Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai Talks about China-US Economic and Trade Relations
On February 3, 2012, Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai met with Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). During the meeting, Cui shared his view on China-US economic and trade relations.
Cui said that China-US bilateral trade volume increased from USD2.4 billion in 1979 when the two countries established diplomatic ties to over USD440 billion in 2011, an increase of over180 times. This represents huge achievements. Bilateral trade has not only brought great benefits to both countries and peoples but also injected a strong impetus to the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. This is the result of the the economic complementarity and the comparative advantages of the two countries and the hard work of entrepreneurs and workers of the two countries.
Cui said that for some time, some people in the United States, including politicians and presidential candidates, claimed that the United States burned its fingers in the economic and trade cooperation with China. Such argument is inconsistent with the facts. Many products exported from China to the United States are actually produced by US-funded enterprises in China and the majority of the profits generated by these products are earned by the United States and other countries and regions providing critical components. The profits staying in China are only a small part. There are many such examples. How can it be claimed that the United States is at a disadvantage?
Cui said that there were also a lot of claims accusing the Chinese people of taking away American jobs, which are also untenable. Chinese workers haven't gone to the United States to look for jobs. It is the U.S. companies which have come to China to find workers. Most of the goods imported by the U.S. from China are no longer produced locally. If they are not imported from China, they can only be imported from other countries. For example, China is no longer the biggest maker of Nike shoes in the world. Vietnam, where the labor costs are lower, has undertaken more production. It is impossible for Nike to move all its production back to the United States. It is also impossible for Nike put all its innovation, research and development in developing countries.
Cui said that in the era of globalization, the international division of labor and trade structure is determined by the national economic structure and development levels. Those economies engaging in innovation, research and development can reap huge profits. Those economies responsible for assembly and production will obtain investment and experience and the workers will get employment opportunities. All economies will benefit. The debate on who are losers or winners does not make sense.
Cui said that in the course when China continues to export products to the U.S., China has become the fastest growing export market for the United States. According to the statistics of the United States, over the past 10 years, U.S. exports to China increased by 468%, well above the average increase of 55% with the other countries and regions. The Chinese people can find the products produced or designed by the U.S. everywhere in their lives.
Cui stressed that the nature of the China-US economic and trade cooperation is mutual benefit and win-win for both. This is an undeniable fact. The United States has entered the election year. The U.S. should be especially vigilant of and resolutely resist the tendency of politicizing economic and trade issues and should not engage in protectionism. Blaming China cannot solve the problems of the U.S. economy itself. It cannot bring more ballots. Economic and trade issues are economic and trade issues. Market rules and the rules of the WTO should prevail. Mixing economic and trade issues with political factors and forcing others to take medicine while being ill itself would only disturb the China-US economic and trade cooperation and hurt the interests of enterprises and people of the two countries.