Cooperation, not competition, can help Tokyo, Beijing blunt impact of US trade protectionism

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/23 22:33:40

Cooperation, not competition, can help Tokyo, Beijing blunt impact of trade protectionism

The Trump administration's protectionist trade policy has created an opportunity for China and Japan to rethink their economic relationship.

The first formal bilateral summit between their leaders in seven years is scheduled to be held later this week in Beijing, a signal that China-Japan economic ties are getting back on track after a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands in 2012.

As both China and Japan are seeking to expand their influence in the Asian manufacturing chain, their competition has heated up in recent years. Their competition is especially fierce in areas such as infrastructure and equipment manufacturing.

Before 2012, bilateral trade between China and South Korea accounted for just two-thirds of China-Japan bilateral trade, but South Korea has almost caught up with Japan. China-Japan economic relations have already been undermined by excessive competition, and there has been no winner amid this deterioration.

The idea that China and Japan are competitors should be abandoned in order to restore trust and promote economic cooperation. The two countries must prevent historical and political issues from becoming obstacles to economic cooperation.

Japan is a supply chain superpower. As China's companies move up the industry value chain, the country must cope properly with the issue of how to cooperate with Japan. Competition will persist, but only through cooperation can the two countries effectively handle global challenges and realize common development.

The shift in US policy away from free trade has become a challenge faced by the international economy, and it's squeezing the profit margins of companies around the world including China and Japan. The warming relationship between the two countries will give their companies more leeway to adjust their positions before the US market partly closes its door on the world with punitive tariffs.

China-Japan economic relations have never been more important. The huge buying power of each country constitutes a strategic buffer zone for the other amid the rise of trade protectionism in the US.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Newspaper headline: Cooperation, not competition, can help Tokyo, Beijing blunt impact of trade protectionism


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