Not ‘very difficult’ for China to buy $100b more of US products, services a year: expert

By Ma Jingjing and Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/14 22:18:44

Graphics: GT

If China increases its imports from the US, it won't affect other countries' exports to China, as China's market is huge and its trade is diversified, an official said on Tuesday.

"I believe that the China-US economic and trade relationship will make progress based on mutual benefits, which will not only be conducive to the two countries, but to every other country's trade and economic development," Zou Zhiwu, deputy head of the General Administration of Customs, said on Tuesday at a press conference in Beijing.

It will not be "very difficult" for China to raise its purchases of US products by $100 billion in a year, because demand for US goods China did not import before such as frozen pork alone will reach such high a figure, Liang Ming, director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation's foreign trade institute, a MOFCOM-affiliated think tank, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

 "China reduced imports of US products by about $32.4 billion in 2019 due to trade tensions. But once a trade deal is signed, there is room for the recovery of imports from the US, given the complementary China-US trade structure," Liang said.

He dismissed concerns that China might reduce imports from other countries and regions, like soybeans from Brazil.

"The text of the phase one trade deal is in line with the WTO rules, and therefore Chinese enterprises will increase purchases of US goods and services based on market conditions like price," Liang said.

Gonzalo Matamala, general manager of the Shanghai branch of Chilean fruit grower and exporter Gesex, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he believes the China-US phase one trade deal will not affect his fruit business from Chile.

"Chilean products exported to China enjoy free trade agreements, so they are more affordable to Chinese families. Meanwhile, Chilean and US fruit crops harvested in different seasons, so China increasing US imports will not have a big influence," Matamala said.

China buys many US products just because they are inexpensive, rather than as any kind of gesture, Liang said. 

"Currently, the US pork price is extremely low, as its live hog storage is at the highest since World War II. However, China reduced buying US pork after tariffs were imposed. It may start to buy more US pork again once a deal is signed," he said.


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