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No Popularity for Trade War and Win-win Cooperation is the Right Way Ahead
Zhang Yiming Chinese Ambassador in Namibia
2019/05/24

As the "Grey Rhino" of China-US trade war rampages, many people worried that the "Black Swan" of global economic crisis might come in the aftermath. In recent times, there are concerns over an escalated trade war with no consensus reached in the consultations between China and the United States, the two largest economies in the world. Many Namibian friends asked my opinion on it. Here is my answer. China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of such one and would fight for it if necessary. We have high spirit, absolute determination and necessary ability to resolve any risks and challenges on the way to win this war. We will never succumb to any hegemonic pressure from outside. Nothing can stop China’s development characterized by reform and opening up . We oppose any forms of unilateralism and bullying, and we believe that win-win cooperation is the only right way to realize global economic development!

1

Since March, 2018, US has triggered and continuously escalated the trade war with China by proposing unreasonable charges repeatedly and raising tariffs abruptly. On 10th May, 2019, on the pretext of “unbalanced trade”, US once again decided to pose 25% tariffs from 10% on the imports goods worthy of 200 billion US dollars from China. Against such capriciousness and bullying, China simultaneously issued announcement about taking counter measures.

China-US trade consultation process has been repeatedly thwarted, which were totally imputed to US. In order not to bring negative effects on the two countries’ economy and the global trade, China has remained engaged in dialogue and consultation with the utmost patience, goodwill and sincerity, and has done its utmost to push ahead negotiation with the US with the expect of narrowing differences and broadening consensus. However, US has repeatedly turned its backs to the consultation, frequently "changing faces" by resorting to higher tariffs with no care about its own image and reputation in the face of the world.

As an old saying goes: The stones can be broken, but can not be denied its solidness. There are principles and bottom line for any compromise. Although China is willing to make an agreement with US, there is no way for China to compromise its national dignity and core interests.

2

As the largest economic power in the world and the top player of the global financial system, the United States has long occupied an absolute advantage and gained enormous benefits. However, the US has shifted from "advocating free trade" to "embracing trade protectionism" unexpectedly. The US vigorously pursues unilateralism, ignoring duly privileges bestowed to developing countries under the framework of WTO, misinterpreting the conception of "peer-to-peer openness",which places the developing countries in unfavorable trade status. Moreover, under the banner of "American security", the US applies the extraterritorial effect of its domestic law to the fullest, ignoring the international rules and rampaging across the world capriciously. It frequently implements long-armed jurisdiction, forcing foreign enterprises cooperate with US government otherwise they will faced the latter’s sanctions.

The US regards China as its strategic competitor, while what sticks in its throat is the so-called "huge trade deficit". Consequently, the US smears China so as to confuses the public and uses trade imbalance as an excuse to impose huge tariffs, unleashing economic bullying, such as the current Sino-US trade frictions. It is self-evident that some American politicians are not aware that the historical trend of current world is “win-win cooperation”. They still adheres to the mentality of Cold War and zero-sum game. They take it for granted that China's development will inevitably encroach the American cheese. This is a strategic misjudgment that will dangerously creates a "Thucydides trap" by themselves. Therefore, Sino-US trade friction is to some extent a contest between progress and backwardness, free trade and protectionism, unilateralism and multilateral ism.

There is a Chinese saying goes, “A just cause enjoys abundant support, while an unjust one finds little support”.At the general debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly last year, most countries criticized US protectionism for exacerbating trade frictions and articulated that unilateralism and trade protectionism were the highest risk for current world economy. The unilateralism and hegemony pursued by the US are unpopular and destined to fail. The United States will swallow the bitter fruit of its own brewing.

3

Facing the trade war, China’s position has always been clear, there is no winner in the trade war. China does not want such a war, but it is not afraid to fight it. We have long been preparing for the worst results. Someone asks, where is China's confidence from? I think it lies in the long-term positive fundamentals of the Chinese economy, and China is constantly strengthening its ability to withstand risks. Since April this year, some international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, Citibank, and JP Morgan Chase have raised their expectations for China's economic growth in 2019. Besides that, Reuters' evaluation of China's economy this year is "excessively stable."

China’s economy is showing strong resilience. According to data released by the World Trade Organization, China's share of global imports and exports in 2018 was 10.8% and 12.8 respectively, acting as a "stabilizer" of global trade. In addition, China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has remained 6.4%-6.8% in recent 14 consecutive quarters, achieving a medium-to-high-speed growth as a large economy. In the first quarter of this year, China's GDP was about 21.3 trillion yuan, up 6.4% over the same period of last year; the import and export volume of goods trade increased by 3.7% year-on-year.China’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $3,088.8 billion by the end of March.

China’s economy has unlimited potential. China has a huge market of 1.4 billion people, and its consumption upgrading potential is huge. As China's residents' income continues to grow steadily and tax incentives and other measures to stimulate consumption are gradually effective, China's urban and rural residents' consumption potential will be further released. To some extend, domestic demand and consumption have become important engines and boosters for China's economic growth, and a ballast stone for the stable operation of China's economy as well.

China’s economy is nurturing innovation. In the new round of global technology industry transformation, China seizes the opportunity to take innovation as the first driving force for development. China has made breakthroughs in key areas and key technologies, thus driving the overall development of innovation. We are accumulating advantages in frontier areas such as artificial intelligence and laying out in key areas of big data, cloud computing and mobile internet in advance. In the first quarter of this year, investment in China's high-tech manufacturing and high-tech service industries increased by 11.4% and 19.3% respectively. A batch of innovative products and high technology are becoming new highlights and new impetus for China's economic growth.

There is an old Chinese saying goes, "Sweet melon embraces bitter root, beautiful jujube produces thorn". There is also an English proverb saying of "Every black cloud is set with a silver edge." China, which has overcome numerous hardships, has never been afraid of facing any pressure, and any challenge can't stop China's progress. There is no doubt that Chinese economy will harness the wind, break the waves, and traverse the vast rolling sea with the sail piercing the clouds someday.

4

In today's world, countries are interdependent and share a common stake. Human beings are in a community of shared future, we all have a stake in each other's future and our interests are deeply interwoven. Faced with the trend towards a multipolar world, economic globalization, cultural diversity and greater IT application, no country can afford to pursue development with its door closed. "Gain through cooperation and lose by confrontation", only openness can insure progress, only tolerance can make progress lasting.Building an open economy through win-win cooperation is the only correct choice.

In 2018,the 40th anniversary year of China’s reform and opening-up, China launched over 100 major reform measures, held the first China International Import Expo, and began construction of a pilot free trade zone in Hainan. In November this year, China will hold the second China International Import Expo.For more than a year, President Xi Jinping has made powerful voices that China will unswervingly deepen reforms and open up in different international occasions: at the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, he said that China’s door of opening-up will only open even wider; at the first China International Import Expo, he announced a series of major initiatives aimed at opening wider to the world; at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, he sent a strong signal that "China will pursue with resolve continued reform across the board and continue to pursue its fundamental policy of opening-up"; at the the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation which closed last month, he announced a series of major reform and opening up measures.

The practice of China's reform in the past 40 years has fully proved that only by conforming to the historical trend, actively adapting and embracing change, can we walk with the times. China's development provides successful example and demonstrates a bright future for developing countries to achieve modernization. China's reform and opening up is always moving forward. The world has seen China's determination in the accelerating of its reform and opening up process and carry on reform and opening up to the end.

5

Africa is a continent of hope, a hot spot for development, and one of the fastest developing regions in the world. As a saying in Africa goes, “A river runs deep, thanks to its source”, which confirms that China-Africa friendly exchanges have a long history. African lion is accelerating and China-Africa relations are entering the fast lane of all-round development. In 2018, China’s investment in Africa exceeded US$110 billion,China-Africa trade volume reached US$204 billion, up 20.1% year-on-year, and 7.5 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of China’s foreign trade in the same period. In particular, China’s imports from Africa increased significantly, reaching US$99.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of 31.9%, which was 16 percentage points higher than China’s overall global import growth over the same period. In stark contrast to some countries' unilateralism and self-interested behavior, China welcomes Africa to take the express train of China development and share its benefits.

At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation,President Xi Jinping announced launching eight major initiatives in the next three years and beyond,and extending US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies. China will not only provide concessional loans, but also bring technology and employment opportunities to Africa, helping with Africa's independent and long-term development and accelerating of Africa’s industrialization and agricultural modernization. It is imperative to continuously improve the level of China-Africa cooperation, seek new convergence points and growth points for China-Africa cooperation, achieve "win-win" cooperation, and strive to achieve our respective "Chinese dreams" and "African dreams."

China and Namibia enjoy profound traditional friendship. Since the 1960s, the leaders of the older generations of our two countries have established a profound revolutionary comradeship. During our liberation struggle against imperialism, colonialism and national development, our peoples supported each other and cooperated sincerely, forging brotherhood through which we stood with each other. Although far apart from each other,similar historical experiences and the eager to develop together give the Chinese and Namibian people a natural sense of intimacy. What Linked us is not only a profound traditional friendship, but also a close bond of interest. The Harambee Prosperity Plan put forward by President Geingob is highly compatible with China's development strategy. The cooperation and between the two countries is faced with an unprecedented historic opportunity. Against the backdrop of China-US trade frictions, China-Namibia cooperation may have more opportunity rather than misfortune. For example, the number of US agricultural products exported to China decreased, which may be a chance for Namibia to expand beef and grapes export to China. I also look forward to seeing more Namibian products at the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and the Second China International Import Expo.I look forward to achieving more win-win cooperation between China and Namibia.

Let us join hands and continue to follow the path of mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields such as mining, agriculture, science and technology, infrastructure, tourism, trade and investment facilitation, to write a splendid new chapter of China-Namibia comprehensive strategic partnership, and promote new developments of China-Namibia relations to an even higher level!

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