Sino-US trade frictions should not be overplayed and positive trends ignored, Chinese experts said yesterday in response to a United States' review on its trade relations with China.
On Tuesday, the US Trade Representative Office released its first top-to-bottom review of Sino-US trade in five years and it suggests that the administration take a tougher stance against China in trade and rigorously enforce trade laws.
US Trade Representative Rob Portman criticized Beijing for "failure to enforce intellectual property rights, its protection and support for certain domestic industries and its refusal to fulfil certain market-opening commitments," which he believed "helped fuel the huge US trade gap with China."
Portman proposed a new chief counsel for China trade enforcement within his office the first such position mooted by the agency for a single country.
While the proposed tougher stance has been making the headlines of many US papers, the general thrust of the report is positive, said Mei Xinyu, a trade expert at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation attached to the Ministry of Commerce.
The report acknowledged that the United States benefits from trade with China, adding that US exports to China had grown at a rate five times that for the rest of the world since 2001. It also said China has become the fourth-biggest US export destination.
While there will be friction, both sides should handle it calmly, Mei said, adding that is unfair for the United States to blame China for its huge trade deficit.
"Both sides should work to find pragmatic ways to address the deficit. For example, as China has proposed many times, the United States should ease its rigid controls on technology exports," Mei said.
Ministry of Commerce officials said last night that they are preparing a response.
Chu Maoming, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told the Associated Press that he could not comment on the report because he had not yet seen it but he said China did not want to "politicize trade issues."
"We hope that trade relations between China and the US will be conducted under the principles of development, equality and mutual benefit," he said.
The US seems to play down the benefits of trade with China while making a fuss over the question of trade deficits.
Last week, the New York Times wrote on the topic: "These days, 'made in China' is mostly made elsewhere by multinational companies in Japan, South Korea and the United States that are using China as the final assembly station in their vast global production networks. "
"Analysts say this evolving global supply chain, which usually tags goods at their final assembly stop, is increasingly distorting global trade figures and has the effect of turning China into a bigger trade threat than it may actually be."
A Wall Street Journal article on Monday said many US companies are making record profits in China but corporate America often seems to go out of its way to hide its successes in China.
"US politicians girding for a possible trade war highlight the corporate losers of trade with China, while ignoring the many winners," the paper said.
A senior Chinese aviation official said yesterday that of the 863 operating civilian planes in China by November 2005, 534 were from Boeing of the United States.
China has spent nearly US$40 billion on purchasing planes from the United States, said Li Jiaxiang, president of China National Aviation Holding Company, adding Chinese airline companies ordered 60 B787 aircraft and 70 B737 aircraft in 2005 alone, with a total price tag of more than US$11 billion.
Yin Chengjie, vice-minister of agriculture, told a forum yesterday that China's trade deficit in farm produce with the United States increased from US$1.53 billion in 2001 to US$3.77 billion last year with China's opening-up of the sector.