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Trade protectionism won't work for US


13:20, October 30, 2012

China scholar Robert Lawrence Kuhn on Monday said that China needs balanced trade with the United States as well as "sustainable reforms" to tackle its domestic challenges.

Talking about the long-running dust-ups between the world's top two economies over trade imbalances, Kuhn said protectionism will not work for the US.

"There are people who clamor for protection of the economy in the US. It sounds good on the surface that you protect American jobs," said Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, a cross-cultural exchange platform that promotes good relations between the US and China, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Shanghai.

"But in reality, it doesn't work because jobs won't come back to Americans, as they may go out to countries like Mexico or countries other than China," said Kuhn, who has written a biography of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and is also the author of "How China's Leaders Think: The Inside Story of China's Reform and What This Means for the Future."

Kuhn said the standard of living in both China and the US is dependent upon trade, and Americans buy Chinese products because they offer better quality and lower prices "or something they want".

"So, if you are to officially interfere with that, you will lower the standard of living of the American people, so that's not good," he said.

Kuhn said China can not continue to have a very high trade imbalance with the US because it is not sustainable.

"So change has to happen," Kuhn said. "China has to consume more materials so the standard of living in China goes higher."

"The two sides are so tied together that mutual prosperity is a stake that sometimes you know that nationalistic emotions get on the way, rational people have to recognize what's good for both," Kuhn said.

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