The US and China will hold talks on Thursday and Friday in Beijing over trade disputes. According to the White House, the US delegation is composed of trade heavyweights including Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and Everett Eissenstat, deputy assistant to the US president for international economic affairs.
It seems that Washington is urgently and seriously wanting to resolve trade issues through talks. But a dialogue will hardly work if the US persists in pressing China to accept its conditions.
Washington had better not expect that its trade-war stick will force Beijing to take whatever the US delegation offers. The imminent dialogue must be held on an equal footing and the US delegation has to come with sincerity. Washington has labeled its mutually beneficial trade with China as China’s economic aggression, an unfounded accusation. Both sides need to admit their trade ties have contributed to their economic development and on this basis seek a balance. Their attitudes, demands and divergences have been clearly presented. They now need to find the greatest common ground.
The composition of the US delegation indicates the importance Washington attaches to China-US trade. We hope this can also be shown in how flexible the delegation will be in negotiations. China won’t abandon its principles despite pressure.
The US requirements are unrealistic, such as asking China to reduce its trade surplus with the US by $100 billion per year. Though Beijing has been willing to shrink the trade gap, it can’t be achieved by giving executive order.
Washington has opposed China’s subsidies for local high-tech companies in an attempt to curb the latter’s technological progress. But China is entitled to develop its high-tech industry. The US can only engage in consultations over technology disputes in accordance with WTO principles.
It’s understandable that the US is anxious over its widening trade deficit with China, but the reasons behind the deficit mostly come from within the US. With negotiations China and the US are supposed to facilitate the sustainable development of bilateral trade, not make rules by force.
The emergence of Chinese high-tech companies is unstoppable. The US is supposed to discuss with China about how to create an enabling environment for cooperation and fair competition between their high-tech companies. But it has actually discriminated against Chinese companies’ operations in the US and been selective about China’s high-tech exports out of political considerations.
China highly values the imminent trade talks. But several Chinese experts who were interviewed by the Global Times believe the two sides will unlikely clinch a deal soon and may continue the trade confrontation and the talks. A solution to China-US dispute must be a fair one. We hope the US delegation can at least have effective communications with China during the upcoming trip and push the two countries toward finding a solution to the dispute.
Posted in: EDITORIAL