Nation needs to prepare for all possible trade scenarios

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/13 23:38:40

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He speaks with US Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo: IC

China should continue to prepare for all scenarios in future trade talks with the US while ramping up efforts to resolve disputes between the world's two largest economies, Chinese observers told the Global Times on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump told reporters Friday (US time) that the two sides were close to ending the trade war. 

"There was a lot of friction between the United States and China, and now it's a lovefest. That's a good thing," Trump said, according to a Reuters report.

Trump said it could take up to five weeks to get a pact written, noted the report.

"The US president affirmed the positive trade talks' progress. It remains to be seen if the phase-one deal will finally come by then," Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times over the weekend. 

"The step-by-step approach toward resolution means the two sides have got back on the right track while charting a fresh process to resolve their disputes and implementing the consensus reached by top leaders of the two countries," said Diao.

During the latest trade talks held in Washington on Thursday and Friday, China and the US achieved substantial progress in areas including agriculture, intellectual property rights protection, exchange rate, financial services, expansion of trade cooperation, technology transfer and dispute settlement, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Talking about the latest consultations, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who headed the trade delegation, said the two sides conducted candid, efficient and constructive discussions on economic and trade issues of mutual concern.

Liu said he hopes the two sides will follow the principles and direction set by the two presidents, meet each other halfway and properly address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, noted a Xinhua report.

Caution, patience needed

Trump's upbeat comment about the trade war should be treated cautiously while more patience, wisdom and determination are needed in future consultations as uncertainties can emerge any time, Chinese experts warned.

China should maintain a cautious attitude while preparing for the worst result, they added.

Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at Ministry of Commerce's Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times that given that the US had gone back on its word several times in past negotiations, "we cannot trust completely in the Trump administration."

So far the US government has not removed Chinese tech giant Huawei from the US entity list despite Trump announcing during the G20 summit in June that he would allow US companies to continue to sell to Huawei.

Right before the Washington trade talks, the US added 28 Chinese entities to a blacklist on the so-called concern for their alleged role in human rights violations in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

Eight companies that focus on facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology including Hikvision, Megvii, iFlytek and SenseTime were included on the list.

"You don't know where the US will find fault with China in the next step, a way of putting maximum pressure on China to seek its own benefit," Mei said.

"The current trade truce cannot jump to the conclusion that the war is nearly coming to an end. As long as the US cannot feel the real pain, it will not easily call it to stop," he said.

Chinese analysts noted that some US elites' idea of containing China via a trade war had proven frustrating and unrealistic. The US agricultural industry has been one of the most hit sectors during the trade war that has lasted more than a year between the two countries. 

In a tweet Saturday, Trump thanked China for "by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country."

"For the phase-one deal, I think a written pact will probably be signed in winter on the condition that during the period from now on, the US will not play more tricks," said Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

"Any unilateral and damaging move by the US toward China should be removed or it remains difficult to reach the written pact even if it is called a 'phase-one' deal," Dong told the Global Times.

The Ministry of Commerce has emphasized the principle that all additional US tariffs must be removed if there is to be a trade deal between China and the US.


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