BEIJING — China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States and will not start one, but can handle any related challenges and will defend national and Chinese people’s interests, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said on March 11.
Trade wars leave no winners, only disastrous outcomes for the two countries and the rest of the world, Zhong told a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.
The United States side formally declared to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum on March 8, with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico, saying such results could be made for other countries through negotiations.
Zhong pointed out that different statistical methods widen US trade deficit with China by around 20 percent, citing the research of a joint work group tracking and comparing the two countries’ trade figures.
China’s trade surplus with the United States grew 13 percent year-on-year to 1.87 trillion yuan last year, official data showed.
Trade imbalance between the two countries is structural, with China exporting more commodities to the Unites States while importing more services, Zhong said, adding that trade competitiveness is determined by industries.
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.
The two sides haven’t halted economic dialogues and will continue the exchanges, the minister stressed.
Liu He, a senior Chinese economic and financial official met with US officials earlier this month and they have agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes by cooperation rather than confrontation.
The two sides also agreed to talk about related issues in Beijing in the near future, aiming to create conditions for further cooperation.
“It’s a good thing. No one wants a trade war and it serves nobody’s interests,” Zhong said.
China would like to solve differences via cooperation and seek win-win outcomes to benefit the two countries and help stabilize global economy, he added.