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May 14, 2019

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China not to compromise on principles, capable to cope with challenges: think tanks

FACING US tariff hike threats, China has adhered to its bottom line, defended national dignity and people’s interests, experts with domestic think tanks said Sunday at a symposium on China-US trade relations.

Imposing new tariffs goes against the will of the people and the trend of the times. China has the resolution, courage and confidence to rise to all sorts of challenges, they said.

The United States on Friday increased additional tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

At the 11th round of economic and trade consultations that ended in Washington the same day, the Chinese delegation made clear its consistent and resolute stance: Problems cannot be solved by increasing tariffs and cooperation is the only right choice for the two sides, but it has to be based on principles. China will never make concessions on major issues of principle.

Tariffs detrimental to US economy

“Increasing tariffs will impact enterprises of both countries, but harm American businesses more,” said Gao Lingyun, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

The additional tariffs cannot change US demand for Chinese goods and will be eventually passed on to American consumers and retailers by US importers, Gao said.

“If the United States insists on going its way to raise tariffs on all Chinese imports, its domestic prices would be dramatically pushed up, resulting in inflation,” Gao said.

A wide range of US industry associations have expressed strong opposition to imposing additional tariffs on Chinese imports. Raising tariffs to 25 percent could cost nearly 1 million American jobs and increase volatility of financial market, said the “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign.

Of the Chinese goods already under higher tariffs, more than 70 percent are intermediates and investment goods. Such a higher proportion means that the tariffs will be eventually be passed on to American businesses, consumers and farmers, said Chen Wenling, chief economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Chen said the trade war provoked by the United States is ineffective. The United States wanted to fix the problem of trade deficit but its trade deficits to China, European Union and other economies rose rather than fell.

In addition, the corresponding industry chain restructuring did not benefit the US either. Auto makers Tesla and Ford are moving to the Chinese market instead.

“Some US enterprises may find it difficult to survive if quitting the Chinese market as a very large share of their profits come from China,” said Liang Ming, a researcher with a research institute of the Ministry of Commerce.

Based on an estimate of the effect of having additional tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, Liang said the United States still needs to import a majority of the goods from China. But most of the Chinese products involved are less dependent on the US market, and can be exported to other markets, Liang noted.

Experts said that the spill-over effect of trade wars can reach the whole world, posing severe challenges to the global order, rules, trade systems, supply chains and even bringing negative impact on the peaceful development of the world.

“What China emphasizes, such as avoiding raising tariffs and a balance in the appeals of both sides, is not only the requests of China but also the rational choice for any country when facing unreasonable trade demand,” said Dong Yan, a researcher with the CASS’ Institute of World Economics and Politics.

Analysts agreed at Sunday’s symposium that cooperation benefits China and the Unites States, while conflicts hurt both; cooperation is always the right path to resolve the China-US trade dispute.

‘Fight and talk alternately’

Experts said that the US accusation of China’s “backtracking” for the unsuccessful talks is untenable and irresponsible as the two are still in the process of negotiation.

As a matter of fact, the US side is to blame for the negotiating setback as it has been exerting pressure on China and upping the ante.

“The US requests involve China’s core interests and major concerns. They touch the bottom line and China will not compromise,” said Wei Jianguo, executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

He noted that a successful agreement must ensure both sides are satisfied for the most part and have both sides to make compromises.

If an agreement satisfies only one side with the concerns of the other side not respected or not taken care of, it can hardly sustain during the implementation and may even be revoked, he said.

After more than a year, both sides have conducted 11 rounds of economic and trade consultations, which experts said fully displays that the consultation is a continuing battle. Taking it easy is necessary while preparations must be fully made psychologically and at working level.

“It’s normal for major countries to have frictions. China must adapt to it,” said Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

Chen Wenling said Chinese negotiators have stuck to their principles and stance during the consultation.

“It will be normal for both sides to fight and talk alternately. China must not be vague in resolutely safeguarding its core national interests and major concerns and upholding national dignity,” Chen said.

Experts noted that China’s position on upholding the overall interests of the China-US relations and consolidating bilateral economic and trade cooperation remains unchanged. The two countries should meet each other halfway in line with the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and resolve their core differences through dialog rather than confrontation.

Dong Yan said that the Sino-US economic and trade friction is a long-term problem, complicated and arduous. Before everything, China and the United States should continue to build mutual trust, step up coordination in bilateral and multilateral areas, and expand common interests.

“We believe that in the face of huge cooperative interests, the US side is also very clear that a trade war will not solve the economic and trade differences between the two countries,” said Liang Ming.

Although the tariff escalation is regrettable, Liang said he believed both sides had hope for the future of their economic and trade relations. A win-win cooperation between China and the United States is in line with the aspirations of the two peoples and the world at large, Liang said.

Facing risks

“Above 8,000 meters, it is the stratosphere, where the air gets thin. For mountain climbers, this requires extra efforts to overcome, which is similar to the phase that China’s economy has to overcome in order to achieve high-quality development.”

Wang Wen, citing mountain climbing as a metaphor, said the current stage requires China to stay patient and make hard work persistently according to a set route.

With both solid strength and huge potential as well as a strong capability to cope with risks and strikes, China has the confidence, resolution and ability to face all kinds of risks and challenges, said Zheng Shuiquan, deputy secretary of the Party Committee of Renmin University of China.

“No matter how the situation goes in the future, we need to manage our own affairs well,” said Zhang Yansheng, chief research fellow with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Since last year, a series of measures have been taken by the central government to consolidate the growth momentum of the Chinese economy.

Wang Jinbin, deputy dean of School of Economics, Renmin University of China, said that stabilizing expectation and confidence is very essential.


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