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Ambassador Guo gave an exclusive interview to The Herald
on the issue of China-US Economic and Trade Consultations

On June 6th, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Mr Guo Shaochun gave an exclusive interview to Reporter Kuda Bwititi of The Herald, during which Ambassador Guo spoke on the issue of China-US Economic and Trade Consultations. The following is what Ambassador Guo had said on the issue.

China issued a White Paper on June 2, namely China's Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations. It offers a complete and accurate account of the whole process of the consultations and presents the facts and truth. As it clearly and responsibly states, the US side was flip-flopping and breaking commitments throughout the talks and led to every setback of the consultations. The White Paper clarifies all kinds of false accusations made by the US against China. I suggest that Zimbabwean friends spend some time reading this White Paper.

A few days ago, I wrote an op-ed in Herald on China-US trade frictions. What I want to emphasize in particular is that:First, it is the US that provoked the trade disputes, not China; it is the US that fired the first shot in raising tariffs, not China; it is the US that repeatedly resorted to maximum pressuring, not China. It is never China that backtracks and breaks commitments.

Second, some of the excessive demands of the US side have already involved China's sovereignty affairs, which is absolutely unacceptable to any country. Following numerous rounds of consultations, the two countries had agreed on most of the issues. Regarding the remaining issues, the Chinese government required mutual understanding and compromise for solutions to be found. But the more the US government is offered, the more it wants. Resorting to intimidation and coercion, it persisted with exorbitant demands, maintained the additional tariffs imposed since the friction began, and even insisted on including mandatory requirements concerning China’s sovereign affairs in the deal, which only served to delay the resolution of remaining differences.

Third, it is disgraceful and unjustifiable for the US to use its state power to suppress other countries' enterprises. The cases of the PRISM program and Alstom vividly tell the world that even similar ideologies do not prevent the US from taking unjustifiable measures against its allies. Presuming other's behavior by one's own pattern, the US has been smearing and suppressing foreign companies in an attempt to gain an unfair competitive advantage. But it has failed to produce any solid evidence.

Fourth, concerning their differences and frictions on the economic and trade front, China is willing to work together with the US to find solutions, and to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement. However, cooperation has to be based on principles. There are bottom lines in consultations. China will not compromise on major issues of principle. China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary. China’s position on this has never changed. However, some people in the US seemed to have misjudged the current situation and underestimated China's determination and will to defend its rights and interests. They were still muddying the waters and making impossible demands. It was only natural for China to oppose and resist that.

Fifth, trade protectionist measures of the US side will have some impact on our economy, but we can totally overcome it. China has the confidence and capability to guard against any external risks and impacts. In the first quarter this year, China's GDP grew by 6.4 percent year on year, which is more than expected. In particular, domestic demand has become the main driver for growth. Last year, consumption contributed 76.2 percent of our economic growth. In the meantime, we have a strong ability of scientific and technological innovation. In 2017, total R&D investment in China reached RMB1.76 trillion, ranking second in the world. The number of patent applications reached 1.382 million, ranking No. 1 in the world for the seventh consecutive year. The number of invention patents granted reached 327,000, up by 8.2 percent year-on-year. China ranks third in the world in terms of valid invention patents held. Historical records confirm that China’s achievements in scientific and technological innovation are not something we stole or forcibly took from others; they were earned through self-reliance and hard work. With trade partners all around the world, China is turning more rapidly into a strong trading nation. Many countries would like to share China's development dividends. If some country does not want to do business with China, others will soon fill in the vacancy.

Zimbabwe shall be familiar with the bullying practices of the US--the sanctions imposed by the US for nearly 20 years. The US has maintained its theory that the sanctions are “targeted” at 141 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, and the sanctions are not directed against the people of Zimbabwe.

But the truth is that the real effects of the sanctions have been to cut off Zimbabwe from the global banking system. They are broad-based and are squeezing the heart of Zimbabwe’s economy--the financial services sector. They are damaging the local financial services and payment systems, affecting anyone and everyone associated with Zimbabwe. The result of sanctions is that ordinary people of Zimbabwe are suffering more from American sanctions than the so-called targeted individuals.

Dialogue and consultation holds the key to the settlement of trade frictions. A win-win agreement based on mutual respect, equality and good faith serves not only the interests of China and the US, but also the common aspiration of the world. Additional tariffs will not make America "great again". On the contrary, the US will only get hurt from them. China has the resolve and capability to defend its own legitimate rights and interests. We hope the US can have a proper grasp of the situation, return to the right track and meet China halfway as soon as possible.

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