China stressed on Monday the door for dialogue and consultation regarding trade disputes with the United States has always been open, and international trade today needs rules rather than supremacy by any one nation.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China is willing to negotiate with the US based on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to properly manage their differences.
It is time for the U.S. to stop adopting hegemonic measures to intimidate others in area of global trade, she said at a news briefing in Beijing.
Her comments came after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday he is optimistic the U.S. can reach an agreement with China to avoid a trade war.
"Reviving talks on the China-U.S. bilateral investment treaty would be a breakthrough in establishing a systematized arrangement for trade and other commercial activities," said Long Guoqiang, vice-president of the Development Research Center of the State Council.
There are a number of reasons the U.S. is very concerned about the bilateral trade imbalance, with one of the most critical factors being the influence on its employment, he said. The idea that China is "stealing" jobs from the U.S. through exports is a one-sided perspective, he added.
"China has an immense goods trade surplus with the U.S., but the country's huge trade deficit in services reminds one of the comparative advantages of each country in terms of the manufacturing and service sectors, and demonstrates the complementary traits of their differing economic structures," Long said.
A study done by the Development Research Center shows that restrictions on exports of high-tech products from the U.S. to China undermine the competitiveness of U.S. products in China.
The percentage of high-tech imports into the Chinese market from the U.S. fell from 16.7 percent in 2001 to 8.2 percent in 2016. China imported 7 billion in computer chip products in 2016, with only 4 percent of them coming from the U.S.
Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce, said effective measures that China can take to fight back against the U.S. involve agricultural products and high technology companies if the country is forced into a trade war.
He cited trade affecting agricultural producers in Iowa and Indiana and high tech giants like Boeing, General Motors and Qualcomm Inc as potential targets.
"The entire international market is worried about a China-U.S. trade war," said Wei. "Once the trade war starts, Chinese exports will stumble and the imports of raw materials will be cut. It will affect the exports of many countries, including the European Union, Australia, Canada and South Korea."
"The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is also paying close attention to the issue, for fear of the negative impact that would be caused by a trade war," he added.
Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said he is quite concerned about escalation into a possible trade war between China and the U.S. because the danger at the end is that the world economy would suffer.
Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary, stressed on Saturday that the U.S. cannot restrain China's rise. Instead of trying that, the U.S. should build on its unique advantages including universities, opportunities for immigrants, and areas like Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship.