“There is No Trade War with the US”: China’s WTO Negotiator


China’s chief representative to the World Trade Organization during negotiations for its accession is optimistic about China and the United States can effectively resolve their current trade disputes.

In an interview with Caijing, Long Yongtu (龙永图) said that the use of the term “trade war” is misleading, given the very nature of commerce between nations.

“Having engaged in international trade negotiations for a long period, I do not like the term ‘trade war.’ Trade itself is a form of exchange, dialogue, negotiation and compromise, and the results of most negotiations are concluded via compromise.

“So we mustn’t excessively dramatise economic and trade relations, and in particular Sino-US trade relations, by making blithe use of the term ‘trade war.'”

According to Long the tariffs proposed by the Trump administration are inimical to the interests of the US itself, as evidenced by strong domestic opposition, and there is still ample room for China and America to resolve their current impasse.

“Trump has failed to see the overall context of global trade development, and is still using the old weapon of tariffs. The people who have reacted the strongest following his mooting of a high tariff have been US consumers…45 US retail and consumer associations and leagues have written a letter to Trump opposing tariff increases.

“In the past it was the Congress that was most active when it came to trade protectionism, with the president being more restrained…this time, however, many US members of congress have stood up to oppose Trump’s trade measures, which is a key change in US politics.

“This indicates that Trump has chosen the wrong weapon to engage in the current round of trade negotiations, or what the public are calling a trade war. This weapon harm’s one’s self more, as opposed to harm others.

“Consequently there is no need for China to adopt strong counter measures at present – I believe that is still very large space for negotiation and manoeuvring.”