Experts: Promising outlook for Sino-US ties

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-04-14 10:22

US president's?'America First' stance could open up opportunities for China

The first meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, which was hailed as positive and fruitful by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, has charted bilateral ties toward the right direction, analysts have said.

Positive developments that emerged from the meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida include the agreement to move forward negotiations on a variety of issues. Trump's acceptance of Xi's invitation to visit China was another highlight.

The easing of geopolitical rivalry between Beijing and Washington will serve as a catalyst for pragmatic cooperation, notably on the economic front, according to Wu Xinbo, an expert on Sino-US relations.

The "America First" principle upheld by Trump means he would prioritize economic affairs and down play ideological collision with China, said Wu, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.

"Trump is eyeing a strategic retrenchment. At the top of his agenda is the revival of the US manufacturing sector and infrastructure upgrade," he said.

Wu noted that Trump, unlike all US presidents since World War II, has exhibited little interest in having his country take on excessive obligations and involvement in global affairs, instead believing the nation should focus on its internal problems.

This stance spells opportunities for China. For instance, Trump would likely welcome further Chinese investment to the US, especially those that have potential to boost job creation.

In January, Trump met with China's billionaire e-commerce guru Jack Ma, who vowed to bring 1 million jobs to the US over five years by enabling American small merchants to sell to China via online channels. Trump touted Ma as a "great businessman".

Former US secretary of commerce Carlos Gutierrez noted how Trump has repeatedly accused China of stealing American jobs. But blaming China for unemployment is "solving the wrong problem", he said.

During the Boao Forum for Asia in March, Gutierrez said that Washington should take a serious look at the technological breakthroughs dealing a heavy blow to traditional industries rather than treat Beijing as a scapegoat if it wants to salvage its manufacturing sector.

"For instance, robotics is going to change the world and we are about to lose millions of jobs. It's not because of China, or NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area), or the immigrants," he said.

Gutierrez also noted that the contribution of manufacturing to the US economy has been rather stable at 13 to 14 percent for many years. However, the workforce has declined due to a wave of disruptive technologies that automate the manufacturing process. As such, he said that the government should not aim to bring back jobs of the past but move ahead with the times.

(China Daily USA 04/14/2017 page7)

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