During the past two years of trade negotiations, China and the United States staged an ups and downs of international political drama, which made people sigh the end of the old era and the arrival of a new era.
On the U.S. side, Washington has repeatedly set prices, repeatedly launched offensives against China in trade, technology, public opinion, and politics, and is not afraid to take extreme measures that the U.S. government has avoided and used in the past. For exchange rate manipulators, trying to obtain more bargaining chips with China from the Hong Kong social movement in 2019, threatening to suspend the sharing of intelligence as a threat to allies to ban Huawei 5G equipment and so on.
In the first phase of negotiations, China-U.S. Rivalry
On the Chinese side, Beijing has been trying to quell the China-US conflict as much as possible, control its negative spillover effects, and refute high-profile issues on issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang. It has also used cases such as Meng Wanzhou to put pressure on Canadian and other U.S. allies to try to avoid U.S. relations with China. The hawk advocates the “coordination” effect, and faces the trade negotiations in a cutting way, adopting the “talk, the door opens; fight, and always be accompanied” attitude. While preparing for retaliation at any time, it is also ready to ease the conflict at any time. .
In this situation, the phased results today are imperfect for China and the United States, but they are also acceptable.
The United States did not get all the concessions it wanted, but exchanged for China ’s commitment to purchase US $ 200 billion of US goods in two years, and China ’s corresponding reforms in financial and foreign enterprise restrictions also accelerated due to US pressure. The price that the United States needs to pay is nothing more than the damage to American companies caused by the imposition of tariffs, and the modification of the code of conduct for making tariff decisions under Section 301 to change the abuse of this clause in the past decades.
China needs to accelerate its own open reforms, so that Chinese companies face more intense international competition, and work with the United States to achieve $ 200 billion in purchase orders. These “concessions” were originally what China needed to promote: in order to provide momentum for economic development in the coming decades and break through the “middle-income country trap”, China needs to phase out low-end production capacity, promote industrial upgrading, and cutting-edge foreign companies. Compete for real swords. Therefore, the real price that China needs to face is how to explain to other trading partners that “China-US purchase orders will not harm China’s other trade relations.” As a result, China was able to temporarily stabilize China-US relations, continue to strengthen the “symbiotic relationship” of the relationship between the two countries, curb the “phase conflict” factor, and extend the period of opportunity for China’s development.
For these objective facts, everyone will have their own summary. Don’t talk too much about each word. However, in order to promote the understanding of the significance of the first-phase economic and trade agreement between China and the United States, one method is to compare China’s negotiations for joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) two decades ago.
The burden of past humiliation is to promote today
China-US negotiations have never been easy. To join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization, which was established in 1995, China had conducted arduous negotiations with the United States. After the China-US consultations in May 1989, it seemed to have been negotiated, but after the “June 4th Incident”, the United States categorically suspended negotiations with China.
In the early 1990s, China and the United States resumed negotiations on the basis of mutual benefit considerations, but the situation of US officials’ stringent orders also frequently appeared. In the final months of the negotiations, when the then Chinese State Council Premier Zhu Rongji led a team to the United States in April 1999, the United States issued a unilaterally drafted “China-US Joint Statement on China’s Accession to the WTO” without the Chinese side’s complete knowledge “, Calling the many U.S. asking prices that China has not agreed to be the result of negotiations, forcing China to follow suit. Zhu Rongji even frankly said, “China has made great concessions … I worry that even if I sign this agreement, the Chinese people will not agree.”
At 5 am on November 14, the same day before the signing of the agreement between China and the United States in Beijing, Charlene Barshefsky, the US leader, suddenly gave an ultimatum to Chinese negotiator Shi Guang-must visit President Bill Clinton Agreement was reached before European flights landed. On the same day, the US side withdrew from the negotiations twice and severed ties.
Imagine that in order to “enter the WTO,” China inevitably encountered various intimidations and even humiliations from the United States. At that time, China was full of doubts about the “Union of the City”, and many people advocated giving up negotiations, believing that China’s economy at that time could not cope with global competition. However, Zhu Rongji finally went to the scene in person on November 15th, vowing “the agreement must be signed today”, and agreed to the US requirements on some outstanding issues, making the chief negotiator Long Yongtu anxious to repeatedly send a note, angry Zhu Rongji turned back and screamed, “Don’t hand me a note!”
In all fairness, what if it wasn’t the case then? With the “hundred years of shame,” China has profoundly realized the disadvantages of sequestered nations. Therefore, despite the need to adhere to sovereignty and master the pace, it needs to be open to the outside world after all, and it requires the world’s markets, capital, and technology.
Twenty years have passed, and China’s world-renowned economic achievements have proved the correctness and foresight of the decision to join the WTO. When China negotiates with the United States again, it is no longer just for market and investment, but to maintain China-US relations and the stability of the world political and economic system. At the same time, China was forgiven for signing under US coercion, but today China has become more proactive. Under the support of abundant national strength, although China cannot and is not willing to confront the United States, it also has the confidence to “fight and be accompanied at any time.”
The White House has a new understanding of China
The burden of humiliation that year brought back today’s strength and confidence, so how will today’s agreement affect the next negotiations between the two countries? In what way will the “Second Phase Negotiations” between China and the US begin? One way to answer these questions is to try to assess what has happened over the past two years from a White House perspective.
The United States has not only attacked China, but also re-signed agreements with Japan, South Korea, Canada, and Mexico, and launched a series of tariff threats and regulatory disputes with the European Union on agricultural trade, automobiles, aircraft, digital sovereignty, and other areas, and even amortized. Military expenses make allies difficult-either for personal political interests or to make sure that this style of work “makes the United States great”, Trump really considers “doing arbitrage from other countries” as his own job, and he does not hesitate to break it. International norms, using a variety of non-traditional methods.
From the current results, this method works. Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Japan have made concessions. Except for the European Union, most other countries lack independence and initiative when negotiating with the United States. After all, the United States is still the only “pole” in the world. With unparalleled national strength, Trump is indeed invincible.
As for China, the White House’s offensive against China was originally the most violent. However, after experiencing the first stage of trade negotiations, the United States gradually realized that China was more persistent than other negotiating opponents. The White House wants to continue to put pressure on China. In fact, Trump, who has been bragging about himself, “has forced himself to Liangshan” and must continue to put pressure on him. However, the White House is also unable to pry more concessions from Beijing at this stage, and has been backwashed by its own “seven wounds” operation on tariffs and other issues-compared with other countries, in this round of trade negotiations, China is America’s toughest opponent.
No need to be overly pessimistic about the second stage
Today, the United States chooses to “take the money when it is good” and accepts the idea that China has reached consensus in stages. While rendering “the United States has won”, it has avoided creating a PR slogan of “China has lost” and no longer mentions that “the agreement cannot be equal And so on. And the signing ceremony was hosted by Liu He ’s visit to the United States this time. The absence of the “Xi ’s special meeting” that Trump is expecting shows that Beijing ’s thinking on “talking about trade with trade” has not changed. Be ready to start a trade war again.
In addition, China-US conflicts in other areas cannot be avoided. Judging from the current situation, there is a growing trend. Because of this, trade negotiations are precisely the important mechanism for maintaining stability in bilateral relations.
Next, China is expected to try to enlarge the dimension of mutual benefit in the relations between the two countries through the negotiation process as much as possible, and artificially establish a “contact” China policy for the US.
After all, shouting and killing is easy, and the CCP should consider extending the period of opportunity for China’s development. On the U.S. side, the current Trump administration realizes that it seems that brute force alone cannot make concessions to China. It is also true that China ’s attitude of “talking and the door is open” is true. Aware of the negative effects of the “Seven Injuries Boxing” on China’s offensive. Therefore, the White House also needs to communicate with China in a more realistic, “talk instead of fight” manner. This is bound to affect the style of the second phase of the White House negotiations.
Therefore, in the second stage of the negotiation process, the two countries will no longer use the will of the United States as the first stage. Compared with the previous situation of “U.S. bargaining and bargaining”, there will be more reciprocal benefits exchanges in the second round, and people will see more “China and the U.S. bargaining and exchange price codes”.
It is important to remember that all sectors cannot underestimate the importance Trump attaches to re-election. After realizing that China is unwilling to confront, but is not afraid to launch a counterattack, and has certain counterattack capabilities, it can be estimated that from now until the results of the US presidential election in November, the White House will not launch an actual offensive against China. At best, it’s a rhetoric of a draft nature. After all, Trump needs to avoid the risk of failing to step down. Before the election, be safe.