Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) waiting to be exported are seen at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China April 5, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
Earlier this week, the US announced a proposed tariff list on Chinese products following its Section 301 investigation. The next day, China drew its sword and hit back with tariffs on American soybeans, cars and other products. Now, experts from two top Chinese think tanks, China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) and Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research (CAMR), are presenting their opinions on the recent trade frictions.
“US has no respect for international rules”
“China has repeatedly said that it neither wants a trade war nor is afraid of one,” Executive Vice Chairman of CCIEE Zhang Xiaoqiang said.
On the matter of China-US trade, China has always exercised restrain and acted on the principle of seeking mutual benefits. It also prefers to solve issues through dialogue. However, Zhang also said that China sees its actions in the trade war as defensive, like striking back at someone when they are “pointing a gun at your head.”
“The US has no respect for international rules,” Vice President of CAMR Bi Jiyao said.
Bi noted that the US has relied on its domestic laws to solve issues between two members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and that its trade actions are complex. Bi said it mainly comes down to the US’ insecurity and discontent with China’s tremendous growth in recent years.
“Tariff’s impact on China is limited”
China’s economy is rapidly transforming and entering the “quality growth” phase. The forces behind the growth are increasingly driven by domestic consumption rather than exports. Moreover, China has developed many international partners. Therefore, impact from the US’s tariffs will be limited. For example, US imports of Chinese goods declined by a large margin during the 2008 financial crisis, but it did not stop China from developing during this time.
“China answers firmly and if it hits, it hits hard,” Executive Deputy Director of CCIEE Wei Jianguo said.
Wei said the US is acting superior in these trade matters and though this attitude has helped it win bargains with some of its trading partners – it is not appropriate for international negotiations and will not work when dealing with China.
In the face of US’ domineering behavior, Chief Economist of CCIEE Chen Wenling said China has made its position very clear: the US cannot benefit by sacrificing other countries, it cannot impose its own rules over WTO regulations, and it cannot force its own will on others.
“Many logical errors in its investigation on trade with China”
Last year, China had 8.9 patents per 10,000 people. That is the result of continued focus and investments in China’s technology sector and not by stealing US tech. Zhang also called the US’ 232 investigation into Chinese steel and aluminum “pretentious” since it cited national security as its chief concern, yet China only accounts for 3 percent of US’ steel and aluminum imports.
(Compiled by Ziyi Zeng)