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Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Barbados published a signed article in local media on the trade dispute between China and the United States

Recently, H.E. Yan Xiusheng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados, published a signed article in The Advocate Newspaper and other mainstream media of Barbados entitled “Cooperation is the Only Correct Choice for China-US Economic and Trade Consultations, Win-win is the Only Path to a Better Future of the World, and made a brief introduction of the white paper titled China’s Position on the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Consultations released by the Government of China. Following is the full context of Ambassador Yan’s article:

Cooperation is the Only Correct Choice for China-US Economic and Trade Consultations,

Win-win is the Only Path to a Better Future of the World

H.E. Yan Xiusheng

Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados

During the past few months, the trade dispute between China and the United States has become one of the global focuses. Recently, Chinese government issued a white paper titled China’s Position on the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Consultations, which introduces the background of and China’s position on the economic and trade consultations between the two sides. Based on this white paper, I would like to explain Chinese government's views on China-US economic and trade relations.

The China-US economic and trade relationship serves as both the ballast and the propeller of the overall bilateral relationship. At stake are the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and the prosperity and stability of the world. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, bilateral trade and economic relations have come a long way, with expanding fields of cooperation at higher levels. A mutually beneficial and win-win relationship with strong complementarity and interlinked interests has been forged, benefiting not only the two countries but also the entire world.

China and the US are each other’s largest trading partner and important source of investment. In 2018, bilateral trade in goods and services exceeded US$750 billion, and two way direct investment approached US$160 billion. According to China Customs, the trade in goods between China and the US grew from less than US$2.5 billion in 1979 when the two countries forged diplomatic ties to US$633.5 billion in 2018, a 252 fold increase. The two way trade in services rose from US$27.4 billion in 2006, the earliest year with available statistics, to US$125.3 billion in 2018, a 3.6 fold increase. In 2018, China’s services trade deficit with the US reached US$48.5 billion. Over the past forty years, two way investment between China and the US has grown from near zero to approximately US$160 billion. The rapid development of China-US commercial cooperation is the natural outcome of the market demand and supply mechanism, and has brought substantial benefits to both countries and both peoples as well as the whole world at large.

Given the differences in stage of development and economic system, it is inevitable that the two countries will experience differences and friction in their commercial cooperation. The history of China-US trade and economic relations has seen twists and turns and difficult situations. By adopting a rational and cooperative attitude, the two countries have managed to resolve previous conflicts, bridge differences, and render the bilateral commercial relationship more mature through dialogue and consultation. Regarding the current disputes, the Chinese government believes that economic and trade consultation is an effective way to solve issues. Guided by a spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, the two countries should push forward consultations based on good faith and credibility in a bid to address issues, narrow differences, expand common interests, and jointly safeguard global economic stability and development.

l Mutual respect means that each side should respect the other’s social institutions, economic system, development path and rights, core interests, and major concerns. It also means that one side should not cross the other’s ‘red lines’. The right to development cannot be sacrificed, still the less can sovereignty be undermined.

l As regards equality and mutual benefit, we must ensure that the two sides in the consultations operate on an equal footing, that results are mutually beneficial, and that any final agreement is a win-win one. Negotiations will get nowhere if one side tries to coerce the other or if only one party will benefit from the outcomes.

l Consultation calls for mutual understanding and genuine effort from both sides. Consultation is a process where the parties concerned seek consensus or make compromise through discussion. Many factors are at play in consultation. It is perfectly normal during consultations for the parties to react differently to various changes at different stages based on their own interests. None other than engagement with goodwill and a full understanding of the other’s position can contribute to success. Otherwise, it will be hard to reach a sustainable and enforceable deal as the parties will not find the ground for a long-term and effective agreement.

l Good faith is the foundation of consultation. The Chinese government has engaged in these consultations with the US with the utmost credibility and the greatest sincerity. Attaching great importance to US concerns, China has worked hard to look for effective paths and find ways to address differences. The 11 rounds of high level consultations have made significant progress. The outcomes of the consultations have not only served the interests of China, but also those of the US, as a result of both sides’ efforts to pull in the same direction. China has kept its word during the consultations. China has emphasized repeatedly that if a trade agreement is reached, it will honor its commitments sincerely and faithfully.

Cooperation is the only correct choice for China-US economic and trade consultations, and win-win is the only path to a better future of the world. As to where the China-US economic and trade consultations are heading, China is looking forward, not backward. Disputes and conflicts on the trade and economic front, at the end of the day, need to be solved through dialogue and consultation. Striking a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement serves the interests of China and the US, and meets the expectations of the world and will be good for the well being of both nations and the world.

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