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China-US Trade Moves Forward in Spite of Disputes

The trade growth between China and the United States maintains a strong momentum despite some frictions as the year 2003 is nearing its end. Many experts say solving trade rows through talks and consultations will help maintain the fast trade growth between the two countries.  

Statistics from Chinese customs show that the first ten months of this year saw the China-US bilateral trade volume exceed the figure of that of last year as a whole. For the first time it has surpassed US$100 billion to reach US$102.48 billion, up 30.7 percent over the same period of the previous year, of which China imported a worth of US$27.56 billion, up 25.7 percent, exported US$74.92 billion, up 32.7 percent.


The China-US trade volume has increased by 40 times since 1979 when statistics were available. China has become an important supplier of labor-intensive products to the United States. Due to their mutual complementary economic structures, the two countries have formed a trade matrix in which they depend on each other, said Zhang Xiaoji, director of the Research Dept for Foreign Economic Relations under the Development Research Center of the State Council.


Now the United States is China's second large trade partner and China the fourth one to the United States. In recent years, on top of traditional exports to the United States as garments, shoes and toys, China added into the category the automatic data processing equipment, machinery, electric and electronic products and hi-tech products. Meanwhile, entering into China in large volumes from the US are aircraft, fertilizer, power station equipment, electronic, chemical and mechanical equipment.


The distinctive trade rows between China and the US this year, including recent ones on textile, is related with US domestic economy and the reflux of trade protectionism, said Wang Youli, vice-director of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Commerce. In spite of the trade disputes, she added, the general environment for trade development is good and China-US trade will continue to follow a bumpy road, since China has been actively carrying out its WTO commitments, cutting tariffs and holding an positive attitude towards solving the trade frictions.


The United States may hurt its national interests as a whole by setting up unnecessary trade barriers, Amway president De Vos pointed out. For the US, the world biggest market to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China, a country with the largest potential and rising as a real market, would be favorable for the fundamental interests of the enterprises, governments and peoples of the two nations. He hoped that the visit to the US by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would inject fresh energy into the trade between the two countries.


In an interview with the Washington Post, Premier Wen said in his visit that he would suggest the establishment of a constant coordination and cooperation mechanism between the two parties to solve trade problems, which is able to guarantee solutions via consultation on the basis of equality, instead of through sanctions and restrictions. Meanwhile the US Department of State also said the country values solutions of trade disputes through talks with China.


In the year and a longer period to come the Sino-US trade will maintain its momentum of growth. Although disputes may possibly occur, the adoption and establishment of coordination measures including talks will clear the way and push forward the trade cooperation between the two countries, said Zhang Xiaoji.


(People’s Daily December 12, 2003)

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