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Trump's visit comes with rational hopes

By Yu Xiang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-07 08:15

US President Donald Trump's first state visit to China is expected to improve Sino-US relations, but we should not have very high expectations from the visit.

To begin with, Trump's visit to China is part of his overall trip to Asia. His first stop was Japan, from where he flew to the Republic of Korea. And after his three-day visit to China beginning Wednesday, Trump will leave for Vietnam and the Philippines to take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, respectively. Trump's itinerary shows he is visiting Asia to win assurances from regional leaders and promote his "America First" policy in trade.

His visit to China comes two weeks after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, where General Secretary Xi Jinping announced that the country had stepped into a "New Era". The new era has seen China move closer to global center stage and thus its goal of achieving the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. Therefore, it's safe to say the Chinese economy will remain stable, and further development will create more economic opportunities.

Last year, China-US direct bilateral investment was more than $60 billion, a record high, and during the past 10 years the average annual growth rate of US exports to China was 11 percent, much higher than the average growth rate of total US exports of only 4 percent.

Whether China and the US will jointly explore potential future opportunities in such areas as infrastructure, financial services, energy, green technology, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence depends on the two sides' good intentions and the new type of international relations.

Xi has reiterated that China will stick to its opening-up policy, and break new ground in pursuing opening-up on all fronts. However, while opening its markets further to the world, including the US, Beijing will hope Washington to accord fair treatment to Chinese companies' investments in the US, as well as ease restrictions on high-tech exports, reduce the Committee on Foreign Investment's interference, and desist from using political considerations when evaluating foreign investment.

In his report to the 19th Party Congress on Oct 18, Xi said: "China will never pursue development at the expense of others' interests, but nor will China ever give up its legitimate rights and interests. No one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interest." Accordingly, China will follow its reform and opening-up policy, and actively participate in and promote globalization.

Indeed, China wants to share its economic development dividends with the world, including the US, but it won't open its markets without conditions.

The author is a research fellow at and director of the Division of American Economic Studies at the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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