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Dialogue and cooperation only way to end trade war

Source: chinadaily.com.cn | 2019-09-27

The China-U.S. trade talks are to be resumed; tariff exemptions have been announced; and both administrations are working to ease the trade tensions. These positive developments would seem to suggest that China and the United States are seeking to prevent bilateral relations from deteriorating further and trying to create a positive atmosphere for their upcoming trade talks.

The U.S. has announced the exemption, albeit temporarily, of more than 400 types of Chinese products from the tariffs that it imposed last year, while China has said it will exempt some agricultural products, including pork and soybeans, from additional tariffs. Both of these are major U.S. agricultural exports to China.

The exemptions may not signal any major policy shift by the U.S., but with the two sides' agreement to resume their trade and economic consultations next month, they suggest Washington wants to end the current deadlock.

The two top global economic powerhouses have been locked in a trade standoff for more than a year, which has dealt a heavy blow to both economies, and the world economy as a whole. If the confrontation continues, or, worse, escalates, it will risk further dampening world trade and global economic growth.

China's stance has always been that the negotiations should be conducted in good faith. It supports Chinese enterprises buying certain amounts of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products in accordance with market principles and World Trade Organization rules so long as the U.S. does not try to model China according to its own design.

There are some on the U.S. side that claim its decades-long engagement policy has failed in its original purpose of changing China and the U.S. should pursue a containment policy, but this was dismissed by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday in his keynote address at a dinner co-hosted by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, U.S.-China Business Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Since China has "broad prospects" for accommodating U.S. agricultural goods, it is in the interests of the U.S. to sit down and work out a solution with China. Picking a fight with it would be misguided, Wang said, as the willful imposition of tariffs and a coercive approach will not bend China to its will. What matters most is that the U.S. perceives the differences between the two countries objectively and handles them properly.

China has always insisted that the two sides "meet each other halfway" and conduct equal-footed consultations to achieve a win-win result that benefits both countries. Washington so far has failed to do this. It is time that it learned from its past mistakes and took a more constructive approach to end the trade war with China.