Ex­perts rule out China-US trade war

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG NAN and REN XIAOJIN

China and the United States have no in­ter­est in a so-called trade war, said ex­perts on Thurs­day, point­ing to sig­nif­i­cant progress in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the China-US 100-day ac­tion plan, par­tic­u­larly in agri­cul­tural, en­ergy and high-end man­u­fac­tur­ing prod­ucts trade.

Their com­ments came after the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment last month lifted a 13-year ban to al­low cer­tain cat­e­gories of US beef to be im­ported into China. They will also jointly an­nounce the con­di­tions on im­ports of US chicken prod­ucts to China be­fore next Mon­day, an­other part of the Chi­naUS 100-day ac­tion plan.

Sino-US bi­lat­eral trade amounted to $219.26 bil­lion be­tween Jan­uary and May this year, up 14.1 per­cent year-on-year, while China im­ported $63.17 bil­lion of US goods such as crude oil, soy­beans, ma­chin­ery and trans­porta­tion tools, jump­ing 21.4 per­cent from the same pe­riod a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data from the Min­istry of Com­merce.

Wei Jian­guo, vice-chair­man of the Bei­jing-based Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes, said China will in­crease its agri­cul­ture im­ports from the US.

“The US cer­tainly doesn’t want a trade war with China as its airplane, au­to­mo­bile and ma­chin­ery man­u­fac­tur­ers, agri­cul­ture busi­nesses and many other sec­tors have multi-bil­lion dol­lar ex­ports to China ev­ery year,” he said.

The two coun­tries have been mak­ing progress in re­solv­ing trade con­flicts, and the goal of the China-US 100day ac­tion plan is to over­come the ob­sta­cles to bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment and trade.

En­ergy com­pa­nies and re­searchers from the two sides on Tues­day launched a fo­rum to dis­cuss how clean en­ergy such as ethanol fuel tech­nol­ogy from the US can tackle en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, espe­cially in the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-Hebei re­gion.

“I can clearly tell you a trade war will not take place this year,” said Wei, who was pre­vi­ously China’s vicecom­merce min­is­ter. “But we will also stay alert for the pos­si­bil­ity next year. The best way is to en­hance com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

“China is the US’ big­gest trade part­ner, as the US is to China. They have a com­pli- cated re­la­tion­ship in is­sues like cli­mate change, trade and fi­nance,” said Sang Baichuan, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness at the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics.

He said healthy com­pe­ti­tion will ben­e­fit con­sumers and help em­ploy­ment. In­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment is the best way to stim­u­late the econ­omy of both sides, as most of their im­ports are com­ple­men­tary.

Com­pared to politi­cians and schol­ars in Wash­ing­ton DC, US busi­ness lead­ers pre­fer a smooth bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.

Bruce Blake­man, vi­cepres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs for Cargill Inc in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, said the beef trade demon­strates how the US and China can solve trade is­sues in an effi- cient and ef­fec­tive man­ner.

“We un­der­stand from the Meat Ex­porters As­so­ci­a­tion in the US that there have been about 1,000 in­quiries from Chi­nese meat pro­ces­sors and dis­trib­u­tors about buy­ing US beef, since the trade agree­ment was an­nounced,” said Blake­man.

“It shows there is great de­mand for US beef from Chi­nese con­sumers. It’s also great news for US beef pro­duc­ers and pro­ces­sors.”

China is cur­rently the world’s fastest grow­ing mar­ket for beef con­sump­tion. Its beef im­ports mainly come from Aus­tralia, Ar­gentina, Brazil and Uruguay. China’s do­mes­tic beef mar­ket has a 10 per­cent de­mand gap that needs to be filled by im­ports.

How­ever, dis­agree­ments in bi­lat­eral trade still ex­ist. The US Depart­ment of Com­merce on Wed­nes­day an­nounced its fi­nal rul­ing on the third-time coun­ter­vail­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Chi­nese pho­to­voltaic prod­ucts. Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers will face a coun­ter­vail­ing duty rate of be­tween 17.14 per­cent and 18.3 per­cent.

Con­tact the writ­ers at zhong­nan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Wei Jian­guo, vice-chair­man of Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes

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