China is ready to meet the costs of the trade war

China Plus Published: 2018-07-10 14:51:11
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Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary on the U.S.-initiated trade dispute from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs (国际锐评)".

China and the United States will inevitably both pay a price as they enter the biggest trade war in the history of the global economy. The United States' additional tariffs on 34 billion U.S. dollars worth of Chinese imports will have an impact on some Chinese enterprises. It will also impact on the lives of their employees. China's government anticipated this, which is why it didn't want to see a trade war start. But now that it has, China will fight it to the bitter end. 

A crane vehicle unloads soybeans imported from Brazil on the quay of a port in Nantong city, east China's Jiangsu province, 4 April 2018. [File Photo: IC]

A crane vehicle unloads soybeans imported from Brazil on the quay of a port in Nantong city, east China's Jiangsu province, 4 April 2018. [File Photo: IC]

On Monday evening, China's Ministry of Commerce announced new policies that aim to relieve the impact of China-U.S. trade frictions. The policies include continuously evaluating the impact on different kinds of companies; using the income raised by China's countermeasure tariffs to relieve the impact on affected companies and their employees; encourage companies to restructure their imports; and, step up the implementation of the State Council guidelines on the effective use of foreign investment. Taken together, these measures demonstrate China's strong capabilities in risk control and underlines its determination when it comes to fighting the trade war. 

China’s losses may be minor relative to its economy as a whole, but they will likely be a big blow to some individual enterprises. China's government has said that it will try its best to limit the negative consequences. For example, evaluating the impact of the dispute on different companies, and using tariff income to offer relief to the affected companies and their employees, are direct and effective ways to help them deal with their losses. Encouraging companies to restructure their imports helps to support their long-term development by diversifying their trade partners and in doing so splitting the risks. And China's Securities Regulatory Commission announced on Sunday that it would allow more foreigners to trade A-shares, in a move to further open capital markets and prepare the economy for the trade war against the United States. As the trade war has just started, there are still many uncertainties, and China should be ready to change its countermeasures in a timely manner, so that these countermeasures can continue to effectively minimize losses.

Can China really afford the costs of the trade war? It has the world's broadest domestic economy, and enjoys a huge consumer market with 1.4 billion people. This means that China's economy can absorb blows even in the hardest of times. Meanwhile, 91 percent of China's economic growth derives from domestic demand, and 60 percent of it is driven by consumption. Its innovation-driven development brings resilience to its economy. And its opening up policy is continuing to spur growth: The 2018 Business Climate Survey recently released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China has revealed that 74 percent of its members plan to expand investment in China, the highest level of planned expansion in recent years.

The United States has long been mulling over launching a trade war in an attempt to reduce its trade deficit, as well as to hamper the development of China's high-tech sector at its roots. It has even tried to force structural reform on China's economy to divert the path of the country's development. And so, the trade war with America is a fight for China's destiny. Its people and government are willing to make sacrifices, overcome difficulties, and make a concerted effort to safeguard the country's sustainable economic development. That's why China can be confident as it heads into battle.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.