WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (Reuters) – US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday that her engagement with China is aimed at easing the temperature of a trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies that has become dangerously heated.
Speaking at a National Chicken Council meeting, Tai said the US-China relationship has reached a point where “it feels a bit like a pile of dry tinder” and that a misunderstanding “will probably just start a giant fire with really, really drastic consequences for all of us.”
Tai held a phone call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He this month to discuss China’s lack of compliance with a “Phase 1” trade deal with the United States reached under former President Donald Trump.
US officials viewed the call as a test of bilateral cooperation with Beijing, while Chinese officials urged Tai to remove tariffs on Chinese goods.
Tai said on Thursday that her goal is to “lower the temperature so we can have a sober relationship and a sober conversation about how to stabilize the parts of our trade that are working.”
The US Department of Agriculture predicts that US chicken meat exports to China are expected to grow 3% to 930,000 tons next year as Chinese consumers add more meat to their diets.
“China has a huge market, a huge population – and they all need to be fed. It needs agricultural products. That’s something we can provide,” Tai added.
Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Will Dunham
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