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Op-ed: Fairness indispensable to settlement of China-US trade dispute

By Wu Yuehe (People's Daily)    14:18, August 08, 2019

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced Monday that related Chinese enterprises have suspended purchases of US agricultural products, and this message is not surprising at all.

As the China-US economic and trade friction once again escalated due to the action of the US side, such decision reflected China’s persistent position on the issue that the country does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary.

On August 1, the US announced its plan to impose a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese imports, which is a serious violation of the consensus reached by the heads of the state of the two countries during their meeting in Osaka. It goes against the US commitment of not levying new tariffs on Chinese products.

Furthermore, the announcement was made just one day after the conclusion of the 12th round of China-US economic and trade consultation which was described as a constructive meeting by the White House.

It’s obvious to all that the US side is unreasonable and contemptuous of justice. The abrupt escalation of tension started by the US astonished the world, and also damaged the image of the country and led to economic losses.

It is reported that some US officials attributed the turnabout to the so-called China’s lack of practical purchases of US farm produce. However, it cannot be more obvious that it is just an old trick often played by Washington – labeling others once in a while and iterating the unverifiable excuses as if lies could become truths once repeated. How absurd it is!

Don’t forget that China is a customer of the US agricultural products. Whether deals are done depends on how the customer is treated.

The consensus reached by the presidents of the two countries in Osaka created sound atmosphere and conditions for the deals of agricultural products. Sincerity has been shown and progress has been made by the Chinese side in purchasing US farm produce.

Over the last month, a total of 2.27 million tons of US soybeans were shipped to China, and another 2 million tons are expected to be loaded in August. Of the 14 million tons of US soybeans booked by Chinese enterprises, only 300,000 tons have not been loaded and will be shipped the next month.

On top of that, Chinese enterprises have ready started inquiries about the purchase of US agricultural products including soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, and cotton since July 19.

China’s practical actions of purchasing US farm products were a timely help for the US agriculture, in which the US farmers suffering from the US trade policies can finally see hopes. However, the window of hope was once again shut by Washington with the big stick of tariffs.

The economic and trade relations between China and the US were again overshadowed. Bilateral negotiations are facing serious difficulties, and the foundation of possible trade deals of agricultural products just collapsed. Those who have broken promises must pay the price, and fairness indispensable in this process.

China’s announcement of halting purchases of US farm products is a reasonable response to the US unreasonable act. To solve the trade issue based on equality and mutual respect is the only right choice. 

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

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