China issues report on US gains from bilateral trade; will fight to the end if US escalates trade tensions

Bilateral trade in services exceeded US$125 billion in 2018, and two-way direct investment totalled nearly US$160 billion in the past four decades.
Bilateral trade in services exceeded US$125 billion in 2018, and two-way direct investment totalled nearly US$160 billion in the past four decades.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (XINHUA, REUTERS) - China-US trade has been mutually beneficial, and the United States has reaped substantial benefits from the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday (June 6) in a research report.

"China-US economic and trade cooperation has reached unprecedented depth and breadth," said the report, noting that bilateral goods trade surged by roughly 252 times from 1979 to US$633.5 billion (S$865 billion) last year.

Bilateral trade in services exceeded US$125 billion in 2018, and two-way direct investment totalled nearly US$160 billion in the past four decades.

China's surplus came mainly from labour-intensive products, and the country saw deficits for products including aircraft, integrated circuits, automobiles and agricultural products, showing both countries have capitalised on their respective industrial advantages, it added.

"Strict control of the United States over exports to China is one of the important reasons for the trade deficit," the report read, adding that US export control measures involve around 3,100 items in 10 categories, including mostly high-tech products.

If the United States were to liberalise its export barriers against China to the same level as those applicable to France, the US trade deficit with China would narrow by a third, the report cited the analysis by US Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Commerce Ministry also said on Thursday that China will fight to the end if the United States decides to escalate trade tensions. This comes as US President Donald Trump reiterated his threat to levy additional tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese goods.

 
 

The United States’ use of “ultimate pressure” has caused serious setbacks to trade negotiations, and the future direction of talks would depend on Washington, Mr Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesman, said at a weekly media briefing.

China will have to adopt the necessary countermeasures if the United States decides to unilaterally escalate trade tensions, Mr Gao said.

Without specifying which goods could be impacted, Mr Trump told reporters on Thursday: "Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening. We’ll see what happens... I could go up another at least US$300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time. But I think China wants to make a deal."