China-US trade cease-fire au­gurs well though un­cer­tainty lingers

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - By Wei Jian­guo The au­thor is a for­mer Chi­nese vice min­is­ter of com­merce and ex­ec­u­tive deputy di­rec­tor of the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes. opin­[email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his US coun­ter­part Don­ald Trump reached an im­por­tant con­sen­sus on sta­bi­liz­ing bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tions in Buenos Aires on Satur­day, which set a good ex­am­ple of solv­ing ma­jor eco­nomic and trade is­sues with wis­dom and prag­matic spirit.

The con­sen­sus con­tains loads of in­for­ma­tion, one of which is cru­cial: Both sides un­der­stand that it is com­pletely nor­mal for the two coun­tries to have dif­fer­ences over econ­omy and trade, and the point is to deal with them ap­pro­pri­ately and seek so­lu­tions ac­cept­able for both sides on the ba­sis of mu­tual re­spect, mu­tual ben­e­fit and equal­ity. It is nec­es­sary for both coun­tries to main­tain close con­tacts through var­i­ous means and jointly push for­ward bi­lat­eral ties.

The two lead­ers have slammed the brakes on the trade war in a timely man­ner and laid a solid foun­da­tion for the next round of talks, rais­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of bring­ing Chi­naUS eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions back to the right track as soon as pos­si­ble. The Xin­hua News Agency has used more pos­i­tive words in re­port­ing the trade truce than ever be­fore.

Though pub­lic opin­ion is pos­i­tive, an is­sue is worth not­ing. Some en­trepreneurs and experts seem to be­lieve that the China-US trade war is about to end. And this view is way too op­ti­mistic.

It is true that China and the US agreed to stop im­pos­ing ad­di­tional tar­iffs and step up ne­go­ti­a­tions to reach an agree­ment. How­ever, it should be clar­i­fied that ten­sions have not com­pletely ceased. It can be just called a trade war truce or tem­po­rary freeze in the es­ca­lat­ing dis­pute now.

How the talks be­tween the ne­go­ti­at­ing teams of the two coun­tries will be go­ing is the key. The best out­come could be that the two sides reach an agree­ment in 90 days to truly end the trade war. Nev­er­the­less, this may be hard to achieve and full of un­cer­tain­ties given the ne­go­ti­a­tions with the US in the past year.

China has been fully pre­pared for the com­plex­ity, ar­du­ous­ness and length that the trade ne­go­ti­a­tions will in­volve. It doesn’t ex­pect to re­solve all is­sues within the 90 days. But it’s at least a good start for the solution that the two sides can talk to pre­vent the fric­tions from es­ca­lat­ing. Chi­nese ne­go­tia­tors will ad­dress the di­ver­gences flex­i­bly but mean­while stick to our bot­tom line and not ac­cept un­rea­son­able de­mands.

The at­mos­phere and the what­ever hap­pens next with strong strate­gic focus and will con­tinue per­form­ing well in things that are sup­posed to be done. At the 40th an­niver­sary of re­form and openingup, China has to take all mea­sures to open wider to the out­side world promptly. It also needs to en­hance the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights (IPR) pro­tec­tion, ac­cel­er­ate IPR leg­is­la­tion, in­crease pun­ish­ment and cost for IPR in­fringe­ment. This is needed for our in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity. Be­sides, China has to pro­mote qual­ity devel­op­ment in the coun­try with high­er­level open­ing-up to pro­mote the bet­ter in­te­gra­tion of Chi­nese and US economies. The US will then re­al­ize that China’s devel­op­ment will bring more ben­e­fits rather than harm to the US.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu Rui/GT

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