Politics and trade will remain separate, says Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi

Speaking on how to handle such a change, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the country will tackle new situations resulting from natural laws of the market with a positive perspective.

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China will not politicise trade issues, even when its foreign trade potentially enters an era of overall deficits, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday (Jan 23).

"As time goes by, fundamental changes will sooner or later take place in the structure of China's trade with the US and other countries," Mr Wang said at the opening ceremony of the China-Latin America Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Santiago, Chile.

Many countries including the United States will see their exports to China outweigh imports from China in the future, the minister said.

Speaking on how to handle such a change, Mr Wang said the country will tackle new situations resulting from natural laws of the market with a positive perspective.

The world's second-largest economy will further boost its economic and trade ties with other countries by "making the cake bigger", Mr Wang said.

In August last year (2017), US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a move that has been called protectionist.

Mr Wang told business leaders from China and Latin America that Beijing will not bluff others by resorting to tools such as Section 301.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying commented on Wednesday about rising protectionist voices in the US, saying that "trade protectionism is a double-edged sword" that hurts the user as it pierces others.

Mr Wang said that with the first China International Import Expo opening in Shanghai this November, China will be the only major country to host such an expo, which shows its readiness to open up its market and share its opportunities with others.

In 2017, domestic consumption contributed more than 65 per cent of China's economy, a proportion close to that of developed nations.

Institutions such as Japan's Mizuho Bank have forecast recently that China's total retail sales will for its first time surpass those of the US in 2018, and some observers said this means China's role as the world's largest market will rapidly fall into place.

In any case, Mr Wang said, the size of China's potential market is three or four times that of the US and it is easy to see such potential being translated into reality.

The market is not obtained by force but toil and exploring new ways to do things, he added.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.