China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

Al­though no break­throughs were an­nounced af­ter the first Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Dia­logue be­tween China and the United States, both sides dis­played a strong po­lit­i­cal will to con­tinue to work to­gether and build on the “sig­nif­i­cant progress” that they had achieved in their pre­ced­ing talks for the 100-day eco­nomic plan. Some clearly feel dis­ap­pointed that Wednes­day’s high-level dis­cus­sions in Wash­ing­ton did not pro­duce any ma­jor out­comes, and such sen­ti­ments seem to be fu­el­ing a me­dia back­lash against China in the US.

Al­though even be­fore the dia­logue be­gan, some US of­fi­cials and me­dia voiced crit­i­cism of China, al­leg­ing that it alone is re­spon­si­ble for the prob­lems in Sino-US trade, es­pe­cially the colos­sal trade deficit that is in China’s fa­vor.

How­ever, such fin­ger-point­ing is both un­war­ranted and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive — China has not sin­gle-hand­edly cre­ated the trade sur­plus.

To ad­dress their trade im­bal­ance, the two sides need to con­tinue to work to­gether to find mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able solutions. Ac­tions that only ben­e­fit one side will ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lems.

As long as the two sides keep hav­ing frank ex­changes, there will be more pos­si­bil­ity of the pair grad­u­ally bridg­ing their dif­fer­ences and agree­ing on ways to achieve their shared ob­jec­tives of bal­ance and fair­ness in their trade re­la­tions.

As Vice-Premier Wang Yang right­fully pointed out dur­ing the dia­logue, the two coun­tries are each other’s ma­jor trad­ing part­ner and im­por­tant source of in­vest­ment, so co­op­er­a­tion is their only re­al­is­tic choice.

This has been demon­strated by their re­spec­tive ne­go­ti­at­ing teams that have been work­ing on the 100-day eco­nomic ac­tion plan agreed at the first sum­mit be­tween the lead­ers of the two coun­tries in April, whose dis­cus­sions have proved fruit­ful, both in pro­duc­ing prac­ti­cal out­comes and forg­ing rap­port.

There is ev­ery rea­son for the two sides to con­tinue to build on the good mo­men­tum that has been at­tained in these con­sul­ta­tions.

In this re­spect, it is en­cour­ag­ing that the two sides agreed to ini­ti­ate a one-year ac­tion plan for eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

Such a down-to-earth ap­proach will guar­an­tee more in­dus­try spe­cific moves, which as they ac­cu­mu­late will usher in a health­ier bi­lat­eral trade struc­ture.

The Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Dia­logue, though not the cure some had hoped for, has re­in­forced that talks are the right way to rem­edy the ills in trade re­la­tions be­tween the world’s two largest economies.

De­spite the talks not pro­duc­ing a magic wand with which to im­me­di­ately make all the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two sides dis­ap­pear, they have re­in­forced the shared recog­ni­tion that their dis­cus­sions are help­ing to gen­er­ate the nec­es­sary con­ver­gences with which to move for­ward, and they will con­tinue to pro­duce tan­gi­ble re­sults.

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