Op-ed: China-US economic and trade relations should be treated objectively

Most US industry representatives has strongly opposed the planned additional tariffs on Chinese goods during hearing sessions held by the Office of the US Trade Representative. Such voices should not be ignored by Washington.

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By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

The Information Office of the State Council held a press conference on Tuesday to elaborate on a white paper titled “The Facts and China’s Position on China-US Trade Friction”, which clarifies the Chinese government’s position regarding its trade frictions with the US.

What led to the China-US trade friction? The US exaggerated that it was its “disadvantaged position” in the trade relationship with China, claiming that US jobs were stolen and the US economy was hurt in foreign economic and trade relations. Under  this excuse, it took protectionist trade policies willfully.

The white paper refuted the US rhetoric with statistics. In 2015, imports from China drove up the US gross domestic product by 0.8 percentage points. In the same year, exports to China and two-way investment pushed US economic growth rate up by 1.2 percentage points and supported 2.6 million jobs in America.

Trade with China saved every American family $850 of expenditure each year, equivalent to 1.5% of the average household income in the US.

The economic and trade cooperation between the world’s largest developing country and largest developed country is win-win and mutually beneficial in essence. Both China and the US have reaped enormous economic benefits from such cooperation, which cannot be denied by any one-sided rhetoric.

The US is under no circumstance at a disadvantage in trading with China. If it were, the trade pattern would be adjusted by the market. After all, the US is the world’s largest economy, and the American enterprises, which are experienced in dealing with the Chinese market, will not sit to see the US lose in such trade relations.

After taking trade in goods, trade in services, and global operation of multinational corporations into consideration, some insightful analysts hold the view that though a trade surplus is in China, a benefit surplus is actually with the US.

Unilateralism, protectionism, and economic hegemony are all against the tide of economic globalization. The American people are in the best position to feel the impacts.

Most US industry representatives has strongly opposed the planned additional tariffs on Chinese goods during hearing sessions held by the Office of the US Trade Representative. Such voices should not be ignored by Washington.

The current reality in China-US economic and trade ties is a result of decades-long cooperation and adaptation of international production in the course of economic globalization. It is unalterable.

By releasing the white paper, China is reminding the US that the gap in trade in goods alone is not a good indicator of China-US trade and economic cooperation, and the discussion of fair trade should not be detached from the principle of mutual benefit of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In addition, China should not be accused of forced technology transfer as it is against the spirit of contract.

The US side should be aware that China’s huge efforts and achievements with regard to intellectual property rights protection should not be ignored, and the Chinese government’s encouragement to Chinese business to go global should not be distorted as attempting to acquire advanced technologies through commercial merger and acquisition. China’s subsidy policy complies with WTO rules and should not be attacked.

It is hoped that the US will not ignore the facts.

Because of the US repeated provocation, the China-US trade frictions were aggravated to become a worldwide concern. The Financial Times said in a commentary that the US would destroy value-creating international supply chains and weaken the US and the global economy.

The US should consider to act as a major country to play its due role in the world. A major country should deal with the world in a comprehensive, objective and rational perspective.

To be responsible, the US should perceive China-US economic and trade relations in a comprehensive manner, bear in mind the large picture of the two countries’ strategic interests and international order, seek common ground while shelving divergence, and dissolve conflicts in a pragmatic approach.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China”, is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

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