Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai on Friday told American businessmen that the relationship between China and United States is a win-win one, but both sides should work to make the market as big as possible rather than initiate a damaging trade war.
Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce's (AmCham) 2005 Appreciation Dinner, held at the China World Hotel in Beijing, Bo said: "If one side is successful, the other can be successful."
However, he said there is a worry that some people in the United States are proposing to impose punitive duties on all Chinese goods because of the trade surplus.
"But I have told you there will be a trade war if the United States does so. It would be a misfortune to every one here," Bo told 700 senior Chinese officials and US executives at the dinner.
Bo said he believed the big surplus in Sino-US trade is structural, and no one has forced them to make the deals.
Chinese statistics say the trade surplus is expected to reach US$100 billion this year, while the US side predicted it would be US$200 billion.
"The American businessmen all voluntarily do business with China. They are very smart and will not make money-losing deals," Bo said.
Bo said according to his knowledge the US companies get 90 percent of the profits from bilateral trade.
Bo said he is happy as China and United States have solved the textile dispute, their largest trade problem since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The United States produces high- and medium-range products while China produces low- and medium-range ones. However, while you are eating lobster, you are still worrying that China eats too much sandwich," Bo said.
The minister said he can understand the business behavior but he believes US companies should focus more on the big Chinese market.
"China still needs 500 aircraft by 2010 and the number could be as big as 3,000 by 2020. And Chinese people sent 100 million text messages just for New Year blessings."
Bo said AmCham has done much to help China with its economic development.
"You helped us with permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) and with our accession to the WTO."
On his part, the commerce minister said he will work to provide a better business environment for foreign businesses in China, by focusing on improving transportation networks in China, by ensuring compliance with requirements of China's accession to the WTO, and by stepping up enforcement of intellectual property rights protection.
(China Daily December 10, 2005)