China doesn’t want and will not start a trade war, but is able to deal with any challenges, and will defend the interests of the nation and the Chinese people, China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on Sunday, in response to a question about recent China-US trade frictions.
Zhong made the remarks at a press conference during the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing.
A trade war leaves no winners, and will only lead to disastrous outcomes for the two countries and the rest of the world, Zhong added.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday pressed ahead with the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum, with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, igniting international fear of a trade war.
On Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it “resolutely opposed” the move, and would assess any damage caused by it, saying it will “firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests.”
Zhong said that the two parties haven’t halted economic dialogues, and China is more than happy to work with the US side. The trade volumes between the two countries expanded 220-fold over 40 years since China and the US established diplomatic ties. Trade relations between the two countries are complementary and still have huge potential.
He confirmed that Liu He, a senior Chinese economic and financial official visiting the US earlier this month had candid and constructive discussions with senior US officials, and they have agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes with cooperation rather than confrontation.
US-China trade deficit figure overvalued
As for the US’s trade deficit with China, Zhong noted that the official deficit number announced by the US has been overestimated by around 20 percent during the past few years, according to the study of a joint work group made up of experts from both countries.
Besides, the trade imbalance is structural: China has a surplus in goods trade, while the United States enjoys a surplus in service trade.
US control of high-tech exports to China also contributed to bilateral trade imbalance, Zhong said, quoting one US research report which estimated a 35-percent fall in trade deficit with China if the United States relaxed export restrictions.
Zhong said the two countries have different demands in opening up markets in financial, telecom, automobile, produce and other sectors due to different national conditions.
Different views on internet security and intellectual property rights also impact bilateral trade and investment, he added.
Expo to offer access to open Chinese market
To provide more access to its huge market, China is going to host its first International Import Expo in Shanghai from November 5 to 10.
The expo shows China’s support to globalization and free trade and the country’s commitment to opening up, Zhong said, noting the expo is not a solo show for China but a stage for all countries.
He also said that the booth area for the expo has been overbooked by 20 percent as enterprises from more than 120 countries and regions have submitted their application for the event.
More than 150,000 purchasers from around the world are expected during the event, he said.