Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks on China-US trade talks
2019/05/17

1.China's basic position

As we made clear on many occasions, raising tariffs won't solve any problem, and starting a trade war will harm not only others, but also oneself. China doesn't want a trade war, but is by no means afraid of fighting one. If someone brings the war to our doorstep, we will fight to the end. China never succumbs to external pressure. We have the resolve and capability to defend our lawful and legitimate rights and interests.

The economic and trade relations between China and the US, the two biggest economies in the world, are of great significance to the two countries and the global economy. The US should have worked with China and shouldered its responsibilities for global growth. But on the contrary, it insisted on staging a trade war unilaterally and repeatedly increased tariffs on Chinese goods against standing consensus while China has kept full sincerity for the consultations.

The international community has its fair judgment on who is the initiator of the latest round of a tariff war, the rule-breaker in free trade and the generator of risks in global economy.

We advise the US to grasp the current situation, return to the right track, meet us halfway, and strive for a mutually beneficial agreement on the basis of mutual respect, equality and good faith. It will serve the interests of China and the US and is the shared aspiration of the international community.

 

2.China's three core concerns

The three main points of the core concerns are needed to be properly addressed. First, US must remove all the additional tariffs imposed on China. Second, the targets set by the US for Chinese purchases should be in line with real demand. An initial deal, reached when Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump met in Argentina in last December, should not be changed arbitrarily. Third, the text of a deal should be "balanced" to ensure the "dignity" of both nations.

 

3.So called China's backtracking led to current setbacks in trade talks

It is only natural to have differences in a negotiation because, by definition, it is a process of discussions. The differences we have are exactly the reason why we are continuing the talks. Now with the talks still going on and a deal yet to be concluded, how can one blame the other for breaking commitments?

If you look at previous media coverage on the past 11 rounds of trade talks, you will see clearly which side has been flip-flopping all along. In May last year, China and the US reached consensus on trade and issued a joint statement in Washington, D.C. But just a few days after that, the US abandoned the agreement. In December last year, the two sides reached consensus on the value of China's purchases from the US, but in the following talks the US wantonly rejected the agreement and asked for more. It is never China that backtracks and breaks commitments.

It takes the joint efforts from both sides to make a deal. China honors promises and has demonstrated the utmost sincerity and goodwill in the talks. We hope the US can meet us halfway and strive for an agreement that benefits both sides in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and good faith.

 

4. So called trade war harms Chinese economy growth

The Chinese economy is growing steadily with a positive momentum. Trade protectionist measures of the US side will have some impact on our economy, but we can totally overcome it. We have the confidence and capability to guard against any external risks and impacts. Here I have some statistics for you.

In the first quarter this year, China's GDP grew by 6.4 percent year on year, which is more than expected. In particular, domestic demand has become the main driver for growth. Last year, consumption contributed 76.2 percent of our economic growth. In its recent World Economic Outlook report, the IMF downgraded its outlook for global economic growth to 3.3 percent while upgrading China's growth to 6.3 percent from 6.2%. China was the only country that got upgraded in the forecast among all major economies.

From January to April this year, China's import and export increased by 4.3 percent year on year, with dramatic rise in export to the EU and ASEAN. With trade partners all around the world, China is turning more rapidly into a strong trading nation. Many countries would like to share China's development dividends. If some country does not want to do business with China, others will soon fill in the vacancy.

China has a well-developed industrial system, growing capability for scientific and technological innovation, the largest middle-income population and a huge market for domestic consumption and investment. With every confidence in our economy, following our own timetable and roadmap, we will continue to advance the reform and opening up and pursue high-quality growth for steady and sustained progress.

 

5. So called trade war harms China's business climate

In China, over the past four decades of reform and opening up, enormous achievements have been made in economic and social development. As foreign investment environment keeps improving, China has become one of the most popular destinations for global investment for many consecutive years.

It is worth mentioning in particular that despite the threats from the US to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods over the past year, the biggest US oil company Exxon Mobil Corp still decided to set up a wholly-owned large-scale petrochemicals project in September last year. In January this year, US company Tesla officially kicked off the construction of its first overseas factory in Shanghai.

When choosing investment destinations and business partners, enterprises make decisions based on their own interests and market principles rather than empty words from certain persons. If you want to know whether China's business climate is good and whether it's profitable to do business here, just look at the American and other foreign enterprises in China. They have cast a vote of confidence with concrete actions.

Foreign enterprises are welcome to increase their investment in China and we will continue to foster an investment and business environment that is more stable, fair, transparent and predictable for them. At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping announced that China will take a series of major steps to promote higher-standard reform and opening up. We will expand market access for foreign investment, increase the import of goods and services and implement in real earnest opening-up policies. This will surely provide new opportunities for enterprises worldwide to invest and operate in China, and contribute to the free trading system and growth in global trade.

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