Tatiana Lacerda Prazeres
Senior Fellow at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China
Co-Chair of the WIT Subcommittee on Trade, Women Inside Trade (WIT)


China has just issued a White Paper with its positions on the trade negotiations with the United States. Here are some key take-aways of document from 2 June:

  1. China has officially joined the dispute for the narrative about how negotiations derailed. The US had accused China of backtracking, and now China has come forward with its own version of the story.
  2. China stresses that it will not compromise on matters of principle, and they include, for China, the country’s right to follow its own economic path. Some of the most important misgivings from the U.S. do fall under what China considers to be its own development model.
  3. Looking for supportive ears in the US, China makes the point that Americans will be footing the bill of this trade war. In a message for the global community, it also argues that “US trade bullying harms the world”.
  4. China stresses that services and investment must be taken into account in assessing the bilateral economic relations – and not goods alone. China had a USD 48.5bi deficit on services trade with the US in 2018.
  5. The paper also hints at some of the negotiations sticking points. It states, for example, that “one prerequisite for a trade deal is that the US should remove all additional tariffs imposed on Chinese exports and China’s purchase of US goods should be realistic”.
  6. The nationalist tones recently seen in the Chinese media can also be found in the paper. “China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary.” comes in the introduction. Later on, the paper argues that “in defense of its national dignity and its people’s interests”, China had to respond to the US tariffs. It also makes the point that the US will not be able to hold back China’s development.
  7. Despite all that, a key message emerging from the paper is that China is indeed interested in a deal. Not any deal, though.

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect UIBE or WIT’s positions.

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