China warns against trade spat

By Wang Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/23 16:33:39

Confrontation with US will hurt both sides: MOFCOM

China outlined the dangers of a potential trade confrontation between China and the US on Friday, warning it would inflict great damage on one of the largest bilateral trade relationships in the world, hurting both economies.

"China-US cooperation is interdependent, and confrontation would only hurt both sides," Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press briefing in Beijing on Friday, adding that China is willing to further expand bilateral trade with the US.

Shen's comments came as concerns mount over a potential confrontational China-US trade relationship, sparked by the election and recent moves of trade-bashing US President-elect Donald Trump, including tapping a vocal China critic to oversee US trade policy.

Trump nominated Peter Navarro to lead the newly created White House National Trade Council on Wednesday. Navarro, a rogue economist, has written several books critical of China and, as some media reports have pointed out, views China-US trade as a zero-sum game where the US' loss is China's gain.

But the MOFCOM spokesman expressed optimism about the future of China-US trade relations on Friday, saying it is too early at this point in time to predict whether or not China-US trade will continue to decline.

"Trade complementarity between China and the US is strong, no matter how the US government changes, the mutually beneficial and complementary characteristics in China-US trade won't change," Shen said.

However, Gao Liankui, research program director of China and World Economic Governance at the Renmin University of China, pointed out that "there will definitely be a trade confrontation within the first two years" of Trump's presidency.

That US will likely take more protectionist measures against Chinese exports, and China needs to be prepared to deal with such measures, Gao told the Global Times on Friday.

Gao added that China can take legal action under international trade rules to respond to such measures, and the country can also continue to promote free trade by carrying out the "Belt and Road initiative."

The US is China's second-largest trading partner, but bilateral trade has declined in the first 11 months of the year, according to the data from the MOFCOM.

Shen on Friday also said that trade volume is just a part of the economic relationship between China and the US, cooperation between the two countries has expanded to almost all areas and cooperation in investment is "overall relatively smooth."

In the first 11 months of the year, China attracted a total of $2.21 billion investment from the US, up 15.1 percent from 2015, while Chinese investment in the US in non-financial sectors jumped 159 percent year-on-year to $18.63 billion, according to the website of MOFCOM.


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