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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Restrained rationality best weapon to hit back against US trade blackmail

Wu Qiuyu, Tuesday 7 Aug 2018
Views: 2688
Views: 2688

The White House is now obdurate in its unilateral trade threats and blackmail despite mounting opposition from the rest of the world and the severe losses suffered by domestic industries.

The US recently threatened to slap a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion in imported Chinese goods after initially setting it at 10 percent. In response, China announced its decision to impose additional tariffs of four different rates on 5,207 items of imported US products worth $60 billion.

The countermeasures will be implemented instantly if the US puts its additional tariff into effect.

No winner will emerge from a trade war, and escalated tensions are not expected by experts around the world. The lose-lose trade war, where the US “is firing shots on the entire world, including on itself,” has aroused ever stronger objections from US citizens and businesses.

Many countries, including China, have said no to the trade bullying and hegemony by taking countermeasures and filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). By turning a blind eye to the interests of the whole world, including American farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers, the US has repeatedly provoked tensions.

China, against this backdrop, has to take necessary countermeasures to protect its national dignity and its people's interests, defend free trade and multilateral mechanisms, and safeguard the common interests of all countries in the world.

Divergence is not a rare thing in business circles, and the disputes could be resolved as long as the involved sides sit down for a talk and bear each other’s core interests in mind.

China always believes that consultation based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and shared benefit is the effective way of resolving trade differences, and any unilateral threat or blackmail will only aggravate the situation and hurt the interests of all sides.

The US, which has its own international status and unique advantages in bullying others, will ultimately end with punishments and countermeasures.

The arrogant words and dirty tricks before a negotiation are traditional tactics the US uses to add its chips in the game. It repeated the story in recent days by on the one hand threatening and pressuring China with trade protectionism, and on the other hand advertising through various ways that it will restart talks with China.

Such double-faced tactics will not work on China, as the latter will never swallow the bitter pill of hurting its own core interests. Expecting China to make a compromise is doomed to be the biggest strategic misjudgement for the US.

What the US has done will never shake China’s firm resolve to safeguard its own legitimate rights and interests and protect the global economic order and economic globalisation.

In this war started by the US, China has been endeavouring for a solution with the greatest sincerity by not firing the first shot or taking any radical actions to escalate the situation.

Even when faced with the unilateral threats and blackmail of the US, China's countermeasures with differentiated tariff rates are rational and restrained, and were proposed after extensively soliciting opinions and careful evaluation.

The measures have taken into full consideration factors including the people's well-being, the bearing capacity of companies, and maintaining the functioning of the global industrial chain.

But it must be clarified that China, who never surrendered to trade hegemony in the past and will by no means do so now, has refrained from exercising its rights to launch further countermeasures. The US must face up to and cherish China’s efforts in solving bilateral trade issues and not compound its mistake.

China’s development to where it is now in the past 40 years of reform and opening up was not easy, but the country has grown more confident and stronger after each hardship.

China maintained a stable economic gesture with growing momentum in the first half of this year, with the major macro-economic indicators in reasonable range and economic structure being optimised. China’s vigorous and resilient economy gives it more confidence and energy to hit back in the trade war in a calm manner.

Faced with the new challenges and a changing external environment, China can conquer all the roadblocks laying ahead, find opportunities from challenges, and hit back at the provocation of trade hegemony with high-quality development, as long as it can unswervingly deepen reforms, widen market access, and march along its own track.

* The author Wu Qiuyu is a journalist/columnist of the People's Daily.

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