Common interests only way for trade talks

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/9 10:33:39

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington next week to resume talks with the Donald Trump administration, the White House said on Monday in a positive tone. "We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Although China and the US wrapped up trade talks without agreement last week, both sides described the talks as "frank discussions" and agreed to set up a working mechanism to keep close communication.

Last week's negotiations were the first formal talks since the escalation in the Sino-US trade dispute. Many observers believe China and the US, via the trade talks, intended to sound out each other's economic firepower, which ended in a draw.

Even the Financial Times described Trump's trade demands on China as "extreme" and "irrational." For instance, Washington demanded China cut the trade deficit by $200 billion in two years, and withdraw its request for World Trade Organization consultations in the US. "This is tantamount to a demand for surrender, unilateral disarmament and reparations at the same time," the newspaper commented, adding that Washington's list of demands is "nothing but destructive provocation."

Since Washington announced a tariff increase on steel and aluminum in March, China has been staying clear-minded and has arranged countermeasures. The trade stick has turned out useless on China. Beijing will not treat Washington's list of demands as a basis for their negotiations.

China is confident, cool-headed and has realistic judgment on the respective interests and strengths of the two countries. Beijing can distinguish between Washington's justified appeals and its greed. A balance of interests between the two states is what Beijing pursues and it is the only way to ensure successful negotiations.

China will safeguard its national sovereignty and basic rights as a WTO member. The trade agreement, if clinched with the US, must be mutually beneficial and should never be a result of China yielding to US pressure.

If Liu, as the White House said, visits the US for trade talks next week, Washington should cut down on its excessive demands and work with Beijing to find common ground. The US should be clear that Chinese delegations are highly professional and have in-depth research into the US.

More importantly, China has prepared for the worst. The whole of Chinese society is fully aware of the serious damage that unprincipled concessions would bring to the country's long-term interests, and that China and the US are at a crucial stage of writing rules to address disputes. The Chinese public is highly supportive of the Chinese government's adherence to principle.

Washington's unilateral tariff increase and list of trade demands, although negotiating tactics, reflect its arrogance and unwillingness to treat China on an equal footing. China must stick to its stance and strive for equal treatment from the US.

We believe a trade war isn't what the US expects. We hope both sides can reach a consensus on fair trade via negotiations.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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