Trade deal to boost imports

By Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/20 21:18:39

Consumers want more US movies, latest medicine

A truck unloads soybeans imported from Brazil on the quay of a port in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu Province in April. Photo: IC

China has pledged to import more goods from overseas markets, including the US, over the weekend, with the US agricultural and energy sectors set to benefit.

China said over the weekend that it would purchase more goods and services from the US to cater to Chinese people's growing consumption needs and boost domestic high-quality economic growth, according to a joint statement issued by the two governments on Saturday.

China is expected to import $24 trillion-worth of goods in the next 15 years, providing more opportunities to trade partners including the US, said a report by China Media Group on Sunday.

Zhang Ning, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday that China has strong demand for certain US goods, including supercomputers, artificial intelligence technologies, electric cars, biotechnologies, integrated circuits, rockets and space equipment, and military-turned-civilian applications.

However, these items are all in the US export ban list, although the list does not solely apply to China, Zhang said. The joint statement made no mention of the US relaxing such restrictive rules for China.

In 2017, China's trade surplus in goods with the US stood at $275.8 billion, according to Chinese official data.

Experts said that China is expected to import more consumer goods, high-tech goods and minerals, as the main items to fulfill a national economic growth agenda rolled out earlier this year to expand China's imports. Countries that stand to benefit include those that export finished products, such as Germany, the UK and Japan, and raw material exporting countries such as Australia, Russia, and African countries.

Zhang said US agricultural and energy exports could also get a boost.

"Oranges, soybeans, pistachios, beef, wine and pork are expected to gain fast-track access to the Chinese market, due to their good quality and price competiveness," Zhang said.

"In terms of energy, increased imports of natural gas would help China avoid shortages, and would also be in line with the US energy export strategy," Zhang said.

"But, given that US natural gas has a long way to come to reach China, which will affect the price, whether the volume of such imports will rise is uncertain, and there is little the Chinese government can do about that," Zhang said. "The US exporters may have to consider lowering profit margins so that the volume of this trade can increase."

Consumer demand

Ordinary Chinese consumers randomly interviewed by the Global Times on the streets of Beijing on Sunday seemed to have mixed feelings about the need for more US imports.

"US cars are less appealing than German and Japanese cars. High-tech goods are mostly the domain of business-to-business negotiations that we consumers don't have a say in. Maybe some agricultural products like cherries would be good," a 30-something man surnamed Hu told the Global Times.

Others said they already have access to almost all of the daily consumer goods they need, thanks to cross-border e-commerce channels such as Amazon's overseas shopping platforms.

But those interviewed did point out a few American products they would like to see more of in China.

Movies and medicine were top of their wish list.

"I hope to see more US movie imports, as what is imported right now is very limited," a 20-something resident surnamed Luo said.

"I hope the government can import more high-quality medicine from the US. I would like to see China importing the latest medicine, not the outdated products," Yan, a former employee in the aviation industry, told the Global Times.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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