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Talks still possible but not on US terms

By Liu Jianna | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-15 06:57


Editor's Note: The United States raised the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent on Friday, when the 11th round of China-US trade talks ended. Will the US move affect the progress made until now to resolve the trade dispute? Four experts share their views on the issue with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

US should sincerely try to resolve trade dispute

The US has imposed additional tariffs on Chinese goods to further expand the high-tech gap between the two countries and consolidate its strategic security and advantage in the field.

The fact that China is home to sophisticated and mature manufacturing industries, and has made notable achievements in the field of high-tech, especially 5G technology, has made the US uneasy and worried. Which explains why the US is using the trade dispute as an excuse to squeeze China and why the Sino-US trade talks have hit a bumpy road in the past months.

But despite the US' forewarning that it would hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, China exhibited maximum sincerity by sending a delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He to the 11th round of trade talks in Washington in an effort to settle the trade dispute.

The whole world will be waiting to see whether a breakthrough can still be achieved during the upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on the sidelines of which President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump could have a one-onone meeting, just like they had at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec 1, because any aggravation of the trade conflict would be disastrous for the world economy.

It is high time therefore that the US demonstrated its sincerity to resolve the worsening trade dispute and helped the global economy heave a sigh of much-needed relief.

Zhu Feng, director of the Institute of International Studies, Nanjing University

Dispute should prompt China to deepen reform

The Sino-US relationship has entered a phase where even the inking of a trade agreement may leave the fundamental issue of widening conflicts on core interests unresolved, although given the current uncertainties, even a short-term agreement is unlikely to be signed. Yet one thing is for sure, the US is likely to continue using the "maximum pressure" approach in the later rounds of talks not only on trade, but also on financial and high-tech sectors.

Washington still lacks a clear China policy, although US domestic politics has entered a new period of adjustments and the Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on taking a tough stance against China, which is unusual for the perennially quarrelling parties.

Under such circumstances, China needs to adjust its strategy toward the US. As the US looks for more short-term gains, China should not lose track of its long-term objectives, even though some believe such an adjustment of strategy and exploration of the boundaries of each other's core interests could make it more difficult to achieve a result in the trade talks.

Most importantly, China should seize this opportunity to deepen reform and opening-up as it had done in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis. For instance, it should ensure short-term policy readjustments lead to the formation of comprehensive incentive mechanisms, in order to further deepen reforms.

Zhang Monan, deputy director of and a research fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies, China Center for International Economic Exchanges

US' unfair demand on IPR protection

The US has been pressuring China to further strengthen its intellectual property rights (IPR) protection not because China's IPR law is not effective enough, but because the US wants to impose its own standards on China on the basis of an investigation report under Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, which is essentially a by-product of trade protectionism.

As a matter of fact, China has strengthened IPR protection to such an extent that it has reached international standards in tandem with its social and economic development. For instance, the amendment made to the Trademark Law late last month set the compensation for malicious infringement of trademarks at up to five times the amount of actual losses from the previous three times and raised the upper limit of compensation from 3 million yuan ($436,060) to 5 million yuan, significantly increasing the cost of breaking the law, so as to better protect IPR.

China's inherent need to strengthen its IPR protection to suit its evolving social and economic realities has propelled the legislative progress on IPR protection. So while abiding by international norms and performing international duties, China has to decide the rhythm of its legislation process to strengthen IPR protection.

Feng Xiaoqing, a professor of intellectual property law at the Civil, Commercial and Economic Law School, China University of Political Science and Law

Trade talks take time and are full of twists and turns

The time has come for China and the US to reflect on their next moves. That neither side has closed the door to negotiations raises hopes that they can still settle their trade disputes through talks. Given that both countries need to ink a deal to pacify domestic, and even global, public opinions, they have to adopt a cautiously optimistic attitude toward the future course of talks.

The 11 rounds of talks show China will not succumb to the US' "maximum pressure" tactic or yield ground on matters of principle.

China has shown maximum sincerity in making a deal, though the same cannot be said about the US. History tells us that trade negotiations have always taken time. For example, the World Trade Organization accession negotiations lasted 15 years and the Uruguay Round, the 8th round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, consumed eight years.

Moreover, since negotiations are never without hiccups, China should be prepared for a prolonged round of talks which could be full of twists and turns. Let's hope President Xi and US President Trump meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka and bring good news for the two countries, and the world beyond.

Chen Fengying, a senior researcher in world economy at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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