Trade talk between the U.S. and China has been testy since President Trump suggested imposing punitive taxes on imports from the country, though China appears ready to work with the U.S.
Strained ties between the two powerhouse nations stands to weigh on exporters and investors’ confidence, and China-based Westerners in sourcing have said the uncertainty has slowed business decisions as many aren’t sure what moves to make next.
“A trade war would not benefit either country or either country’s people, you could say it would have no advantage whatsoever,” Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said speaking at the annual parliament session in Beijing, according to Reuters. “Many American and Western friends think that China can’t live without the United States but that’s only half true.” As Zhong explained, the growth in U.S. exports to China has outpaced Chinese exports to the U.S. over the last 10 years.
Zhong said he is looking forward to meeting with his U.S. counterpart, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been tasked with working to renegotiate U.S. and China trade relations, as well as trade dealings between the U.S. and Mexico.
“I am aware that Mr. Ross is an outstanding businessman and an experienced negotiator, an excellent person,” Reuters reported Zhong as saying. “I am willing to deal with excellent people because excellent people play the long game and think strategically.”
For now, Chinese manufacturers and others working in supply chains connected to the U.S. are worried and awaiting the next steps that will dictate trade.
China’s textile and apparel exports to the U.S. fell 11 percent between 2015 and 2016, and the numbers are expected to continue slide.