Cau­tious op­ti­mism seen on trade

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

Both op­ti­mism and cau­tion about the US-China trade dis­pute were ex­pressed at a fo­rum in Los An­ge­les, whose big­gest trad­ing part­ner is China.

More than 100 peo­ple gath­ered at a con­fer­ence or­ga­nized by the Los An­ge­les Area Cham­ber of Com­merce on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the “past, cur­rent and fu­ture” of US-China trade re­la­tions.

Zhang Ping, Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in Los An­ge­les, who gave the key­note speech at the fo­rum, pre­sented an op­ti­mistic view on the fu­ture of US-China trade re­la­tions.

“Look­ing ahead, though the jour­ney in front for the US-China eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions may still be bumpy, we have the great con­fi­dence that, with the fur­ther eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and greater mea­sures of re­form and open­ing up in China, and with the joint ef­forts of both sides, the re­la­tion­ship has a great po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment and will come up with a bright prospect.”

He urged both sides to con­duct di­a­logues on the sub-na­tional level. He also en­cour­aged lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and busi­ness lead­ers to play a greater role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween US and China by con­duct­ing more face-to-face com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“It’s good that we are mov­ing for­ward, but I’m con­cerned about the at­mos­phere sur­round­ing this 90-day pe­riod,“said Michael Kan­tor, a for­mer sec­re­tary of Com­merce and US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive dur­ing the Clin­ton Ad­min­is­tra­tion. But he said the ne­go­ti­a­tion time is too short for the two sides to work out their dif­fer­ences, and it should ex­tended.

Ac­cord­ing to a White House state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing be­tween Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Dec 1 in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, the US agreed to leave the tar­iffs on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports at 10 per­cent in­stead of rais­ing them to 25 per­cent on Jan 1, say­ing it would raise the tar­iff to 25 per­cent if no agree­ment is reached with China within 90 days.

“The more trade you have with a coun­try, the more dis­putes you have,” Kan­tor said, adding that in any trade ne­go­ti­a­tions both sides need to be will­ing to make progress, to re­spect each other and to agree on how to han­dle out­side pres­sure, which “re­quires open­ness and can­dor, and a sense of com­mit­ment.”

David Lo­evinger, for­mer US Trea­sury de­part­ment’s se­nior co­or­di­na­tor for China af­fairs and the US-China Strate­gic and Eco­nomic Di­a­logue, said he is not par­tic­u­larly op­ti­mistic about the prospects of USChina trade re­la­tions over the next sev­eral years.

“I don’t see on the US side a strat­egy. I see more of an at­ti­tude,” he said. “I see a long list of com­plaints, but what’s needed is a strat­egy to ef­fec­tively pro­mote the kind of changes that a lot of peo­ple both in­side and out­side of China want to see.”

“This is a mo­ment for China to take greater lead­er­ship in pro­mot­ing the mul­ti­lat­eral in­sti­tu­tions and roles that have ben­e­fited China so much over the last 30 years,” Lo­evinger added.

Maria Sali­nas, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Los An­ge­les Area Cham­ber of Com­merce, said she is op­ti­mistic that there will be res­o­lu­tions pro­vid­ing clar­ity to lo­cal busi­nesses go­ing for­ward af­ter the 90-day win­dow. She also noted that China is Los An­ge­les’ big­gest trad­ing part­ner.

“It’s very sig­nif­i­cant for the busi­nesses here in our lo­cal econ­omy, but I also un­der­stand from a global per­spec­tive, it’s one of the most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ships that we could have here,” Sali­nas said.

By LIU YINMENG in Los An­ge­les tere­[email protected]­nadai­lyusa.com LIU YINMENG / CHINA DAILY

Zhang Ping, Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in Los An­ge­les, gives a key­note speech dur­ing a fo­rum Wed­nes­day on the “past, cur­rent and fu­ture” of US-China re­la­tions.

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