By Huang Ge Source:Global Times
Two days of trade consultations between China and the US, which ended on Thursday, showed that both countries do not want an all-out trade war and that disputes might be resolved through further talks by mid-2019, Chinese experts said on Friday.
At the invitation of the US side, a Chinese delegation conducted “constructive and candid” exchanges on economic and trade issues of mutual concern with their US counterparts in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.
The two sides will keep in contact on the next arrangement, the ministry said on its website.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular press conference on Friday the vice-ministerial level consultations have ended in Washington and the two countries will keep in contact on future arrangements.
As to statements made by some US officials, Lu said China prefers to keep quiet during consultations rather than “shouting out occasionally to boost courage.”
“If they want the Chinese people to hear this, they should realize that facts have proven them to be futile and meaningless; if they want their own people to hear it, maybe they really need to do it [to buy some courage],” Lu said.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the two countries discussed “how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in their economic relationship, including by addressing structural issues in China,” Reuters reported on Friday.
“It seems that no significant progress had been made in this round of consultations, but the US and China recognize that trade disputes will do no good to both sides, and they hope to maintain effective consultations,” Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.
The ultimate goal for the US for starting a trade war was to curb China’s rapid growth, and given such, it is difficult for the two countries to reach a consensus in a short period of time, Sang said.
“The US has many demands to extract more favorable conditions from China in negotiations, but it is unrealistic to comply with US demands, and this is the largest discrepancy between the two countries,” he noted.
The two nations will further discuss topics, including intellectual property rights protection, government subsidies, duty levels, market access, foreign investment restrictions and technology transfer in the future, Sang said.
But some requests from the US are unfair, violate WTO rules and harm China’s economic sovereignty, and China will never give in, experts said.
Aside from bilateral consultations, what matters more is to bring the US to discuss problems under the multilateral trading system and to set up a long-term communication mechanism between China and the US to help address trade tensions, Sang said.
US economic slowdown
The two sides’ current positions are very different, and the US has too many requests, said Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies.
Jin predicted that the China-US trade dispute will more likely be resolved through negotiations by mid-2019.
“The US economy is performing well, but it might slow down at this time next year, which will weaken the country’s confidence in negotiations,” Jin told the Global Times on Friday.
US efforts, such as tax cuts, bringing back large amounts of capital from overseas markets and investments in infrastructure, have helped its GDP growth, but such advantages will taper off next year when capital returns slow down and everyone will realize that infrastructure investment is also a long-term thing, Jin said.
Jin noted that “Wall Street has been bullish for 10 years, and some problems are likely to emerge next year.”
The US does not have attractive industrial projects, which would slow the backflow of overseas capital and will affect US stock market, he said.
Trade tensions would have some impact on China’s economic development, but China can withstand uncertainties brought about by trade tensions, experts said, noting that the Chinese economy’s resilience will dampen US arrogance.
He Weiwen, a former economic and commercial counselor at Chinese consulates in San Francisco and New York, told the Global Times on Friday that China could properly handle the challenges and market volatility not directly related to the trade disputes. “Issues faced by the Chinese economy are largely caused by internal factors,” he said.