Smooth trade talks serve China–US interests

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A worker places U.S. and China flags near the Forbidden City ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing, in Beijing, China November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

China will hold a new round of high-level economic and trade consultations with a US government delegation in Beijing on February 14 and 15. The US team is due to arrive on February 11, a few days ahead of the trade talks scheduled in Beijing, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

The news announced at the end of Chinese Lunar New Year holiday indicates that both China and the US are committed to implementing the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries during the G20 summit in Argentina in last December to secure a ground-breaking trade agreement.

Tensions and anxieties are starting to spike in the global market since the “hard deadline” of the final round of trade talks between China and the US is drawing near. Market stresses are expected given the pivotal roles that the two countries play in global trade and economies.

However, analysists around the world are generally optimistic about the possibility that agreement will be reached between China and the US. Although the US seems to have the idea of asking for higher prices at the last minute, it is still a common expectation among Americans that the trade war between China and the US can come to an end; and this expectation has already transpired into some political effect.

The Trump administration has been optimistic about the prospects of China and the US reaching a final trade agreement and the US stock market has seen a couple of surges to reflect those expectations.

For Washington, to take a sharp turn on its stand during the trade talks is harmful to its policies and US President Trump will not be satisfied with the decision.

To reach the next breakthrough in the coming negotiation, it’s reasonable to believe the delegations from both countries will take the interests as a whole into account instead of playing tug saw on a specific issue and ruining the results achieved during the past two months. We believe both delegations are able to compromise to find alternatives to achieve the final goals.

To date, the US has openly talked about China needing “structural reforms”, especially in the hope that China will give up on its strategic plan “Made in China 2025”. And the US has consistently expressed its concerns for a mechanism to ensure that China will implement the agreement.

For structural reform, China is determined to put greater efforts into expanding its opening up and reform. China will also make adjustments to enhance the legal protection of intellectual property rights and improve the non-public sector’s status.

China and the US have found common interest in those reforms. However, China will uphold the basic economic system and its right to develop high-tech manufacturing industries. The US government should have no more fantasies about China giving up its legitimate rights. After a few rounds of trade talks, it is reasonable to assume that the US is aware of where China’s bottom line lies.

Both sides have no reason to turn a win-win situation into a total lose-lose outcome. In this case, no one shall stick to the idea of a unilateral victory. Mutual respect for the trade agreement must be the basic premise of a win-win situation.

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