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The facts and China's position on China-US trade friction

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-26 08:00
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4. China and the US have both benefited markedly from trade and economic cooperation.

China and the US have both reaped enormous benefits and created win-win results from trade and economic cooperation.

China-US trade and economic cooperation has promoted economic development in China and improved economic wellbeing. Against the backdrop of economic globalization, strengthening trade and investment cooperation with other countries, including the US, and opening up markets to each other has helped Chinese enterprises integrate into the global industrial chain and value chain, and opened up a huge external market for Chinese economic growth. Thanks to economic development over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, in 2017 China became the world's largest trader in goods, with US$4.1 trillion of total merchandise imports and exports. It became the second largest trader in services with US$695.68 billion worth of total services imports and exports. And it became the second largest recipient of FDI, with US$136 billion of inward foreign investment. American firms have played an exemplary role in China for their Chinese peers in terms of technological innovation, marketing management, and institutional innovation. They have promoted market competition, improved industry efficiency, and motivated Chinese firms to improve their technology and management. In importing a large number of mechanical and electrical products and agricultural products from the US, China has managed to make up for its own supply deficiencies, and satisfy the demand-especially high-end demand-in various sectors by offering consumers a diversity of choice.

At the same time, the US has gained access to a wide range of business opportunities such as cross-border investment and entry into the China market, which have played a big part in driving economic growth, improving consumer welfare, and upgrading the economic structure in the US.

Trade and economic cooperation has supported US economic growth and lowered US inflation. A joint estimate by the US-China Business Council and Oxford Economics2 indicated that in 2015 imports from China drove up the US gross domestic product by 0.8 percentage points. Exports to China and two-way investment contributed US$216 billion to America's GDP, pushing US economic growth rate up by 1.2 percentage points. Value-for-money products from China drove down prices for American consumers, and in 2015 for example, reduced the consumer price index by 1 to 1.5 percentage points. A low inflation environment has created much room for expansionary macroeconomic policies in the US.

Trade and economic cooperation has created a large number of jobs in the US. According to a US-China Business Council estimate, in 2015, US exports to China and US-China two-way investment supported 2.6 million jobs in America3. Specifically, Chinese investment covered 46 states of the US, generating for the US more than 140,000 jobs, most of which are in manufacturing.

Trade and economic cooperation has brought real benefits to American consumers. Bilateral trade provides consumers with a broad range of choices, lowers their living costs, and raises the real purchasing power of the American people, especially the low-and middle-income cohort. According to the US-China Business Council, in 2015, trade with China saved every American family US$850 of expenditure each year, which is equivalent to 1.5% of the average household income in the US.4

Trade and economic cooperation has created a large number of business opportunities and significant profits for American businesses. With China being a huge and rapidly growing market, trade and economic cooperation between China and the US has created huge business opportunities for American businesses. From the trade perspective, the US-China Business Council 2017 State Export Report found that in 2017, China was one of the top five export markets of goods for 46 states. In 2016 China was one of the top five export markets of services for all 50 states. On average every US farmer exported over US$10,000 of agricultural products to China in 2017. From the investment perspective, according to MOFCOM, in 2015 US firms in China realized approximately US$517 billion of sales revenue and over US$36 billion of profits; in 2016, their sales reached about US$606.8 billion and profits exceeded US$39 billion. For the top three US automakers, their joint ventures in China made a total profit of US$7.44 billion in 2017. In the same year, a total of 3.04 million American passenger vehicles were sold in China, accounting for 12.3% of all passenger vehicles sold in China5. General Motors alone has ten joint ventures in China. Its output in China accounted for 40% of its global output6. Qualcomm's income from chip sales and patent royalties in China accounted for 57% of its total revenue. Intel's revenues in China(including the Hong Kong region) accounted for 23.6% of its total revenue.7 In the FY 2017, revenues from Greater China accounted for 19.5% of the Apple Inc. total.8 By January 2017, 13 American banks had subsidiaries or branches and ten American insurance companies had insurance firms in China. Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of America, Metlife and other American financial institutions have reaped handsome returns from their strategic investment in Chinese financial institutions. According to China Securities Regulatory Commission, American investment banks were lead underwriters or co-lead underwriters for 70% of the funds raised by Chinese companies in their overseas IPOs and refinancing.9 US law firms have set up about 120 offices in China.

Trade and economic cooperation has promoted industrial upgrading. In their trade and economic cooperation with China, US multinational companies have sharpened their international competitiveness by combining competitive factors of production in the two countries. For example, iPhones are designed in the US, manufactured and assembled in China, and sold in the world. According to a Goldman Sachs report in 2018, should Apple Inc. relocate all its production and assembly to the US, its product cost would increase by 37%.10 In technological cooperation, US companies which have sales and investment in China enjoy the benefits of cloud computing and artificial intelligence applied in China, so that American products can better adapt to the changing global market.11 By manufacturing for US companies, China has enabled the US to invest more money and resources in innovation and management, focus on high-end manufacturing and modern services, and upgrade its industry with more added-value and high technology. This has also helped the US in conserving energy and resources and mitigating pressure in environmental protection at home, making the US more competitive in the world.

In general, China-US trade and economic cooperation is a win-win relationship and by no means a zero-sum game, bringing concrete benefits to US companies and people. Some Americans claim that the United States is "losing" in this relationship, a claim which does not stand up to scrutiny.

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