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China should not lose its strategic focus in dealing with flip-flop Trump administration: experts

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/5 20:08:41

Flip-flops by US administration call for new tactics: experts


Chinese customs officers check illegal trash imports they seized during a crackdown on waste smuggling in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, on Tuesday. Photo: IC



China should increase the breadth and depth of its reform and opening-up, boosting the vitality of the domestic economy and winning over global partners in the trade war with the US, Chinese analysts said on Monday, after the Trump administration once again showed its volatile nature on the heels of the 12th round of bilateral trade consultations.

Participants attending a seminar held at the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China said the world's second-largest economy should improve the quality of manufacturing, develop alternative markets for exports and imports, push forward regional trade deals such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and even consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to boost trade. 

The comments were made after US President Donald Trump threatened on his Twitter account on Thursday that the US will impose an additional 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. 

The latest tariff threats came as US trade negotiators flew back to Washington from the 12th round of China-US trade consultations in Shanghai, which concluded last week. September is supposed to see the next round of trade consultations in Washington. The new tariffs will affect 97 percent of Chinese exports to the US.

The sudden turn of events is "dispiriting" given the seemingly constructive progress made during the trade talks last week, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said in an emailed statement sent to the Global Times.

Trump's threats were strongly opposed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce, which vowed necessary countermeasures to safeguard the nation's core interests.

The world has seen US "maximum pressure" tactics so often that the effect is diminishing, said Huo Jianguo, a vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.

Nonetheless, experts said to deal with habitual flip-flops by the Trump administration and resolve bilateral issues that in many cases go far beyond trade, China needs to tap the power of reform and opening-up to stay unbeaten. 

Experts said that China should improve its manufacturing capacity to move up in the industrial value chain, diversify its import sources and export destinations and foster trade with key trading partners like the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

"Given the export controls the US has long placed on China, US products that are exported to China such as scrap and agricultural products are highly replaceable," Zhao Zhongxiu, president of the Shandong University of Finance and Economics, said.

Joining regional trade pacts such as the RCEP should be given priority, Yu Miaojie, deputy dean with the National School of Development at Peking University, said during the seminar. 

China could even consider joining the CPTPP, Yu said.

"One of the issues China's trading partners are not happy with is China's enforcement [on pledges], though China is actually doing a good job," Yu said. 

"How can we show the world we are doing what we said we would? Joining the CPTPP could help show the world that."

Several experts at the seminar said it could be a decade-long struggle and the US could make peace with itself in treating China as its equal and only when China's economic output rose to be 1.5 times that of the US.

Successfully walking away from a brawl with the US will be the coming-of-age moment of China as a global superpower, Huo said.
Newspaper headline: Nation shouldn’t lose strategic focus



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