U.S. scholars, business insiders urge U.S., China to resume trade negotiation amid growth worries

U.S. scholars and business professionals have called on the United States and China to go back to the negotiating table and resume their conversations in concerted efforts to resolve the recent escalation of the U.S.-initiated trade war.

BACK TO NEGOTIATING TABLE

“My hope is that the two sides will sit down and negotiate solutions to their differences,” said Carla A. Hills, chairman and CEO of Hills & Company, a Washington-based advisory firm on trade and investment.

“The ongoing conflict is harmful to both sides,” noted Hills, also a former U.S. trade representative, in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.

Referring to China’s countermeasures as “appropriate responses,” Jeffrey Sachs, a senior United Nations advisor and economics professor at Columbia University, said that “the main goal of all countries should be to stop the U.S. protectionism and violation of the WTO (World Trade Organization) rules and for all nations to live within the rules of the multilateral trading system under the WTO.”

The United States should change course and uphold the consensus reached between Beijing and Washington at the Osaka Group of 20 (G20) summit, Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Institute for China-America Studies, told Xinhua.

“Washington must at minimum reverse the steps that it has taken … and go back to uphold the (two) heads of state consensus reached at the Osaka G20,” said Gupta, calling for sincere and trustworthy bilateral conversations.

He noted that the consensus could create “the essential basis for forming trust between the two sides,” and help to “strike a more broad-based deal related to their structural trade impediments.”

To that end, the U.S. government must have its sincerity and trust verified, the senior China watcher said, urging that “Washington must match word with deed.”

“Without sincerity and trust, no negotiations can be expected to succeed,” he said.

“Neither my clients, friends nor I want to see U.S.-China ties deteriorate. We call on the two sides to go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible,” Steven Gu, board treasurer of the Tennessee-based business group TN-China Network, told Xinhua on Saturday.

“U.S.-China trade ties have been lasting for four decades,” he noted. “We believe continued, constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation should be a right path for the two nations to develop.”

CONCERNS OVER ECONOMIC GROWTH

The experts also expressed grave angst that deteriorating U.S.-China trade frictions would sap global economic growth and fuel volatilities rippling through the global market.

“I believe we all should be concerned that the escalating trade war will not only harm the U.S. and the Chinese economies but will have an adverse effect on the global economy,” Hills said.

“Already the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank have indicated that the uncertainty caused by trade differences is adversely affecting the global market,” she added.

In this regard, Gu pointed out that the worsening trade dispute has incurred turmoil to the U.S. financial markets in the short term, not least the stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 623 points, 2.37 percent, on Friday.

“What worries me the most is that the trade war will damage U.S. consumer confidence (in the long term),” Gu said. “As inverted yield curves emerged several times, the possibility of a potential recession will greatly build up if the U.S. Federal Reserve does not take decisive measures.”

Gupta also expressed similar concerns, saying that the worsening trade dispute would have a more lasting consequence for investor sentiment within the U.S. macro economy, as the financial markets have been jittery over the past year with the ups-and-downs of the trade tensions between China and the United States.

“The uncertainty and tit-for-tat retaliation will do nothing to reverse such downbeat sentiment. The trade war will in fact exacerbate these economic headwinds, especially as President (Donald) Trump heads into his re-election campaign,” the scholar said.

Gupta, however, expressed confidence in the Chinese economy, saying that China will be able to navigate through these multiple shocks, even though it might encounter some difficulties due to the U.S. imposition of additional tariffs.

“China’s overall current account is almost in balance, meaning that net exports are a very tiny driver of growth. China’s macro-economy is fundamentally domestically driven,” he said.

Despite external uncertainties, the Chinese government has been able to employ economic stabilizers and maintain its gross domestic product growth within the range of 6-6.5 percent, he added.