Negotiation a better way to resolve trade problems

I believe that the United States-China trade war is mainly due to the misjudgment of US President Donald Trump and his team (Trade war is about one man's election promises, by Mr Darren Chong; July 3).

Foreign investors, including US companies, recognised that China operated under a different system than the free market and private enterprise model back home.

In socialist China, there were hardly any private businesses, and all industrial activity was state-controlled.

Machinery was produced with the same blueprints and shared technology. The legal system was convoluted and policies were state-driven.

Western nations setting up factories to do business with China were aware of this commercial environment and willing to comply with and operate within the confines of the rules.

Looking at China's transformation process, it is conceivable that some contravention of industrial limitations and copying could have happened.

This sporadic industrial infringement could be considered the growing pains of helping a large developing nation progress into a capitalistic country.

Although Western private enterprises shun imitation and copying, and consider such acts illegal, these may be trivial matters in the eyes of China's state-owned industries.

This certainly does not make it tolerable, but until the prevailing industrial culture is changed, some leakage or infringement could happen.

Starting a trade war is counterproductive.

A better solution is to resolve trade-balance problems with China.

Perhaps the US could negotiate new terms with Chinese firms, with more stringent rules to prevent leakage, and let the past be water under the bridge.

A compromise could be found to enable all parties to move on and gear up to cooperate and compete with a new perspective.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi