Recently, high-level officials of US Department of Commerce visited China in succession, lobbying China on the trade imbalance between the two countries. Regarding this, a responsible person with the press office of China's Ministry of Commerce said at an interview that currently, China-US economic and trade relations are generally developing well and the problem should be properly resolved by adhering to the principle of seeking balance in development.
It is reported that the bilateral trade has been developing rapidly ever since the establishment of Sino-US diplomatic relations. Statistics from the Chinese side show that the bilateral trade volume has increased about 40 times. This responsible person told the reporter that there is indeed some trade surplus on the Chinese side, but the imbalance should be approached in an objective, all-around and developmental way. It should be noted that the United States has reaped huge economic profits from the bilateral trade. China is a foreign market that has witnessed the fastest growth of US exports. US exports to China have more than quadrupled since 1990, creating nearly 400,000 jobs for the United States. Because US consumers can enjoy good and cheap Chinese commodities, they have lowered living costs and improved the quality of life. In addition, due to different Chinese and US economic structures, most commodities imported by the United States form China do not constitute direct substitutes for US-made commodities.
The person in charge pointed out that there are many reasons for the trade imbalance between the two countries, an important reason of which lies in the different statistical methods used by the two countries. The statistical method for international trade employed by the United States overestimates the unfavorable balance of trade with China. The overestimate is manifested in four aspects.
First, the use of a different statistical standard for imports and exports leads to the overestimate of the value of imported goods and the underestimate of that of exported goods;
Second, the United States does not take into account the value added factor, instead, it regards Chinese commodities transited to the country via Hong Kong or another third party all as imports from China. Meanwhile, it does not count the US commodities transited to China via Hong Kong, thus further overstating the deficits of trade with China;
Third, while computing trade deficits with China, the US side only counts commodity trade, but excludes the service trade; and
Fourth, many Chinese commodities are transited to Caribbean and Latin American regions by the United States, but the US side includes this part of transited goods in China's exports to the United States.
In addition, processing trade products take up a large proportion of China's exports to the United States. The adjustment of the layout of processing trade in the Asian region has led to the shift of US surplus of trade with relevant countries and regions on to the Chinese mainland. The responsible person stressed that change is taking place in the Chinese market with respect to bilateral trade, the United States should timely adjust its export policy, lift its control over its high-tech export to China, so as to facilitate US enterprises' expansion of exports to China and reduce pressure on the imbalance of bilateral trade.
The responsible person noted that China always advocates realizing a basic balance for Sino-US trade in the course of development and has actively taken measures to expand imports from the United States. A case in point is the forthcoming visit by some Chinese procurement delegations to the United States.
(People's Daily November 10, 2003)