forum in Beijing.

“As we always said we don’t want to start the trade war but we are not afraid,” he emphasized.

The Chinese leader said a possible agreement between the two countries should be based on “mutual respect and equality.”

The disputes with the US “may affect the future prospects of the world economy so this is a very important topic to watch”, said Xi. “We always hold positive attitude towards that.”

The remarks came a day after the Ministry of Commerce denied that the partial trade agreement between the two countries, known as phase one, was in jeopardy.

“At the moment, there are no more details to offer on the agreement, but the external rumors are not accurate,” Gao Feng, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, told reporters on Thursday.

The statement seemed to be a response to US President Donald Trump’s recent claim that Beijing was not taking the lead in the talks.

Trump also said that if a trade agreement is not achieved tariffs will rise even more.

Representatives from China and the US spoke on the telephone on Saturday to advance the agreement although no details of the call have been divulged so far.

In early November, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said it had reached an agreement with Washington to phase out the levies both parties have imposed during the trade dispute.

However, days later, Trump dampened hopes that the tariffs on Chinese products would be phased out and lowered expectations a deal could be met.

The two-year trade war has seen a tit-for-tat hike on tariffs in both countries.

Most recently on Sep. 1 by increasing a 10 percent tax on Chinese imports to 15 percent.

The hike would be worth around $112 billion.

It remains to be seen if on Dec. 15 the same increase will be applied to the remaining imports taxed currently at 10 percent.

If Washington does follow through, the tariff increase would be valued at some $300 billion.

Trade tensions between the two largest world economies go beyond bilateral relations and have profound global consequences.

In its latest global growth forecasts, released in July, the International Monetary Fund lowered its projections of global growth to 3.2 percent this year, one-tenth less than in April weighed down by doubts about a possible resolution of this dispute. EFE-EPA

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US gov’t sends additional P950 million aid for Odette-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government is allocating an additional P950 million ($19 million) in humanitarian assistance for communities affected by Typhoon Odette, its embassy in the Philippines said Wednesday.

In a statement, the embassy said the latest fund allocation brings the total US support to the Philippines to more than P1 billion ($20.2 million).

“The United States is pleased to announce an additional and significant assistance of P950 million, which brings our total amount of aid for Typhoon Odette to over P1 billion,” said U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim Heather Variava.

“We stand steadfast with our longstanding friend, partner, and ally in helping support communities devastated by the typhoon,” she added.

With this assistance, the US gov’t through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide food aid; water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to help keep people healthy; and shelter assistance to meet emergency needs and help affected communities start rebuilding their homes.

“This additional assistance will help deliver food and hygiene supplies, and provide life-saving support to those most in need,” the embassy said.

The P950 million funding is in addition to the P50 million ($1 million) announced earlier this week to support emergency logistics efforts to ensure aid is delivered to those in hard-to-reach areas.

This assistance also builds on the P10 million ($200,000) relief assistance that USAID provided immediately after the storm.

The embassy said Variava plans to visit communities affected by Typhoon Odette and see ongoing U.S. relief activities.

Since 2010, USAID has provided more than P17 billion ($340 million) in disaster relief and recovery aid, and boosted the disaster risk reduction capacity of over 100 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.

 

China sends 20,000 relief packs to Odette-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   December 21, 2021

The government of China is sending food packages for those affected by Typhoon Odette in Visayas and Mindanao areas, its Embassy in Manila said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy said relief packages worth P8 million pesos are on its way to areas devastated by the typhoon.

These areas include Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Cagayan de Oro City, Surigao City, and Negros Oriental.

Each package contains five kilograms of rice, 10 canned food and 10 noodles pack, it added.

“Our hearts go out to all the Filipino families who were devastated by Typhoon Odette which has caused massive casualties as well as property loss,” the statement read.

“China will do its utmost to continue its firm support to the disaster relief efforts of the Philippine government and the Filipino people. We wish all those affected could overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date.” It added.

In addition to food packages, China also sent 4.725 million kilograms of rice to typhoon-hit areas.

The embassy said about 1.5 million kilograms were allocated for Cebu, while the 3.225 million kilograms in Manila will be transported to other areas.

“We thank the Philippine government, in particular the Department of Social Welfare and Development for their great efforts in urgently distributing these rice to those Filipino families in need,” it said.

Typhoon Odette left many casualties and a trail of destruction when it battered many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao last week.

Local authorities fear the death toll could still go up in the coming days as verification process continues.

Duterte to join democracy summit hosted by US – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the “Summit for Democracy” to be hosted by the United States government this week, Malacañang said.

In a statement, the Office of the President said Duterte will join the summit set on December 9 to 10 “upon the invitation of US President Joe Biden.”

“President Biden has invited heads of state and government, other government leaders and voices from the business and nongovernment sectors to join the US in taking action to strengthen democracy,” the Palace said.

Malacañang said Duterte “has accepted” Biden’s invitation.

“President Duterte likewise welcomes the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy,” it added.

Biden will convene world leaders from government, the private sector, business and the civil society in the virtual summit. It will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad, according to the US State Department.

The summit has three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

The United States said the summit will offer an opportunity to listen, learn, and engage with a diverse range of actors whose support and commitment is critical for global democratic renewal.

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