Commentary: Respect for core concerns prerequisite for settlement of trade disputes

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-11 11:11:34|Editor: Lu Hui
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WASHINGTON, May 10 (Xinhua) -- During the just concluded round of China-U.S. trade talks, Washington increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, a move Beijing deeply regrets and will be forced to respond to with necessary countermeasures.

As China has repeatedly stressed, slapping additional tariffs is no solution to the problems. Only cooperation and consultation are the right way forward, and any settlement has to be based on respect of each other's core concerns.

The latest round of trade talks has once again demonstrated China's maximum sincerity. Despite the U.S. tariff threat, China acted in a responsible manner and still sent its delegation to Washington to continue consultations.

It has also once again demonstrated that no winner comes out of a trade war. Washington's latest wielding of the tariff stick has rattled and battered the global capital market, which serves as yet another warning that such unilateralist moves are harmful not only to both countries, but to the world at large.

Fairly speaking, the two sides, after 11 rounds of high-level economic and trade consultations, have made substantial progress in such areas as strengthening protection of intellectual property rights, broadening market access and promoting a more balanced two-way trade; yet differences remain on issues involving China's core concerns.

And as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said after the latest round of talks, the consultations have not derailed. Twists and turns in negotiations are inevitable. However, China will never compromise on issues of principle.

Reassuringly, both sides have shown willingness to continue consultations, and agreed to meet again in Beijing in the future. All these positive messages could deliver the world more reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the prospect of China-U.S. consultations.

Yet to settle differences and advance talks, both sides should respect each other's core concerns, and meet each other halfway on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

As Liu said, China wants a cooperation agreement featuring equality and dignity. It has been proven time and again that the bottom line, or the red line, for discussions to continue lies in respecting each other's core interests and major concerns.

Equal footing and win-win results are fundamental guarantees for the two sides to reach a final agreement. Any dialogue in which a party coerces the other with the aim of achieving a one-sided result would only derail the consultations.

Sources have said that differences remain on three key issues involving China's core concerns, namely, the removal of all additional tariffs, the volume of purchased goods and the balance of the wording of the text.

It is a common call of U.S. business community and farmers for removal of Washington's additional tariffs on Chinese imports. In a joint letter from more than 140 trade associations in the United States, they told U.S. President Donald Trump that the additional tariffs imposed on China are actually a tax increase on American companies and consumers, which will lead to layoffs, delayed investments and rising prices, among other adverse effects.

To resolve differences and push forward consultations, the two sides should identify the general direction of cooperation and show more wisdom in seeking the "greatest common denominator" between the two countries.

Forty years after China and the United States established diplomatic relations, the only right choice for the two countries is to work together for mutual benefit. Economic and trade cooperation featuring equality and mutual benefit has acted as the "ballast stone" and "propeller" in China-U.S. relations as their trade volume has grown from less than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars to more than 630 billion dollars in the past four decades.

The two economies have been inextricably interwoven in the global supply chains with economic globalization.

To go with the trend, it is crucial for both sides to maintain strategic focus, try to enhance mutual trust, and resolve their differences on core issues.

It is a test of wisdom for both sides as whether they could accommodate each others' core concerns and bring the trade talks back on the right track to solve problems while upholding their respective principles and bottom lines.

Furthermore, both China and the United States should bear in mind the persistency, complexity and toughness of their economic and trade disputes, and render more patience and perseverance.

As both history and the reality have shown, talks and tussles may be normal for Beijing and Washington to resolve their economic and trade frictions. China, though resolutely opposing any kind of trade war, has been fully prepared to rise up to it and at the same time will continue to be rational in future talks.

Like entering the last run of a marathon, China and the United States will negotiate, point by point, the text of the agreement. Beijing will be more patient in face of ups and downs in the negotiations, and be fully prepared for all sorts of risks and challenges with a peace of mind.

China, with a solid foundation and huge potential as well as strong risk resistance capacity, has confidence, determination and capability to meet future challenges and risks.

It is more convinced than ever that only by implementing the policy of reform and opening up, promoting high-quality growth and building a strong domestic market, can China be more capable of meeting challenges and embracing a brighter future.