Good out­look for bi­lat­eral trade

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An­a­lysts from a lead­ing Chi­nese think tank said they were op­ti­mistic about the prospects for China-US trade and in­vest­ment, call­ing for a restart to ne­go­ti­a­tions on a bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaty and for the pro­mo­tion of co­op­er­a­tion in fields such as ser­vices trade and en­ergy.

“We are op­ti­mistic about the prospects as Chi­nese en­trepreneurs are op­ti­mistic about eco­nomic growth in the United States, which cre­ates a huge po­ten­tial for in­vest­ment in the US,” said Lu Jiny­ong, di­rec­tor of the China Cen­ter for In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion.

Lu spoke at a sym­po­sium on the China-US Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Di­a­logue, hosted by the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion on Tues­day. The cen­ter is one of China’s top pri­vately funded think tanks.

Ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry, the di­a­logue fo­cused on macroe­co­nomic poli­cies, trade and in­vest­ment, and global gov­er­nance, while seek­ing to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion and tackle dif­fer­ences.

CCG Di­rec­tor Wang Huiyao said China wanted fair treat­ment for Chi­nese com­pa­nies in­vest­ing in the US and more re­laxed ex­port con­trols, while the US wanted bal­anced trade.

The US is seek­ing wider open­ing-up by China to cut the trade deficit, due to grow­ing in­ter­de­pen­dence be­tween the two coun­tries, Lu said. Data showed in­vest­ment Chi­nese busi­nesses have made in the US had sur­passed those from the world’s largest econ­omy.

Bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment hit a new record high of $60 bil­lion last year with $45.6 bil­lion com­ing from China, ac­cord­ing to a report jointly re­leased by the CCG and the US-based Rhodium Group last month. China had a trade sur­plus of around $250 bil­lion with the US last year.

Lyu Xiang, a re­searcher on US stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said China’s trade sur­plus partly stems from dif­fer­ent po­si­tions in the cur­rent global sup­ply chain.

“Tak­ing the iPhone as ex­am­ple, more than half of its com­po­nents are pur­chased around the globe and then as­sem­bled in China, but Ap­ple Inc takes half of the net prof­its,” Lyu said. “So the US has to look at the deficit from an ob­jec­tive an­gle.”

Cui Fan, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional trade at the Uni­ver­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nomics in Bei­jing, said China and the US have in­creas­ingly shared in­ter­ests.

China and the US should restart ne­go­ti­a­tions on a bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaty, he said. BIT ne­go­ti­a­tions were ini­ti­ated in 2008 and both coun­tries agreed to ex­change the sec­ond round of neg­a­tive lists last June.

He Wei­wen, a se­nior re­searcher at the CCG, said the treaty is in line with the eco­nomic in­ter­ests of the US as the busi­ness com­mu­nity in the US has strongly called for such an agree­ment.

CCG’s Wang Huiyao said both coun­tries can also co­op­er­ate in in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has an am­bi­tious plan to re­build the in­fra­struc­ture sys­tem as an im­por­tant way to boost man­u­fac­tur­ing and em­ploy­ment.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies have been known for their cost-ef­fi­ciency and ef­fi­ciency in build­ing high­ways, rail­ways and ports. For ex­am­ple, CRRC Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited has bid for sub­way projects in Bos­ton and Chicago, Wang said.

“In­fras­truc­tural co­op­er­a­tion can help achieve more bal­anced eco­nomic ties be­tween the two coun­tries,” Wang added.

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