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            august 19, 2019

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Continuous dialogue key to working out US-China trade impasse: experts


A group of American and Chinese economists has emphasised the urgent need to address the US-China trade issues through talks and work together to make a deal, according to Xinhua News.
"Looking ahead this year, I think the key words or catchwords in the international economic diplomacy or relationship would be talks rather than wars," said Lu Feng, director of the China Macroeconomic Research Centre at Peking University, during a recent panel discussion in New York.
With a focus on US-China trade frictions, the event was jointly hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and Peking University's China Centre for Economic Research.
The China-US trade relations have seen twists and turns after Washington announced high tariffs on Chinese products worth hundreds of billions of US dollars in 2018.
However, both sides have since engaged in extensive, in-depth exchanges on trade and structural issues of common concern to promote mutual understanding and lay a foundation for addressing each other's concerns.
The panelists noted that it's mutually beneficial for the United States and China to find common ground while voicing their differences.
Beijing has always been willing to negotiate, so Washington should also feel the need to make a deal, Mr Lu said.
"The US economy is facing downward pressure. Nobody wants some external sort of negative impact from escalating the trade tensions, the trade deficits in the US actually increased rather than declined, which indicates tariff measures are not working in addressing the imbalances between these two countries," said Mr Lu.
His views were widely shared by the panelists during the discussion.
Global chief economist at Citi Group, Catherine Mann, emphasised the importance of mitigating the trade rifts between the world's two largest economies since there would be a vicious circle of damages.
The collateral damages are not only in terms of the global supply chains, but "we have to recognise the collateral damage to the global economy through the sentiment," Ms Mann said.
The damage to the global economy may also further weaken the underlying macroeconomic framework in both countries as well as the rest of the world, she added.
Calling himself "an optimist," Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said if economic rationality prevails, there should be an agreement and "sooner is better."
"I think both sides have very strong interests in coming to an agreement, we will see increasingly the evidence that tariffs are actually disadvantaging the US economy, reducing employment and slowing growth," said Mr Lardy.
Former chairman of China Merchants Group and China Merchants Bank, Qin Xiao, also expressed optimism about the prospects for a possible US-China trade deal.
As the interactions between the two sides are increasing, it is inevitable that the two economies become competitors. However, "even rivals can cooperate in the global arena, including on topics such as international peacekeeping, climate change, and anti-terrorism," Mr Qin said.

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