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Editorial reveals Beijing’s anxieties

TRIVIUM CHINA

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the outcome the Xi-Trump meeting scheduled for Saturday at the G20.

The big question: Can the two sides call off the trade war?

Ahead of the big confab, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun lays out China’s view in the Financial Times.

Zhang says that China’s trade surplus with the US is not China’s fault (FT):

“Bilateral trade imbalances are a snapshot of the division of labour across economies.”“It is arbitrary to blame so-called unfair trade practices for global imbalances.”He warns that a trade war will be bad for growth:“Escalation of trade tensions could slow global growth by more than 1 per cent over the next two years.”Zhang admits the multilateral trading system needs to be reformed. But he’s worried that changes to the WTO could disadvantage China:“Any amendment to the rules should go through wide consultation, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for developing countries.”Zhang also hints at China’s biggest fear – being cut off from technology exports from the US:“Greater technological transfer between countries on mutually agreed terms will facilitate global adaptation.”

Get smart: Zhang’s essay evinces more than a little anxiety.

Get smarter: Reasoned argument from China on the negative effects of a trade war are futile. Saturday’s tête-à-tête is all that matters.
 

READ MORE
FT: Our common prosperity demands co-operation on trade

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