US government should bear sole, entire responsibility for severe setback to China-US economic and trade consultations

By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily
The US government should bear the sole and entire responsibility for this severe setback to the China-US economic and trade consultations, said a white paper issued by China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) on June 2.
The white paper, titled China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations, marks the second time for Chinese government to issue an authoritative report on China-US trade issues after The Facts and China’s Position on China-US Trade Friction was released last September.
The 8,300-character white paper teases out and introduces the origin and development of the trade friction between China and the US, revealing China’s integrity, inclusiveness and high sense of responsibility. It indicates that China’s position and resolution have always stayed unchanged and righteous.
The attitudes and practices adopted by China and US on the bilateral trade issue reflect their differences in credibility and morality.
The trade friction provoked by the US hurts the interests of both the two countries and the world. The US has backtracked on its commitments in the China-US economic and trade consultations, while China is committed to credible consultations based on equality and mutual benefit.
The intentions of the trade friction initiator can’t be more obvious. Trumpeting “America First”, the current US administration has adopted a series of unilateral and protectionist measures, regularly wielded tariffs as a “big stick” and coerced other countries into accepting its demands.
The US has initiated the Sections 201, 232 and 301 investigations against its main trading partners including China, causing disruption to the global economic and trade landscape.
Turning a blind eye to the nature of the economic structure and the stage of development in China and the US, as well as the reality of the international industrial division of labor, the US insists that China’s “unfair” and “non-reciprocal” trade policies have created a trade deficit in bilateral commercial exchanges that constitutes “being taken advantage of”, leading to unilateral imposition of additional tariffs on China.
However, facts proved that to “make America great again” through hegemony is not only severe misjudging, but also a serious threat against the peaceful development of the world.
According to the white paper, impacted by the trade friction between China and the US, US exports to China have dropped for eight months in a row, and direct investment by Chinese companies in the US was $5.79 billion in 2018, down by 10 percent year-on-year.
The white paper predicted that US GDP in 2019 and the next four years could decrease by $64 to 91 billion per year, about 0.3 to 0.5 percent of total US GDP. If the US imposes 25 percent additional tariffs on all imported Chinese goods, US GDP will decrease by 1.01 percent, with 2.16 million job losses and an additional annual burden of $2,294 on a family of four.
That is what “being taken advantage of” really is. Some US politicians, asking for troubles, are impeding the development of the world economy. With the outlook for China-US trade friction unclear, the WTO has lowered its forecast for global trade growth in 2019 from 3.7 percent to 2.6 percent. Global organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have also revised down forecasts for global economic growth in 2019.
In the era of economic globalization, the highly integrated economies of China and the US have jointly established a complete industrial chain. Unfortunately, these two economies, which were interwoven and enjoyed win-win results, are now tortured by the stupid and distorted trade policies of the US. It has casted a shadow on the global economy.
Who is backtracking on commitments? The answer lies in the facts. The US politicians have been mincing words on the China-US trade issues. At one time they claimed that an agreement was about to be reached, while later they went back on the claim, saying the agreement was difficult. They even groundlessly accused China of “backtracking” on its position.
The white paper bluntly pointed out the three times when the US backtracked on its commitments. The US firstly announced an additional tariff of 25 percent on $50 billion of Chinese exports to the US because of false accusations. Then it tore up the consensus just ten days after a joint statement was reached, while announcing the resumption of the tariff program, which led to quick escalation of the economic and trade friction between the two countries.
Later, when the two countries had agreed on most of the issues, the US persisted with exorbitant demands, maintained the additional tariffs imposed since the friction began, and insisted on including mandatory requirements concerning China’s sovereign affairs in the deal.
China, sticking to justice and equality, will never surrender to the fully-revealed hegemonic attitude and extreme pressure of the US. China’s position has been consistent and clear – that cooperation serves the interests of the two countries, that conflict can only hurt both, and that cooperation is the only correct choice for both sides.
Concerning their differences and frictions on the economic and trade front, China is willing to work together with the US to find solutions, and to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement.
It has been proved again and again both in history and at present that those who chase after hegemony will only be isolated.
The unilateral and arbitrary practices of the US have received broad criticism across the world. A national leader from Europe recently said that “More than ever, our way of thinking and our actions have to be multilateral rather than unilateral.”
Besides, the international community also made other voices of condemnation such as the US showed no respect to international order, and the US would receive no support by violating WTO rules and damaging the multilateral trading system.
The US administration is now aiming to stop China’s development, which could prove to be disastrous for both the US and the entire world, remarked American economist Jeffrey Sachs.
At the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore noted that even short of outright conflict, a prolonged period of tension and uncertainty will be extremely damaging.
The above voices reflect the desperate need of the global people to safeguard peace and prosperity of the world.
China has always been a country that strictly adheres to moral principles and dares to shoulder responsibilities. While it is safeguarding national dignity and people’s interests, it is also creating every possibility for world countries to achieve win-win cooperation.
The white paper once again declares that the Chinese government rejects the idea that threats of a trade war and continuous tariff hikes can ever help resolve trade and economic issues.
Guided by a spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, the two countries should push forward consultations based on good faith and credibility in a bid to address issues, narrow differences, expand common interests, and jointly safeguard global economic stability and development.
The prospects for win-win cooperation can and should be created. The two countries should look forward rather than looking back on the general direction of the China-US economic and trade consultations.
Only by meeting each other halfway, and jointly advancing China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability, can the two countries conform to the common aspiration of the world and enhance the well-being of both nations and the world.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)