Economic dialogue not a platform for US to squeeze China

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/18 23:33:39

Senior officials from China and the US are set to meet on Wednesday in Washington for the first round of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue (CED). This is one of four major dialogue mechanisms established by the two countries in April when US President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida. The new efforts of the two leaders to push forward the bilateral relationship show how much they value the importance of China-US relations.

One of the biggest concerns of the pragmatic US president is to bring down the US trade deficit with China, which stood at $347 billion last year and accounted for 47 percent of the US total. The gap in the first five months of this year widened about 5.3 percent year-on-year, according to US Census Bureau data.

In fact, US officials and the media have never stopped carping on about the deficit, picturing the US, the largest economy in the world, as the one that unfortunately suffers huge losses in bilateral trade. They often criticized China and advocated harsh means to force China to make concessions so the US can always be the winner. For instance, the US has been pressuring China to open up imports of biotech crops, financial services and foreign investment, while restricting its hi-tech exports and financial services to China.

Just before the CED, there were reports that the US could further block imports of Chinese steel and aluminum due to China's act of "dumping." And in a recently released annual report, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said China remained a "difficult market," according to Reuters.

It's always better to talk than fight. But having economic talks is not meant for one side to prevail over the other. It's supposed to be a bargaining process in which both sides lay their cards on the table and find a balance that suits each other's interests. This process will be difficult, but should be on an equal basis. If the US wants to use the dialogue to compel China to make concessions and satisfy whatever the US wants, how can the two sides make an acceptable outcome?

The reality is, Trump won't be able to boost US economic growth if the world economy can't maintain healthy and sustained development. In this process, China, the world's second-largest economy, plays a vital role. Finding fault with China will only trample on the US' efforts toward its economic target. It is hoped that the US can use new thinking about China and take opportunity of the CED to work for mutual benefit.

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