US should assume full responsibility for escalated trade tensions: experts

The US needs to take all of the responsibilities for its escalated trade tensions with China, experts warmed, pointing out that the country’s accusations that China neglects differences in trade and has not taken active measures cannot hold water.

China’s Ministry of Commerce released a statement on Thursday, in which it, point-by-point, refuted the so-called blames mentioned in the Statement by the US Trade Representative on Section 301 Action unveiled on July 10.

Over the years, China has given priority to and taken proactive measures to address the US’ concerns, but the US turned a blind eye to China’s efforts, disregarded the multilateral trading system, and resorted to unilateral protectionist policies for sake of its own interests, the experts added.

Placing great importance to its ties with the US, China has introduced a series of measures to improve bilateral trade relations and diffuse disputes, said Luo Yuze, director of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations at the State Council’s Development Research Center.

Luo added that China did so since it takes its relations with the US as one of its most important bilateral relationships.

China has made clear-cut pledge that strong measures would be rolled out to expand its imports as unilateral export growth and foreign trade deficit has never been its appeal.

At this year’s annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia, China announced a slew of measures to further open up market and encourage exports, indicating its sincerity to improve trade relations with the US as well as other countries.

China has been restrained when dealing with trade dispute with the US as it insists on not firing the first shot or proactively adding tariffs to retaliate, said Luo.

The country also did a lot to address the US’ concerns over overcapacity, experts underlined.

“China and the US maintains a close trade relationship. As a developing country and late comer as well, China has been learning international rules to adapt itself to economic globalization,” said Zhou Mi, deputy director of the Institute of America and Oceania of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce.

But the US, where the 2008 global financial crisis started, dragged the world economy into a 10-year-long rebalance process and directly led to a sharp decrease of the demand and relative supply surplus, Zhou said.

Against such backdrop, China has been endeavoring for a new balance with solutions like supply-side structural reform, he said, adding that during the G20 Hangzhou Summit in 2016, China reached a consensus with other stakeholders to establish the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity in order to address periodical fluctuations of overcapacity.

In addition to the efforts, China quickens reform and opening up steps by substantially cutting tariffs on imported vehicles and other products and increasing imports of American agricultural and energy products.

In stark contrast to China’s concrete efforts is the US’ disrespect for the international trading rules and escalation of the trade war step by step.

China and the US have held four rounds of negotiations. In the process, China, with a strong sense of responsibility and constructive attitude, put forward plans to expand imports of American agricultural and energy products, and worked on proposals of enlarging imports of US manufactured goods and services, said Li Yong from China Association of International Trade.

“However, in reckless disregard of this sincerity, the US abruptly imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, breaking the consensus reached and shutting the door on negotiations. It is not China but the US that is irresponsible,” Li noted.

China was forced to take counteractions, Li noted, stressing that it is a justified choice to defend the core interests of the nation and its people.

The US has become so unreasonable in distorting facts, and also it is irresponsible for China if it does not react, he added.

A retrospect of the escalation of US-China trade tensions will tell that it is the US who started every dispute without any respect for international trading rules.

On April 3, the US administration published a proposed list of Chinese products worth around $50 billion subject to additional 25 percent tariffs, based on a so-called Section 301 investigation report.

On April 27, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released the “2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights”, unilaterally judging and criticizing the intellectual property rights in other countries.

Then, on May 29, the White House announced that it would make public the list of Chinese products worth around $50 billion subject to additional 25 percent tariffs by June 15 and announce restrictions on Chinese investment in the US and export controls by June 30.

On July 6, the White House announced 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products, and five days later, Washington worsened the situation by announcing a tariff list of Chinese products worth $200 billion.

The trade war was provoked by the US, and China’s engagement in the war is for a peaceful resolution, which cannot be achieved either by stepping aside or by losing the war, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

China has made major and sincere policy adjustments to ease the US’ concerns in trade deficit, and market access, especially the financial service sector, said Wang Xiaosong, professor with Renmin University of China.

But showing no respect to the truth, the US groundlessly levied high tariffs on Chinese products in the disguise of reciprocal trading, hurting China’s core interests, Wang added.

Under the current background, China has to protest against trade bullying and hit back at the US with countermeasures, while upholding reform and opening up, the expert noted.