Li: Use dia­logue to ad­dress fric­tion

Sen­a­tors from United States urged to help solve trade is­sue with prag­ma­tism

China Daily European Weekly - - CHINA NEWS - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Premier Li Ke­qiang has called on the United States to work with China in solv­ing trade fric­tion through dia­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tions, but says China is fully pre­pared to re­spond to any pos­si­ble trade war.

Li re­it­er­ated China’s stance, in the face of a pos­si­ble trade war be­tween the two coun­tries, for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day when he met with a US con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion, headed by Sen­a­tor Steve Daines, in Bei­jing on March 27.

On March 22, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a mem­o­ran­dum for a plan that could im­pose tar­iffs on up to $60 bil­lion (49 bil­lion eu­ros; £43 bil­lion) of im­ports from China and curb Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the US.

The two coun­tries have made progress in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions since the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic ties decades ago, de­spite twists and turns, Li said. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Trump have met sev­eral times and main­tained com­mu­ni­ca­tions, he said.

“Us­ing a trade war to ad­dress trade fric­tion and dis­putes will be ir­ra­tional and not prag­matic,” Li said. “Trade dis­putes and fric­tion can be ad­dressed with dia­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tions, but China is fully pre­pared to re­spond to such sce­nar­ios.”

The premier said the trade sanc­tions vi­o­late fun­da­men­tal rules and can­not solve the prob­lem. “As the world’s largest de­vel­op­ing and de­vel­oped coun­tries, China and the US should main­tain sta­ble re­la­tions, be­cause the two economies are highly com­ple­men­tary,” he said.

“China-US trade has grown to such a large vol­ume over the past sev­eral decades, it is nat­u­ral to see a cer­tain amount of fric­tion and dis­putes,” Li said. “It’s im­por­tant that we take a proac­tive ap­proach to seek a bal­anced so­lu­tion to ex­ist­ing prob­lems. We should up­hold the over­all sta­bil­ity of China-US eco­nomic ties. Even­tu­ally, we should find a way that serves the in­ter­ests of both coun­tries and the world.”

The US should work with China in a ra­tio­nal and prag­matic way and safe­guard mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing rules, he said. Li also said it was hoped that the US Congress would play a con­struc­tive role in safe­guard­ing po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tions for bi­lat­eral ties.

On March 26, he told CEOs of multi­na­tional com­pa­nies who were at­tend­ing the China De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum 2018, that the two coun­tries should achieve bal­anced trade by ex­pand­ing trade vol­ume and tack­ling fric­tion through dia­logue.

The sen­a­tors said China-US ties are among the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral re­la­tions in the world and there is no rea­son for con­flicts be­tween the two coun­tries. The US Congress would like to help solve trade fric­tion in a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial way, which is ex­pected to bring con­tin­u­ous ben­e­fits to both peo­ples, they said.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Premier Li Ke­qiang talks with vis­it­ing US Sen­a­tor Steve Daines in Bei­jing on March 27. Daines was lead­ing a con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion to China.

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