Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jun19/09)
Geneva, 13 Jun (D. Ravi Kanth) – China is ready to offer a package of market access concessions to the United States for reaching an agreement in the trade war launched by Washington, but will fiercely oppose attempts to “demonize” and “suppress” China’s ongoing developmental efforts, said China’s new envoy to the United Nations in Geneva on 13 June.
The US President Donald Trump told a press conference in Washington DC that he expected to meet the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka on 20 June.
Amidst expectations of this all-important meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, expectations of a deal to avert the worsening trade war are being suggested by the two sides.
During his interaction with the media on Thursday (13 June), China’s new envoy to the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), Ambassador Chen Xu, expressed optimism that an “eye-to-eye” meeting between President Trump and President Xi could result in an agreement.
China is considering offering a package of market access concessions during the proposed meeting of the two leaders in Osaka, he suggested.
However, if the US officials, such as the secretary of state Mike Pompeo and others, continue to misread China and engage in a campaign to “demonize” and “suppress” China’s developmental programs, then it would be difficult to find a mutually acceptable agreement, Ambassador Xu cautioned.
China is always ready to find mutually acceptable solutions for preserving peace and stability in the multilateral system, he said, suggesting that China “is like a tree and growing big and big”.
At this juncture, China is a developing country with a large majority of its population dependent on agriculture, Ambassador Xu said.
The Chinese envoy maintained that rough winds will not be able to stop the growth of the Chinese tree of development, and China will overcome the hurdles that are currently being placed in its development journey.
The Chinese people want a better life and China is not a threat to any country in the world, he repeatedly said.
Attempts to portray China as a rising power against an established power like the US as part of a Thucydides’ Trap are misplaced, he said.
The Thucydides’ Trap is a term that refers to the ancient Greek historian whose magnum opus on the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC provided valuable insight as to what would happen between a rising power and a ruling power.
In his book “Destined for War”, Harvard academic Graham Allison offers an illuminating account of the tensions that will rise inexorably between a ruling power like the US and a rising power like China.
Allison lists 16 instances where tensions between a ruling power and the rising power at that specific point of time led to an “inevitable” war in 12 cases.
At the media briefing, the new Chinese envoy dismissed the repeated charges that China has stolen intellectual property rights and technologies from other countries, saying that they are “groundless”.
China, said Ambassador Xu, made huge strides in its development because of its strong leadership under President Xi, and it has also contributed to international development in good measures through the Belt & Road initiative.
On Wednesday (12 June), President Trump also indicated that he will strike a trade deal with China during his meeting with President Xi on the margins of the G20 leaders’ meeting.
China, claimed Trump, regrets its decision to walk back from the agreement that had been on the table.
“I have a feeling that we’re going to make a deal with China because I really don’t believe that China wants to continue the problem that they really caused themselves,” Trump told reporters at the White House on 12 June.
Without offering any material evidence, the US President said companies are leaving China and the US is making more money than China.
“The United States is making more money than they’ve ever made ever, ever before from China,” Trump said.
The US President told the media that “I’d like to make a deal, but we’ll see what happens. But I can tell you, as much as I’d like to, China wishes they had that deal to do over again, because what they did was wrong. You can’t renegotiate a deal. We had a deal that was done and they wanted to renegotiate. You can’t do that.”
According to a news report on 10 June in China’s Global Times, the draft US framework for resolving differences with China apparently centered on reducing the US-China trade deficit by $100 billion in the 12 months beginning June 1, 2018, and an additional $100 billion in the 12 months beginning June 1, 2019.
Besides, the US demanded that China not provide subsidies and other types of support to industries targeted by the “Made in China 2025” industrial plan, the Chinese daily said.
Chinese officials had dismissed the charges that they had retracted from what they had agreed during the negotiations, saying that in a marathon negotiation there will always be changes in the proposed agreement that both sides are entitled to make.
In the White Paper issued on the 11 rounds of consultations with the US, China said it “will not compromise on major issues of principle.”
China said that every country has “its own matters of principle”, adding that “a country’s sovereignty and dignity must be respected, and any agreement reached by the two sides must be based on equality and mutual benefit.”