China slams ‘capricious’ US trade actions

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/21 20:18:41

‘Big stick’ in trade scares no one: official

The US has many structural problems and turns other countries into scapegoats for its own issues, and its approach of using a "big stick" in trade talks does not work with China, a senior Chinese trade official said Thursday.

The US has been "capricious" over trade problems with China, but regardless of shifts in US attitude, China will calmly respond, Gao Feng, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday.

Gao said China and the US are scheduled to conduct consultations on issues affecting the manufacturing and services industries in the near future and will also discuss structural issues.

The forthcoming negotiations MOFCOM mentioned appear to get at the heart of Sino-US trade issues as manufacturing is the primary source of the US trade deficit with China, said Zhuang Rui, deputy dean of the University of International Business and Economics' Institute of International Economics in Beijing.

Another problem is that China has a large deficit in the services trade with the US, which the US neglects to take into account in negotiations, Zhuang said, noting that consultations on the  services trade will help address bilateral trade tensions fairly.

Zhuang told the Global Times that "trade disputes are superficial. Beneath them is competition between the two countries in the manufacturing industry."

Such competition is long-term and the US will eventually feel the pressure, she said.

No such 'economic aggression'

The White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy on Tuesday issued a report outlining how China's policies threaten US economic and national security. The report accuses China of "economic aggression."

The report came a day after US President Donald Trump threatened a 10-percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese products and an additional list worth $200 billion if China fights back.

Xu Hongcai, an economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Thursday that such rhetoric is groundless and China has gained an advantage through fair market competition and has always pursued economic growth at its own pace.

He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, agrees with Xu's views. The report says that "expanding China's share of global markets" is one of China's "economic aggression" tactics.  But He said, "China's share rose thanks to its large volume of exports, which is not economic aggression."

"US semiconductor chips and Boeing aircraft enjoy a large share in the global market. Is this economic aggression?" He told the Global Times on Thursday.

The report also claims that China aggressively seeks to acquire American technology and intellectual property through physical and cyber theft, forced technology transfers and evading US export control, among other methods.

"The US claim that China is stealing intellectual property and transferring technology twists the facts," Gao said, noting that many foreign firms have been engaged in sound cooperation with Chinese companies on technology during China's reform and opening-up process and have received handsome returns. Gao said this is what the market is all about, but the US conveniently ignored this.

The US unilateral protectionist measures will eventually harm US companies, workers and farmers, and world economic growth, Gao said, noting that China is prepared to respond with "quantitative and qualitative" measures if the US releases a new tariffs list.

China will advance reform and opening-up at its own pace and seek high quality economic growth, Gao said.

A new negative list is scheduled to be released before July 1, MOFCOM said. Gao noted the new negative list will show "large scale" opening-up.

Another report released on Wednesday shows that Chinese foreign direct investment to the US slid by 30 percent in 2017 compared to a record high in 2016, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Xu attributed this to US entry limitations on Chinese firms and China's efforts to restrict "irrational investments." Uncertainties in the US market coupled with US trade disputes with China also hit Chinese firms' enthusiasm to invest in the US, Xu said.

Newspaper headline: China slams US for ‘capricious’ policies

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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