China will fulfill opening-up promises in trade war with US, will Washington do likewise?

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/19 22:18:40

At this year's Central Economic Work Conference, top policymakers will set the tone for the next year's macroeconomic policy.

Amid a testing time of economic uncertainty, some observers believe China's growth outlook will play a big part in deciding the direction of the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Following a truce reached on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, China has begun working out its trade differences with the US. We believe Beijing will fulfill its promises, regardless of the outlook for the Chinese economy next year.

Although multiple factors such as an escalating China-Canada dispute relating to the detention of a Huawei executive have led to a complex external environment for the Chinese economy, China's promises on trade issues won't be empty talk.

The key issue is the US. If the US economy loses steam in 2019, will Washington be willing to reach a trade cease-fire with China in exchange for restarting its own economic engine?

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration was focused on securing structural changes in the Chinese economy that would help balance trade.

As US economic growth slows, the country will be in greater need of a trade surplus. This won't be good news for the trade war.

Some US experts have said much more will have to be offered by China to meet US demands. As China celebrated its 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this week, some Americans were urging China to seize the opportunity of the trade truce to further open up its markets to the US.

It seems the US side has specific requirements for China in the trade war, and it thinks China's opening up of its economy should meet US demands. If Washington sets higher requirements for China to end the war amid a cooling economy, should China unconditionally accept it?

It doesn't make sense to let China shoulder the responsibility of the US economic slowdown. The Chinese government will fulfill its opening-up promises, but it won't pay the bill for the US economy.

Recent indicators have shown the US economy is slowing down as the impact of the trade war intensifies. That's Washington's own fault. China will watch closely to see whether the US tries to shift responsibility during the trade truce and avoid fully fulfilling its own promises.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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