China has recently given preliminary approval to more than 30 trademarks linked to US President Donald Trump, covering business ventures such as golf clubs to hotels and restaurants.
The potential for economic cooperation between China and the US is big, and Trump obviously still values the Chinese market, although analysts are looking at how his potential plan to raise import barriers would intensify the risk of a trade war and subsequently hurt the interests of US firms doing business in China.
The picture of Sino-US relations has always been complicated and uneven, but most of Trump's predecessors have done a relatively good job of avoiding a trade war with Beijing while at the same time trying to defend the US' interests. How Trump's administration will deal with Sino-US relations is being closely watched.
Trump's commercial empire has a range of business interests in China, reportedly owning dozens of trademarks in the world's second largest economy. Trump's position as the US President would not offer his businesses immunity from a trade war with China and would be as impacted as other US enterprises if Sino-US relations were to suffer.
The Office of the US Trade Representative recently posted a report saying "the current global trading system has been great for China, since the turn of the century it has not generated the same results for the United States," suggesting that Washington should negotiate new and better trade deals to defend the US' interests. The report also said from 2000, "the last full year before China joined the WTO," the US trade deficit in manufactured goods has risen by around 100 percent until 2016, while the country saw a loss of almost 5 million manufacturing jobs between January 2000 to January 2017.
However, this is not the whole picture of the Sino-US economic ties. US exports of goods to China have rose around 500 percent since 2001, and China has become the US' largest export market for goods outside of North America. It seems that "the current global trading system" has not only been great for China, but also vital for US exports.
It will be a tough test for Trump's political wisdom to see how the president can follow through on his "America first" pledge while avoiding setbacks in Sino-US relations. To make the wealth cake bigger, efforts should be made to tap the potential of economic cooperation rather than negotiating new trade deals. Hopefully the Trump administration can make a positive response if China extends an olive branch to the US to enhance economic cooperation.
The author is a reporter with the Global Times. firstname.lastname@example.org