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Trading Blows. Not Technology.

“China” and “trade” make for good headlines, and plenty of column inches, every time new figures are published. The latest set of reports (from a variety of sources noted below) include:

All this growth continues to cause consternation elsewhere, and especially in the highly politicized environment of the US – where two new complaints (relating to copyright abuses and restrictions on sales of US movies, music and books) have been filed at the WTO, adding to the recent move towards use of tariffs [1], and ongoing pressure to appreciate the RMB [2].

The Chinese reaction to the latest US WTO action has been to say “it would ‘seriously damage’ bilateral co-operation and harm business ties”. The FT reports:

As previously noted [3], the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is taking action to try and reduce the trade deficit, but they also continually make the point that the surplus with the US would be reduced if the US would allow more high-technology sales to China. An article in the Washington Times (by William R. Hawkins, senior fellow for national security studies at the U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational Foundation) comments on this issue from a (very defensive) US perspective:

Some in the US seem to think they can have their cake and eat it too. With entrenched attitudes such as these, it is easy to see why there are problems. And hard to see how they will be resolved. However, it may be that harsh words help prepare for serious negotiations, and it will be interesting to see how planned US-China trade talks work out in May.

See news sources: