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Trade called 'ballast stone' of ties

(China Daily)    08:55, September 22, 2018

A delegation of Chinese scholars visited Washington and Chicago this week to emphasize the importance of stable relations between China and the United States during an entrenched trade standoff.

"As the top two economies, both countries shoulder key responsibilities for global stability and prosperity," Xie Fuzhan, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said at a conference in Washington on Sino-US economic and trade relations and the global economy.

"As the ballast stone of China-US relations, economic and trade relations concern the well-being of our two peoples and bear on the direct interests of all peoples," Xie said on Monday at the conference.

Experts from both countries conducted in-depth dialogues on the escalating trade friction.

The Chinese delegation of 10 scholars from think tanks traveled to Chicago on Wednesday.

The gatherings came just after the US government announced that it would impose 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, effective on Sept 24. The tariffs will be increased to 25 percent on Jan 1.

The delegation emphasized that the Chinese government's attitude toward the "unilateral provocation" of tariffs by the US has always been clear: China will continue to resolutely deepen reform and expand opening-up at its own pace, to maintain healthy and stable economic development.

The delegation said the US government's tariffs on Chinese goods will be counterproductive and pointless in resolving the trade dispute, and will weaken the rules-based multilateral trading system.

Both sides said they believe that to meet the needs of global economic development, the World Trade Organization needs further reforms, an update of international trade rules and an improved dispute-resolution mechanism.

The two sides also exchanged views on topics such as technology transfer, intellectual property protection and policies for the high-tech industry.

The Chinese experts explained China's position on resolving trade disputes and attempted to clarify what they said were misunderstandings by the US on the development of China's high-tech industry.

The current trade war is not a benign competition and does not meet the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and the US will not be able to achieve its goals through trade restrictions, the Chinese delegation said. The US accusations against China do not conform to reality and should not be a basis for launching a trade war, the scholars said.

China's reform and opening-up will help China-US economic and trade relations move toward a healthy development track, they said, adding that they hope the US will adopt measures of openness rather than protectionism.

Regarding a recent assertion that the Chinese and US economies could achieve "decoupling", the scholars stressed it's hard to see the two economies decoupling under such a high degree of economic globalization and such close economic and trade links.

Jacob Lew, former US Treasury secretary, said Washington should pursue constructive engagement with Beijing to seek consensus and mitigate differences.

"In my view, the Trump administration tariffs are likely to make matters worse, and its rhetoric lacks the respect that we should show between two great nations," he said.

"But it is a moment when China needs to look beyond the rhetoric from the White House, and even the provocative trade policies, to find a way to demonstrate that real issues are being resolved."

Adam Posen, a trade expert and president of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the "outright trade conflict seemingly imminent between the world's two largest economies will be harmful to the working people of both countries, as well as destructive to the future of the world economy".

"These costs would be both direct, in terms of short-term losses of growth and displacement of jobs, and indirect, in terms of long-term damage to the world trading system, diminishing investment and efficiency going forward," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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