Good outlook for bilateral trade
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.