China, US should join TPP, solve trade problems through dialogue, says expert

US President Donald Trump has no need to launch a trade war with China as the country has pledged to carry out reforms to open its markets, and the world's two largest economies should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to an expert.

The trade frictions between the United States and China were intensified after the US Commerce Department decided on April 16 to prohibit China's ZTE Corp, a state-owned telecommunications gear and smartphone marker, from sourcing parts, software and technologies from any US-based companies. In response, China later announced a hefty anti-dumping move against American sorghum imports. The United States is the world's leading producer of sorghum and is the largest supplier of sorghum to China.

William Overholt, a senior fellow at the Asia Center of Harvard University, told that he did not agree on US President Trump's way of handling the trade problems with China, which has charted a blueprint for deepening reforms to open its markets to foreign investors in a gradual way. US President Trump should have solved the trade problems through dialogues and consultations to reach a win-win situation, said Overholt.

Overholt said that US President Trump overemphasized the trade deficit with China, which is caused by various factors including domestic expenditure. Besides, the US president's policies are not consistent, which would lead to the escalation of the trade tensions between the two countries, said Overholt.

When talking about China's reforms, Overholt viewed China as a successful country, but stressed that further reforms are urgently needed if China wants to climb to a higher level, where a new economic model should replace the outdated economic model.

At the Boao Forum for Asia held earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to open its doors "wider and wider" to foreign investors, amid criticism about the restrictions it places on access to its markets. China must provide a good business environment to compete and not just use the old tricks of lower taxes, cheap land and subsidies, Xi said in a keynote speech at the forum.

US, China should embrace TPP

In Overholt's opinion, the United States and China should find ways to join the TPP, which he said could be a new golden standard for intellectual property protection in trade agreements.

The ban on ZTE Corp's sourcing of American-built software and technologies shows US President Trump's determination in protecting intellectual property. And that might be the ultimate goal of his trade war with China, which harbors a desire to be a global leader in innovation and technology.

The TPP, which focuses on dismantling behind-the-border trade restrictions and fostering regulatory coherence, would be a channel for the United States to solve its trade problems and for China to modernize its economy, said the researcher.

Last week, US President Trump shocked the world by telling his top economic advisers to consider the possibility of rejoining the TPP deal, which he withdrew from last year as one of his first acts in office. The act once again shows the president's policy inconsistency.

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