China to open wider: How will US react?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail People's Daily Online, 04 17, 2018
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Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, announced specific measures and a timetable for the further opening of China's finance sector Wednesday at the Boao Forum for Asia. The measures include eliminating restrictions on foreign shareholders' stake in banking and asset management joint ventures with Chinese companies, allowing foreign banks to set up branches in China and four other policies which will be carried out in ensuing months. In addition, five other measures including encouraging foreign investors to invest in trusts, financial leasing and auto finance, will be launched by the end of this year.

Yi's remarks fully demonstrated that Chinese President Xi Jinping's instructions to implement policies that further open up the nation's economy are being comprehensively carried out.

Xi's speech at the forum attracted worldwide attention and displayed China's genuine determination to expand its opening to the world. Meanwhile, it provided the international community with more faith about China's role in defending the global multilateral trading system. Amid an atmosphere of trade protectionism, China has brought optimism and encouragement to the world.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday: "Very thankful for President Xi of China's kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers... also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers. We will make great progress together!" Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary said Xi's speech was "a very good sign of moving in the right direction," but "we want to see concrete steps and concrete action" from China.

Presumably, the far-sighted strategy of the Chinese leader will pile pressure on the US. As Beijing plans for opening-up, Washington looks bad continuing with its trade protectionism.

Washington has two options: sincerely responding to China's determination for expansion of opening-up and launching goodwill interactions or it can hold on to its unilateralism, keep pressuring China with unreasonable demands and escalating bilateral trade friction.

Some Americans believe China is toning down its rhetoric under threats from Washington. If this misjudgment is used to guide US trade policy toward China, a trade war will be hard to avoid.

Xi's speech is a milestone that marks China's further opening-up. Such a historic choice would not be hastily carried out due to pressure from the outside world. Since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last year, plans for China's expansive opening have been continuously improved and Xi's speech was a general mobilization of the nation's long decided, new round of opening-up.

If Washington thinks China's upgrade of its opening-up was triggered by US menaces, it is making a historic mistake in its relationship with Beijing. Whether the Sino-US trade war is aggravated depends on Washington. It is hoped US actions accord with Trump's pleasant tweets rather than more old carrot-and-stick.

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