Former U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson said China and the United States, the two biggest economies, should not let trade tensions get out of hand because of their shared stake in global stability.
Tensions won't benefit anyone, while the two countries will reap greater benefits if they can agree on big issues, said Paulson, chairman of the Washington-based Paulson Institute, a think tank.
Paulson, often regarded as a go-between for Beijing and Washington thanks to his long experience with China, said easing tension takes time. He covered a range of issues related to Sino-U.S. relations on Wednesday in an interview with China Daily.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce called on the U.S. to stop using the surrogate country approach to bilateral trade, which involves using a third country to calculate production costs. The move was in response to the U.S. decision to impose anti-dumping duties on China's aluminum foil products.
Government officials and trade experts from China and the U.S. have since expressed strong dissatisfaction with a preliminary U.S. decision against Chinese aluminum foil exporters, saying that abandoning global trade pacts leads to uncertainty and harms global growth.
Yao Weiqun, vice-president of the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, said Washington's neglect of World Trade Organization rules hurts global stability and confidence.
Both China and the U.S. have significant responsibility for global growth, and they should settle trade disputes through consultation and cooperation, Yao said.
Paulson said the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump next week is set to be positive. "I'm expecting momentum in trade and economic issues between China and the U.S.," he said. "Hopefully, we can see some progress made to rebalance trade and commercial arrangements."
Paulson said the tension won't be solved through just one visit because trade issues are increasingly difficult as the two countries become more competitive in trade.
Paulson said there is no doubt that China's growth will slow, and it will be a good thing. "I don't focus on whether China is growing at 6 or 6.5 percent. I want it to be healthy and sustainable."