China-US deal won’t affect European imports: experts

By Wang Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/22 21:33:40

An agreement reached between China and the US over their trade disputes has created unease among some of China's trade partners, particularly those in Europe, who fear a potential China-US deal could come at their cost, but Chinese experts allayed their fears. 

With a rising middle class and a government keen on further opening up the Chinese market to foreign goods and services, China offers abundant opportunities for all of its trade partners, as long as their products are competitive, experts noted on Tuesday.

Following an announcement from Chinese and US officials of a truce agreement that includes China's promise to increase imports from the US, some European officials warned that the deal could hurt Europe.

On Monday, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed in a report that China's promise to buy more US goods could mean less demand for German products.

"The US and China risk entering an agreement at the expense of Europe if Europe is incapable of showing a firm hand," French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by AFP as saying on Monday.

In a statement to the Global Times on Tuesday, Chantal Hughes, a spokesperson for the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, said that while the ministry does not comment on a potential China-US deal, it urges that any effort to reduce the US trade deficit should "respect international rules."

Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that European officials are overreacting to the agreement.

"There could be some impact, but there is no need to exaggerate," Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that China's plan to import more US agricultural and energy products has "little impact" on European countries.

"China doesn't buy much European pork or soybeans anyway."

In terms of agricultural and energy products, South America and the Middle East could be affected if China starts buying more from the US, Wang said.

Big enough 'cake'

Even then, a potential deal between China and the US does not mean the massive Chinese market is closed to other trade partners, said Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"China's demand for foreign goods is huge and still growing at a very fast pace, so the 'cake' is big enough to share," Chen told the Global Times.

China could purchase as much as $10 trillion worth of foreign goods and services by 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in November.

Top Chinese officials have also said that China would continue to import from other trade partners as well. "China is willing to buy from not only the US but also the rest of the world," Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told media on Saturday after negotiations with US officials. But to enter the Chinese market, exporters need to offer more competitive products and services, he added.

Experts noted that China has been strengthening trade ties with many countries and regions in recent years, including the EU, signing several free trade agreements, and the US deal will not alter the trend.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Beijing later this week, where trade talks top the agenda.

"The deal with the US is just normal business and China always seeks to diversify its imports," Chen said, adding that China will continue to engage with other trade partners.

"I think these countries need not worry about the deal between China and the US. They should instead focus on how to make their products and services more competitive," Wang said.

Chen Qingqing contributed to this story

Newspaper headline: Chinese market ‘big enough’


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