World Chinese Media Warns of 'Bumpy Journey' With U.S. in 2018

23:21  04 january  2018
23:21  04 january  2018 Source:   U.S. News & World Report

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Social Media . Enterprise. Gaming. A commentary piece published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua warns of a " bumpy " trade journey with the U . S . in 2018 after the proposed MoneyGram-Ant Financial deal falls through.

� A commentary piece published by Chinese state news agency Xinhua warns of a " bumpy " trade journey with the U . S . in 2018 after the proposed MoneyGram-Ant Financial deal falls through � China 's foreign ministry asks for "fair and predictable environment" in the U . S

Beijing, CHINA: A US and a Chinese flag wave outside a commercial building in Beijing, 09 July 2007. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 06 July 2007 accused China of flouting the rules of global trade in its headlong economic expansion as the US administration © (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images) Chinese media warned Beijing could retaliate after U.S. regulators blocked a merger between MoneyGram and Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial.

Chinese press Wednesday warned of a "bumpy journey in trade in 2018" between Beijing and Washington – the latest wrinkle in the complicated relationship between the world's two largest economies.

China's state-owned Xinhua news outlet published an article critical of American regulators' decision this week to block a $1.2 billion merger between currency transfer company MoneyGram and Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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Reuters cited sources familiar with discussions that took place within the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. as saying safety concerns related to the sensitive information of U.S. MoneyGram customers factored into the government's decision not to approve the deal.

"With deep-rooted strategic mistrust toward China, U.S. politicians have failed to catch up with China's understanding of cooperation and adopted an increasingly protective and isolationist approach," the Xinhua report said. "China and the United States are about to ride a bumpy journey in trade in 2018 if the U.S. government goes it[s] own way, and retaliatory measures by China could be on the table."

Exactly what sort of retaliation the U.S. can expect remains unclear. But the comments are some of the most pointed to come out of Beijing as President Donald Trump's administration has cracked down on Chinese purchases of American companies and continues to threaten trade restrictions in response to what it feels has been an insufficient response to North Korean provocation.

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Trump on the campaign trail repeatedly threatened to label China a currency manipulator and pledged to enact steep tariffs, saying the country was "killing us" on trade. But the president hasn't done either since taking office and admitted in a recent interview with The New York Times that he had been "soft on China" with the hopes that it would more actively oppose North Korea's ballistic missile testing.

"If they're helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time. And that's what I've been doing," Trump said. "China can help us much more, and they have to help us much more."

Amid news that a Chinese-linked vessel had been seized under suspicion of distributing oil to Pyongyang, Trump has threatened to pivot to more aggressive trade treatment of China in the months ahead.

But Chinese state media has argued that such an adjustment already played out in the latter half of 2017.

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"The hawkish turn became ear-piercing when President Trump described China as a strategic 'competitor' in his first national security strategy [document] in December, accusing [the Chinese government] of pursuing economic aggression designed to weaken America," the report said.

The Xinhua report goes on to note the Trump administration's Section 301 trade investigation announced in August, which accuses Beijing of intellectual property theft of American companies trying to conduct business in China.

It goes on to cite additional anti-dumping duties on Chinese aluminum sheet products and America's opposition to China's bid for "market economy" status within the World Trade Organization – a distinction that would make it significantly harder for the U.S. and other international bodies to impose sanctions and duties on Chinese exports – as signs that the U.S. has already fired shots on the commerce front.

"Narrow-mindedness and rigidity will lead to a zero-sum game," the report warned.

Through the first three quarters of 2017, the U.S. maintained a $248 billion deficit in goods and services with China, according to the Census Bureau. In terms of goods alone, 21.3 percent of all products imported into the U.S. through October came from China. In turn, Beijing purchased 8.2 percent of all American goods exports – a $104 billion sum that placed China third among all countries buying up American-made products, behind only Canada and Mexico.

Chinese retaliation to American trade actions under Trump threatens to derail billions of dollars in commerce between the two economic titans – a reality Xinhua acknowledges, calling for "composure and pragmatism" and suggesting that "the price is too high for the two peoples to pay if [skepticism] grows and tension escalates."

But Beijing also doesn't appear particularly eager to back down, which could lead to some tough trade decisions for both countries in the months ahead.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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