On 16 May 2019, the Evening Standard and its website published an article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “China doesn’t want a trade war but will fight its corner” with a leading introduction on the front page. The full text is as follows:
China Doesn’t Want a Trade War But Will Fight Its Corner
China-US trade talks are again catching the eye of the British media. There are concerns over an escalated trade war harming the world economy as well as claims that China is “backtracking” and “breaking promises”. So what is really happening with China-US trade talks and where are they heading?
First, there has been no change of position as far as China is concerned. China addresses differences through dialogue and consultation, because this is in the interests of not only China and the US but also the international community. In the face of the US threats to raise tariffs, China still sent a high-level delegation to the US for talks as agreed, out of consideration for the bigger picture and showing sincerity and goodwill.
At the same time, China takes a firm stance on safeguarding its legitimate interests. As differences emerge in any negotiations, twists and turns are inevitable, but the two sides should respect each other, treat each other as equals and strive for a mutually-beneficial deal. It is obvious that some promises are broken, not by China but by those brandishing the baton of tariffs against China. China does not want a “trade war” but it is not afraid of one and would fight one if necessary. China is always open for talks, but it would fight to the end should a “trade war” break out. The recent announcement on countermeasures is proof that China is fully prepared.
Secondly, China has always believed in responsibility and cooperation as a way to resolve differences in negotiations. Raising tariffs and taking unilateral measures only harms the interests of the people and businesses of the two countries. A sound and stable economic partnership between the US and China is important for not only the two countries but also the world economy. Therefore, what a responsible big country should do is to stop thinking about “us first” at the expense of others. China will continue working with the US to ensure the steady and sound development of their economic partnership.
Thirdly, protectionism is the common enemy of the world. The trade friction between China and the US is a question of openness and connectivity versus exclusion and protectionism. China has followed the ideals of the former. At last month’s second Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation, China announced five key measures that will not pose a challenge or a threat but create more opportunities for the world.
The real troublemakers in the global economy are those who rely on their superior power and frequently resort to the threat of raising tariffs, and who trigger “trade wars” at will, even against their allies, without hesitation.
As a British saying goes, “The darkest hour is nearest the dawn.” It is important that the international community stand firm and stand together at this darkest hour of protectionism so as to avert a looming “trade war” and embrace the dawn of world economy and trade.