Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan speaks to reporters on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – China can “absolutely” reach an agreement with the United States on opening up its financial sector, China’s top banking regulator said on Tuesday, even as the country’s commerce minister admitted talks with Washington had been difficult.

The two countries have been working to resolve a bitter trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and disrupted world supply chains in a blow to global growth.

The United States and China appear close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, as Beijing makes pledges on structural economic changes and eliminates retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday.

Washington has accused China of limiting market access for U.S. firms, forcing companies to transfer technology and providing little protection for intellectual property rights. The United States has also expressed concerns about the value of China’s yuan.

Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), told reporters on the sidelines of the annual meeting of parliament that China did not engage in competitive devaluation of the yuan currency.

Speaking separately on parliament’s sidelines, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on Tuesday that trade talks with the United States have been difficult but that working teams from both countries are continuing with their negotiations.

The trade talks have achieved a breakthrough in some areas, Zhong said, adding that both China and the United States and the global economy stand to benefit if both countries can reach a trade deal.

China and the United States should seek common ground while setting aside their differences if they want to reach a consensus, Zhong added.

Reporting by Ryan Woo and Stella Qiu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Shri Navaratnam


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