Rationality urged to resolve US trade issues
China and the United States should resolve their trade conflicts through rational consultations that are in line with multilateral economic and trade rules to prevent the global economy from becoming the "biggest victim", experts said.
Their comments came after part of the additional tariffs recently announced by Washington on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect on Sunday. China took countermeasures and raised tariffs on some US products the same day, before lodging a complaint against the US under the World Trade Organization's dispute settlement mechanism.
Vice-Premier Liu He stressed China's stance against a trade war when he met with a delegation of the US-China Working Group from the United States Congress in Beijing on Tuesday, including co-chairs senators Steve Daines and David Perdue.
Liu, who is also China's top trade negotiator with the US, said he hoped both sides would deepen mutual understanding, seek common ground, shelve differences and resolve the trade dispute on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Both Daines and Perdue said bilateral relations are very important and they don't want to see trade conflicts.
China will firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and defend the multilateral trading system, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement late on Monday.
"The US is wrong to escalate the trade war because it affects productivity," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
"China and the US should rationally negotiate with each other and resolve their trade conflicts under multilateral economic and trade rules," Sang said.
He urged the US administration to forgo irrational moves and prevent the trade conflict from escalating into a full-blown economic war.
The "biggest victim" of trade frictions is the global economy, Zhang Tao, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said in a recent interview with China Central Television. It is hoped that the parties concerned will advance communication and consultations under the framework of the multilateral system and find sustainable solutions, he said.
"Returning to the framework of the multilateral system can help achieve a well-regulated, transparent and fair trade system, which will benefit the world economy, including China and the US," Zhang said.
"China's strategy (on the trade dispute) is very clear. China doesn't want to escalate," George Yeo, Singapore's former foreign minister, said at a seminar in Hong Kong on Monday. "But China will not be bullied, and China will not be humiliated."
If the rivalry between the two major powers gets worse, "it will be a tragedy and it may take generations to overcome the bitterness and the hatred", Yeo said.
"Countries like Singapore, many companies and even families, will be put under great stress because of this rivalry between the US and China," Yeo said.