New Chinese ambassador speaks out on China-US trade friction – The Post

New Chinese ambassador speaks out on China-US trade friction

Feng Tie is an advocate of free trade

The ambassador made one of his first appearances at the British Embassy on June 6 (photo: Hasse Ferrold)
June 14th, 2019 4:44 pm| by Feng Tie

I arrived in Copenhagen on the last Friday of May as the Chinese ambassador to the beautiful Kingdom of Denmark. On my first day at work the following week, I had the great honour to present my credentials to HM Queen Margrethe.

I am here at a time when China-Denmark relations are blessed with new opportunities: the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has entered a new decade and the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties is coming up next year. I am well aware of my responsibilities.

Common ties with Denmark
Denmark was among the first European countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. With a solid foundation, our relationship enjoys great momentum, and the friendship between the two peoples keeps growing.

It is in the common interests of both sides to further our bilateral ties. I am ready to work with my Danish colleagues and friends to promote mutual trust and enhance exchanges and co-operation for new progress in our relationship. Denmark will have a new government, and I believe China-Denmark relations will continue to develop.

My new friends here have told me that free trade is in the Danish DNA. As they are concerned about the economic and trade friction between China and the United States, I would like to share China’s position on this matter.

Open unilateralism
In the past two years, the US administration has openly preached unilateralism, protectionism and ‘America First’. It is against this backdrop that the China-US economic and trade friction came to a head.

The United States uses its trade deficit as a pretext to impose retaliatory tariffs on China. It claims that America has been taken advantage of by China, and its trade deficit has exceeded 500 billion US dollars. In fact, the total US trade deficit with China stood at 153.6 billion US dollars in 2018, which is only 37 percent of the claimed figure. From 2009 to 2018, US exports to China helped to support over 1.1 million American jobs.

The United States has gained a great deal from trade with China, and Chinese-US trade is beneficial to both sides. It is groundless to say that America has been taken advantage of.

Market factors
China holds the view that the US trade deficit is the result of a number of market factors playing together, including competitiveness, economic structure, international division of labour, trade policies, and the status of the US dollar as a major global currency.

However, the United States has provoked the economic and trade friction with China and attempted to coerce China into accepting its demands. This is typical trade bullying. What the United States has done has indeed damaged the interests of both countries and the rest of the world.

Since they were launched in February 2018, the economic and trade consultations have come a long way, with the two sides agreeing on most issues. Yet the consultations have suffered several setbacks – all because of the US breach of consensus, commitments and good faith. The United States, while it keeps changing its own demands, accuses China of backtracking. This is totally unfair and only shows that the United States does not take China as an equal in the negotiations.

Dialogue and consultation
China believes that the economic and trade differences and friction should be addressed through dialogue and consultation. However, such consultation should be based on mutual respect, equality and benefit. Talks will get nowhere if one side tries to coerce the other with no respect for its sovereignty and core interests or only seek selfish benefits.

To reach a trade deal, the United States should remove all additional tariffs imposed on Chinese exports and be realistic in its demands for China’s purchase of US goods. Only with a properly balanced text can the agreement serve the interests of both sides. It is hoped the United States will give up its wrong approach, bear in mind the principle of mutual respect, equality and benefits, and join China in trying to foster sound and stable bilateral economic and trade relations.

Reforms and achievements
China does not want a trade war, but is not afraid of one and will fight if it has to. In the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 40 years of reform and opening up, we have achieved great things. China is now the second largest economy in the world. Over 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the last four decades.

During that period, China has accounted for more than 30 percent of global economic growth. Our economic co-operation with other countries has played an indispensable role, but more importantly, China’s impressive advancement is attributed to the hard work of the Chinese people.

Over the years, we have blazed a development path that suits us. We have no intention of exporting our development model, but we do cherish the correct historical choices made by the Chinese people. We will never give in if any country attempts to force China off its development path. China has the right to develop, and the Chinese people have the right to a better life.

Ambassador Feng Tie on the day he met the queen (photo: Hasse Ferrold)