Bilateral trade shaping relations for a new era between China and US

By Zhao Minghao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/9 23:33:40

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US President Donald Trump's visit to China is the most important part of his Asia tour. Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan accompanied the Trumps on a visit to the Forbidden City and to watch Peking Opera, showing the good personal relationship between the two leaders. The video that showed Trump's granddaughter reading poems and singing in Chinese has been watched by millions of enthusiastic Chinese.

Just as important as the friendly and hospitable atmosphere, China and the US inked business deals and investment agreements worth over $250 billion. Trade is Trump's primary concern and China understands his hope to create more jobs for American workers. In fact, China is also eager to purchase more products, technology and services from the US. During Trump's visit, the agreements signed by the two countries strongly show that bilateral economic cooperation will have more opportunities as China enters "a new era" and Chinese people become richer.

After the meeting between the two leaders, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said that China will ease market access to the financial sector, including banking, securities, funds and the insurance industry, and lower the tariff on cars. And that is exactly what US companies want. Actually, in the World Bank report "Doing Business 2018" released on October 31, China's rank rose again.

Xi has worked to make Trump believe that the Sino-US trade relationship is definitely not a zero-sum game. The two nations should think in an insightful and constructive way to solve conflicts by promoting economic cooperation. Besides, Sino-US trade ties involve more stakeholders. China is becoming a big buyer of natural gas and liquefied natural gas from Alaska and the cooperation will also benefit coal workers in Wyoming.

It is worth noting that the Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness were signed between FAA and CAAC certification systems. Airplanes produced by China like the C919 may enter the US market in the future and suppliers to the C919 actually include US companies, including General Electric and Honeywell International.

Trump's visit will also strengthen the investment relationship between China and the US. According to National Committee on US-China Relations and the Rhodium Group, two-way direct investment between the two countries was about $60 billion in 2016, with Chinese direct investment in the US approaching $46 billion, a twofold increase. And the newly increased investments flowed into clean energy, the Internet and high-end manufacturing sectors.

Besides, the two sides have reached consensus and deals on military relations, cyber security, anti-terror and global wealth cooperation. The China-US Joint-Staff dialogue mechanism will hold their first talks within this year. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will visit China in the first half of next year. Maintaining stable military ties is an important guarantee for the two countries to avert strategic confrontation.

The tension on the Korean Peninsula was also a major topic during Xi-Trump meeting. The two leaders reiterated their firm commitment to achieving denuclearization on the peninsula and maintaining the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. This signifies that China and the US will continue pressuring Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile development and meanwhile seeking to solve the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation.

China and the US are also deepening their cooperation on other major international issues. The two leaders have reached consensus on promoting stability and development of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the two countries will conduct third-party cooperation with Iraq on energy.

As Xi noted, cooperation is the "only correct choice" for China and the US, and a better future would only be achieved through win-win cooperation. Many analysts believe that there are structural conflicts between China and the US, but as China endeavors to take an unusual path in its rise, the two countries also have dynamics for structural cooperation. They are seeking to make a competitive coexistence and build a new type of relationship that can effectively manage competition and enables the two to work together for more achievements. This is necessary and highly attainable.

Trump has been much criticized for his erratic style in and out of the US, but Beijing hopes to figure out a rational and pragmatic way to deal with him. Beijing has found Trump's "America First" policy a challenge, but still needs to adapt to the reality. Entering a new era, China has the confidence and wisdom to reshape its relations with the US.

The author is a senior research fellow with The Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn



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