A trade war is not a rational choice for China and the United States, former commerce minister Gao Hucheng said on Saturday, expressing confidence in bilateral trade relations.
Gao made the remarks before attending a panel discussion during the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, which opened on Friday.
"China doesn't want a trade war," said Gao, who was replaced by Zhong Shan as the commerce minister only last month.
He said he hoped the U.S. government, entrepreneurs and scholars could focus more on the ever-growing relations between China and the United States, despite the ups and downs in the nearly 40 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties.
"China-U.S. trade relations may well face more challenges of one sort or another. Keep calm, since we have lived through grimmer moments," Gao said.
Data from the commerce ministry showed China-U.S. trade grew from 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to about 519.6 billion dollars in 2016.