Sino-US deals signed last week top $253.5 billion
The business deals reached between China and the United States last week actually significantly exceeded the $253.5 billion signed at ceremonies during US President Donald Trump’s state visit to China, according to a senior commerce official on Monday.
President Xi Jinping and Trump witnessed the signing of commercial documents with a total value of $253.5 billion on Thursday.
China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua said aside from those documents, there were many deals in which agreements were reached separately involving complex, bigticket contracts such as chemical and energy import deals that have taken months or years of negotiations to complete.
“These commercial contracts involve trade and investment projects, with some needing to be implemented immediately and some settled via long-term talks,” said Yu. Without specifying an amount for such contracts, he said they were significant and will benefit both countries.
It took a month and half of talks, for example, before China Petroleum and Chemical Corp and Bank of China were able to sign a joint development agreement last week with Alaska Gasoline Development Corp and the State of Alaska to jointly build an integrated liquefied natural gas system valued at $43 billion.
Chinese and US companies signed 34 deals worth $253.5 billion during Trump’s visit, involving energy, the chemical industry, environmental protection, culture, medicine, infrastructure, smart city development, and business projects in markets related to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Yu said the results achieved between businesses of the two nations during the visit demonstrates the robust enthusiasm and support of the two business communities for a closer relationship. It will surely inject new impetus into economic and trade relations between China and the US, he said.
“The meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Trump was a successful one and has great historic significance, drawing a new blueprint for bilateral economic and trade relations,” said Yu, who also is China’s deputy international trade representative.
These deals meet the demand of companies from both nations, as many high-tech US companies are eager to compete with their European rivals, but certain export restrictions still exist, said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.
“China, in the meantime, also needs a large number of highend US products as the country has already entered a new era of development supported by supply-side structural reform with a stronger focus on supply quality and economic rebalancing,” Li said.
Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said, “Even though there are voices in the United States calling for protectionist trade measures or having a trade war with China, the two sides can work out new solutions, and bilateral ties won’t be shaken by such opinions.”
Wei called for closer collaboration in agricultural product trade, environmental protection, civil aviation and high-tech products, clean energy, finance and urbanization.
Robert Aspell, president of Cargill Investments (China), a branch of US agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc, said his company is glad to see positive movement in China-US trade relations in recent months, and hopes to see further progress from Trump’s China visit that will strengthen bilateral economic ties and facilitate open and inclusive global trading policies that benefit both countries.
US President Donald Trump will conclude his extended visit to Asia on Tuesday, during which he has visited Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. But of all the countries on his itinerary, his three-day visit to China has been the highlight of his first trip to Asia as US president.
US-China relations are “at a new historic starting point”, as President Xi Jinping said in the opening remarks at his meeting with Trump on Thursday, and cooperation is “the only correct choice” for the two countries.
That Xi’s remark is indeed historic has been proven by the signing of 15 commercial documents worth a record $253.5 billion between the two sides on Nov 9, the “great chemistry” between the two leaders and the consensus on fully implementing UN Security Council resolutions on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and pressuring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to halt its nuclear program.
Both presidents stressed the importance of finding peaceful resolution to the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation. Since last year, the DPRK has accelerated its missile and nuclear program, and conducted three nuclear tests in 20 months, for which it received strong international condemnation and sanctions.
The DPRK missile and nuclear issue was on the agenda of the Xi-Trump summit at Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida this April. The two sides agreed to toughen the international sanctions regime and put their words into practice, through trade embargo, export control, and financial screening.
During Trump’s stay in Beijing, China and the US reiterated their commitment to maintain the global nonproliferation regime and not acknowledge the DPRK’s status as a nuclear weapons state.
But, in contrast to the two sides’ understanding, RAND Corporation recently released a report, arguing that China and the US are closer to a military confrontation now, compared with 2011, saying the tension on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea could be the flash points. Such sensational reporting goes against the reality, and the trend of the times.
While Trump has often reacted strongly to Pyongyang’s belligerence, the US secretaries of state and defense have repeatedly emphasized the “four noes” — no intent of changing regime (of the DPRK), no toppling of (Pyongyang’s) government, no promotion of quick reunification of the two Koreas, and no advancing of US troops beyond the 38th Parallel. These are assuring responsible statements. Also, of late, the DPRK has been quiet, especially after the UN Security Council imposed its latest and most serious sanctions on Pyongyang.
It is now more than likely that Washington and Beijing will collaborate to search for more effective cooperative means to overcome the nuclear proliferation threat in the Asia-Pacific region. Instead of confronting each other, Chinese and US armed forces are more likely to converge their wisdom to thwart the nuclear threat.
The newly signed massive trade agreements between China and the US, including the purchase of US-made chipsets and soybeans, should alleviate fears over a trade war. And while emphasizing China’s commitment to reform and opening-up, Xi also said it is natural for the two countries to have trade frictions even though the Chinese and US economies are highly complementary.
To endorse the principle of equality and mutual benefit, China will also ease market access to its financial sector including banking, security funds and insurance, and gradually reduce taxes on imported cars. Despite the US administration reiterating that Beijing is not manipulating its currency, Trump should realize that any unwarranted US imposition of punitive tariffs on Chinese exports to the US would cause economic damage on both sides.
As such, the two countries should seize the opportunity to further expand their markets which also suits China’s economic growth. And it can be predicted that Beijing and Washington would use Trump’s visit to realize the objective of making both China and the US great again.
... Beijing and Washington would use Trump’s visit to realize the objective of making both China and the US great again.
The author is a professor and associate dean at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University.