By Lyu Jian,
Chinese Ambassador to Thailand
Over the past one year and more, the US has twice imposed heavy additional tariffs on China, and suppressed Chinese enterprises, such as Huawei, for reasons that do not hold water. The US has also withdrawn its preferential trade treatment to India, cut the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) granted to 11 types of Thai products, and added countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore to the watch list for currency manipulation. Almost all countries in the region are suffering from export decline and economic slowdown, falling victim to unilateralism and protectionism.
The trade war puts the international community once again at the crossing road, where we have to make a choice, whether to uphold multilateralism or side with unilateralism, whether to pursue free trade or practice protectionism, whether to stick to principles or make concessions time and again? We must not let our vision be blocked by floating clouds, and it is our firm belief that globalization and multilateralism are irreversible trend of the times. Only by adopting a future-oriented approach, pursuing win-win cooperation, conducting equal-footed dialogue and accommodating each other’s reasonable concerns in a generally balanced way can different parties’ interests and the whole world’s aspiration be met. There is no better choice than this.
We always believe that no one could emerge as a winner in a trade war, and therefore strive to reach a win-win agreement with the US through equal-footed and mutually beneficial consultation in good faith. However, it is regrettable that the consultation suffered from severe setbacks due to the inconsistency of the US Administration. It serves no one’s interests, and the trade war won’t “make America great again”. Both the economic growth rate and export of the US are slowing down. Tariffs levied by the US on China will end up with more burdens on the US consumers. Voices inside the US opposing its imposition of additional tariffs are getting louder and louder. Just a few days ago, US President Donald Trump requested to have a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping and expressed the hope of meeting again with him during the G20 Osaka Summit. President Xi Jinping agreed with that. We sincerely hope that the US could work with China to solve the problem through dialogue on an equal-footing.
No matter how the situation evolves, China’s basic position remains unchanged, that is, we do not want a trade war but are not afraid of one either. We are true to our word, and are fully confident to tackle all kinds of risks and challenges. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. 70 years on, the mega ship of China has braved winds and waves and shattered economic blockades, forging ahead nonstop. Today, China has grown into the second largest economy in the world, relying increasingly on domestic consumption and demand for economic growth. China’s R&D investment ranks second in the world, and the Chinese economy will remain high-quality growth. Looking into the future, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, the Chinese people will further deepen reform and opening-up. A stronger, more confident, open and vibrant China will definitely make more contributions to world development and international cooperation.
The key to the prosperity and development of Asian economy rests with all countries’ commitment to the concept of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, as well as multilateralism and rule-based free trade system. Recently, leaders of many Asian countries have voiced their opposition to unilateralism and protectionism, and expectation for regional cooperation, which is the shared aspiration of countries in the region. Thailand, as the rotating chair of Asean, has made important contributions to promoting free trade in the region and deepening ASEAN-China cooperation, which we highly appreciate and strongly support. As we know that the Thai people have a saying nam pheung rua, sua pheung pa (น้ำพึ่งเรือ เสือพึ่งป่า), a similar Chinese saying goes, “neighbors are as closely related as lips and teeth”. President Xi Jinping stressed on multiple occasions that “China's door of opening up will not be closed and will only open even wider”. We are ready to open up further to Thailand and partners in the region, deepen cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and push forward practical cooperation across the board, make Asia where we all call home a more stable, prosperous and open economic community and a community of shared future, so as to drive world economic growth and make new progress in building open world economy.