Devdiscourse
Development News Edition
Give Feedback
write for Us

Ex- Chinese trade negotiator questions Beijing's strategy in trade row with Washington

The move was widely seen as an attack on Trump's agricultural base of electoral support and tacitly acknowledged as such by Chinese officials.


Devdiscourse News Desk beijing China
Updated: 19-11-2018 11:39 IST
Ex- Chinese trade negotiator questions Beijing's strategy in trade row with Washington

China's former top trade negotiator has questioned Beijing's strategy in the trade row with Washington, offering a rare window into a policy disagreement in the Communist-ruled country.

Long Yongtu, who paved the way for the country's admission to the World Trade Organisation, suggested the government erred by immediately retaliating against Washington tariffs by imposing levies on soybeans from the United States.

"I hope when you start hitting back you'll avoid hitting agricultural products," and leave them for last, Long said he advised before the trade war's first tariff volley this summer.

"Instead from the very start, we hit their agricultural products and soybeans," China's former chief representative for trade negotiations said at a a Caixin media business forum on Sunday.

China slapped 25 per cent tariffs on American soybeans -- its single largest import from the US -- and other products in July immediately after Donald Trump fired at USD 50 billion in Chinese imports.

The move was widely seen as an attack on Trump's agricultural base of electoral support and tacitly acknowledged as such by Chinese officials.

"I said from my experience in China-US trade, agricultural products are very sensitive, soybeans are very sensitive," Long said.

When China was negotiating its WTO entry, the US wanted to bring politics into the discussion, said Long.

"But if you talk politics you will never reach a deal," Long warned, recommending the world's top two economic giants engage narrowly on trade and avoid the larger strategic rivalry to strike a deal.

But Long's interlocutor on stage, and during the WTO negotiations nearly two decades ago, former US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, cautioned that the gulf between the two powers was expanding.

"China's economy and economic policies have been on a divergent course from market economics... accelerating in the last four or five years," Barshefsky told the Caixin forum.

The shift to a state-led system is a "fundamental conflict between China and the United States and other countries Europe, Japan, Australia", she said. "It is difficult to resolve."

(With inputs from agencies.)

COUNTRY : ChinaUnited States

POST A COMMENT