On the afternoon of February 28, 2018, CCIEE held the 104th Monthly Economy Talk under the theme of “Current US-China Relations.” Chen Wenling, Chief Economist, Deputy Director of the CCIEE Executive Board, and Deputy Director of CCIEE Academic Committee, chaired the meeting.
Chen Wenling believes that the US-China relations are currently standing at a crossroads. Trump has given up the traditional values of capitalist countries and the principles of normal international relations. Instead, he has demonstrated clear mercantilism, hegemonism, egoism and protectionism. The current US-China economic and trade relationship is changing from trade frictions to trade conflicts and Trump’s re-appointment of Navarro is an important signal. Once the two countries have a trade war, the United States will suffer more than China. In the future, China and the United States should actively promote dialogues and exchanges, strengthen the leaders-led diplomacy, face the future, focus on the long-term interest and conduct cooperation through multiple channels.
Jin Canrong, Professor and Vice President of the School of International Relations at Renmin University of China, believes that the US-China economic and trade relations were better than expected in the past year, due to the White House’s misunderstanding of the US strategy toward China, and the lack of self-confidence. Trade conflicts are expected to occur between the US and China. Affected by the US mid-term elections and the converging trend of the US-China industrial structure, the competition between the US and China in the aspects of economy and trade will become stronger.
According to Ruan Zongze, Executive Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies, the biggest problem of the US policy towards China is that the US keeps trying to change China, nonetheless, the “integrationist” and the “hard-liner” within the US government have failed to do so. The social structure of the United States has changed from the “olive type” to a “dumbbell type”, reflecting the polarization of American politics. At present, the US-China relations are still stable, and both parties have no intention to destroy it and start it all over again.
Lv Xiang, a researcher of the Institute of America Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that the current trend of the neo-isolationism in the United States is filled with a political convergence of the populist left-wing ideology and the conservative right-wing ideology, which is the main factor affecting the US-China relations. In the future, we should keep a close eye on what Trump says and does, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Some researchers of the US-China research project also expressed their opinions on the US-China relations. Xu Zhancheng thinks that the difference between the Chinese and American mentality determines the characteristics of the US-China competition. China is now playing a stronger role in shaping the US-China relations and in the future, the relation is likely to move ahead in fluctuations. Zhang Monan believes that the trade conflict between China and the US is superficial and the key to the competition is about industrial competition and national competitiveness. Yuan Youwei suggests that we should remain calm and confident when handling the US-China relations. Xu Changchun reckons that the focus of the current US international strategy has returned to the supremacy of national interests, and to safeguard the interests of the US hegemony. Yan Shaojun said that the current US trade protection has become more diversified, unilateral and comprehensive than before. According to Mei Guanqun, the recent turmoil in the US stock market is affected by the rising expectation of inflation in the United States. In 2018, the US stock market will experience turbulent downturns.
In the Q&A section, experts answered various questions from the media and audience. Researchers from CCIEE, representatives from enterprises, research institutions and news agencies took part in the event.