China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose


By Simon Denyer March 15 at 9:54 AM

BEIJING — China’s premier told the United States on Wednesday: We don’t want a trade war with you, but if one breaks out, your companies would bear the brunt.

Yet despite tensions over jobs, currency rates and “security matters,” Premier Li Keqiang told a news conference in Beijing ahead of the first visit by the new U.S. secretary of state that he remained optimistic about the future of China’s relationship with the United States.

“Our hope on the Chinese side is that, no matter what bumps this relationship may run into, it will continue to move forward in a positive direction,” he said.

The two countries share extensive common interests and should “sit down to talk to each other” to build trust and narrow differences, Li told journalists at the end of China’s annual parliamentary session. He added that diplomats were working toward a face-to-face meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Trump.

Experts say China has been pushing hard to arrange such a meeting, realizing how important personal chemistry between the two leaders could be in maintaining stable ties. U.S. news media have reported that a meeting has been tentatively scheduled for April 6-7 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Tokyo late Wednesday for his first Asia trip since taking office, and he will visit Beijing later in the week.

Li said China’s trade and investment ties with the United States created up to 1 million American jobs last year.

“Recently I came across an article from an authoritative international think tank. It says that should a trade war break out between China and the United States, it would be foreign-invested companies, in particular U.S. firms, that would bear the brunt of it,” he said.

“We don’t want to see any trade war breaking out between the two countries. That wouldn’t make our trade fairer,” he added.

While a trade war would have a disproportionate effect on American firms such as Apple that outsource manufacturing to China, economist Christopher Balding said it is not accurate to say that the U.S. economy as a whole is more vulnerable.

“China is much more dependent on trade with the U.S. as a percentage of GDP, and received most of its trade surplus from the U.S.,” said Balding, an ­associate professor at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen. It would be easier for U.S. firms to move their supply chain than for China to change its industrial structure, he added.

“It remains advisable for China to match its rhetoric on open markets and free trade with action, by opening up its markets to competition in goods and investment,” Balding said.

Li’s comments came a day after Trump’s nominee for U.S. trade representative said that China is one of the top trade problems the United States faces and that it is not clear whether Beijing is still manipulating its currency.

“If you look at our problems, China is right up there,” Robert E. Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday.

Trump repeatedly complained about China on the campaign trail, accusing it of stealing American jobs, manipulating its currency, militarizing the South China Sea and not doing enough to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

He then upset Beijing by accepting a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after his election and publicly questioning whether Washington should maintain its one-China policy.

But he eventually backed off, agreeing to honor the policy during what he called a “very warm” phone call with Xi in February. Since then, he has also refrained from any criticism of China on his Twitter feed.

Li reiterated that the one-China policy is the “political foundation” of relations and must not be undermined.

“With that foundation in place, we believe there are bright prospects for China-U.S. cooperation,” he said.

While relations with China will be discussed during Tillerson’s visit, North Korea’s nuclear program is expected to top the secretary of state’s agenda.

Li repeated his country’s call for dialogue to lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Tensions may lead to conflict which would only bring harm to all the parties involved,” he said. “It’s just common sense that no one wants to see chaos on his doorstep.”

Source: Washington Post “China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose”

Note: This is Washington Post’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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8 Comments on “China to Trump: We don’t want a trade war — but if there is one, you’d lose”

  1. alking1957 says:

    US could easily reduced its trade deficits with China greatly by allowing more high tech n high value precision instruments to be sold to China instead of just selling beans n wheat.n meat. china only needs to wake Trump up by telling him the above fact. Then it will be win-win. Problem solved

    Like

  2. johnleecan says:

    If indeed there will be a trade war between China and America and America would surely win, America would have done it already. So this is another American BS!

    Trump wants America to be great again, he would have ordered a trade war with China already. America – Great Loser!

    Like

  3. Carver says:

    “..While a trade war would have a disproportionate effect on American firms such as Apple that outsource manufacturing to China, economist Christopher Balding said it is not accurate to say that the U.S. economy as a whole is more vulnerable.

    “China is much more dependent on trade with the U.S. as a percentage of GDP, and received most of its trade surplus from the U.S.,” said Balding, an ­associate professor at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen. It would be easier for U.S. firms to move their supply chain than for China to change its industrial structure, he added.”

    China should remember that there are many nations willing to step up and replace China as a trading partner if China gets too big for its britches. China needs America more than America needs China.

    Like

    • cancel says:

      ameriphag

      I would worry about your 20 trillion in debt – not counting unfunded liabilities and so-called “jihadists” who want to pay you back for raping and killing their family members.

      Like

    • Steve says:

      All depends on your own judgement and who you wish to believe. Lots of economist would counter Balding as inappropriate and vice versa.

      Nations don’t just step up and replace China without expertise, resources, funding, education and proper infrastructures including transportation. Example Philippines: other than tropical fruits and fish, it has no infrastructures, no expertise, no nothing, etc. It took China over three decades to gain its economic superpower status which in itself is a phenomenon in human history. China has moved its lower end manufacturing to countries like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mexico, soon Philippines and so on. China is now a high end technological manufacturing nation in all fields. Its moving away from factory based manufacturing. There are countries as mentioned above in LatAm nations, in Asia that is dependent on China’s innovation in those nations.

      On the contrary, a trade war between US/China would boost certain western nations like NZ and Australia on exports like coal and agricultural products. No loss to China. High technology countries like Germany, France, Japan, etc will easily ‘step up’ no loss to China. US GDP is falling, China’s has been rising and its not about to change anytime soon, trade war or no trade war. Globalisation will outpace Protectionism. US is on the back foot.

      According to Forbes, China’s economy will overtake US in 2018 (next year). China’s economy will be more significant than America. Why.? because the ‘Made in America’ is now in your rear view mirror or blind spot. The US has not being a manufacturing nation for decades, it has been outsourcing for decades to nations like Sth Korea, Japan and later to China due to superior infrastructures and technology. China is gaining not declining. America’s woes are self inflicted with its world leadership, high taxes, genocidal wars and inept leadership. Why do you think Trump is promoting protectionism and America first. US infrastructures are failing
      America. I shall stop here.

      Like

      • Steven says:

        One word sums up China’s BIG future problem and that is:
        Robots.

        Chinese workers cannot compete with machines that don’t have to sleep or eat or have families to feed. And China knows that it cannot compete with the precision products that robotic workers can turn out.

        For pennies.

        China has many sleepless nights ahead as they see their position as the world’s producer of low cost goods quickly slip away.

        Like


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