A potential trade war should not be used as an “option” to spoil Chinese-American relations as the two countries are able to resolve bilateral trade disputes through dialogue, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday.
China and the United States, the world’s largest traders, should work together to promote trade and investment, said Gao, speaking at a briefing in Beijing.
A good relationship between the two countries not only benefits both sides but helps global economic growth and recovery amid a still weak momentum, Gao said.
US President Donald Trump pledged during his election campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 40 percent but he has yet to take formal action. He also said he would declare China an “exchange rate manipulator.”
However, in a phone conversation earlier this month to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said that the United States was ready to work with China to take bilateral ties to new historic heights.
Gao said yesterday China would not comment too much on what the US president said during his election campaign, but would focus on the new American government’s attitude toward trade with China.
“As a consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, cooperation was the only right choice for China and the US,” Gao said.
Whatever changes in the US policy toward China, the trade relations between the two nations will eventually return to “the track of mutual benefits and win-win,” he said.
China is now America’s largest trading partner and its third largest export destination after Canada and Mexico, according to a report from the US-China Business Council.
China’s direct investment in America hit a record high of US$45 billion in 2016, a threefold increase on 2015.
Robust bilateral trade and investment have supported some 2.6 million jobs in the US, according to the report.
“A trade war should not become an option,” Gao said. “If the two sides fight, both will be hurt.”
The US last year replaced China as the world’s largest trader as China’s foreign trade declined.
Gao yesterday said China would not seek a “blind expansion in exports‚“ as it could undermine the country’s resources and environment.
China would instead gain new grounds through improved standards, techniques, brands and services.
Addressing China’s tightening inspection on outbound investment since late last year, Gao said measures were being taken to control irrational and blind outbound investment, where companies made huge investment into high risk areas and fields unrelated to their core businesses.
The commerce minister said the government would guide companies to make more prudent and rational outbound investment while improving rules to facilitate outbound investment and protect the rights of investors.