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Prospects of Sino-US relations in Trump Era



Uncertainties in Sino-US relations increased unexpectedly right after Trump took office as the president of US, but it is undeniable that economy still works as a ballast stone in this respect.





The above diagram shows the top 10 markets with the highest growth rate for US exports of goods and services. China, whether in goods export or in service export, is the No. 1 importer for America in terms of growth rate. US-China Business Council treats China as an important engine for its economic growth in spite of the decline of China’s economic growth.


The long history of Sino-US economic and trade cooperation


According to the data from the Census Bureau of the United States in 2016, China is now America’s largest trading partner. Sino-US trade thrived against the harsh winter the world suffered between 2008 and 2015, with annual growth exceeding 7%. The US sells 22% of its cotton, 26% of its Boeing planes, and 56% of its soybean to China. All these goods export and service export have created nearly one million jobs. China enjoys a favorable balance of trade in bilateral trade relations, thus leaving more room and opportunities for Sino-US economic and trade cooperation. China, winning foreign companies’ attentions for its vast market and great potentials, has always been selected as the top priority for investment.



Ford Motor came to China in 1913 when the First Model T Ford was imported to China. Dr. Sun Yat-sen once wrote to Henry Ford, asking him to help build China’s automotive industry.



Representing the first foreign automotive company that developed business in the New China, Henry Ford II, president of Ford Motor at the time, met with Deng Xiaoping in 1978 and expressed his wish to cooperate with China’s automotive industry. In November 1978, Ford Motor set up an “Office for China’s Business” seeking the possibility of constructing a joint venture for heavy trucks in China. Ford sold 750 F-series trucks to China, which was the first time for an American automotive company to export its products to China since 1949.


Which company enjoys the greatest reputation for its excavators? Caterpillar, the largest manufacturer of construction machinery in the world, has been in China for over 40 years. With the first 38 pipe-laying machines exported to China in 1975 and the opening of the Beijing office in 1978, Caterpillar signed technology transfer agreements with 12 State-owned companies in China and constructed the first manufacturing factory in Xuzhou in 1994. Currently, Caterpillar boasts 28 factories, 4 research centers, and 3 logistics and parts centers. It has been involved in China Development Forum for 10 years in a row, always being keen to give advice on China’s development.



As the leader in global aerospace industry, Boeing has been in cooperation with China for long. Almost every Chinese top leader would visit Boeing, a famous aircraft manufacturer, during their visit to America, from Deng Xiaoping’s visit in 1979 to President Xi Jinping’s visit in 2015. Generations of Chinese leaders have interacted and communicated with everyone working there from the top management to ordinary skilled workers, which is determined by the huge potential for further cooperation between China and Boeing.


It is said that China is Boeing’s largest foreign market and still holds the potential for further development. As the second largest civil aviation market, China has maintained fast and steady growth in recent years in this field and is estimated to overtake America as the largest one in the world. Denis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing said “Boeing is not simply selling aircraft in China; we are also dedicated to the expansion of cooperation with China Aviation Industry. Nowadays, parts and components made in China are used on more than 9000 Boeing aircraft flying all over the world. More and more projects and joint ventures related to Boeing are coming to fruition. ”



Apart from all the multinational companies mentioned above, most of the Fortune 500 companies in the US have set up branches or offices in China, and gained handsome profits and rewards after years of development, pushing economic development in both China and America.


Meanwhile, Chinese enterprises invest a lot in America, covering 42 states, including New York, Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts, and California in particular, creating almost 100,000 jobs in America. Overall, with Sino-US economic and trade relations strongly complementary to each other, a pattern of interests featuring mutual dependence has been formed by the option of the market.


Sino-US relations are rooted in the civil society


The development model based on mutual benefit and win-win result not only counts on the universal connections between business communities but also on the joint efforts of the people of the two countries. In recent years, scholars, retired officials and entrepreneurs have carried out the “Track Two Diplomacy” comprehensively, including Dr. Kissinger, a close friend to China. The former Secretary of State Dr. Kissinger had a dialogue with former state councilor Dai Bingguo on the subject of “the existence of the Thucydides Trap” on China Development Forum 2016.



Dr. Kissinger believes that Sino-US cooperation is so important that any conflict would bring about disastrous consequences. The only right choice for both countries is to construct a new model of major-country relationship with no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, cooperation, and win-win results, which Dai Bingguo hopes to apply to both China and America, so that we can work together to better address global issues.


Prospects of Sino-US relations in Trump era


Looking at the future of Sino-US relations, though challenging, we clearly see that cooperation is better than confrontation, communication better than containment, and respect better than contempt, which coincides with the basic interests of the two peoples and even all the people in the world.



Just like what Paulson, former U.S. Treasury Secretary said in his new book  Dealing with China , “America and China are the two most important countries in the world, and none of the contemporary global challenges ranging from environmental problems, economic recession, food security, to nuclear proliferation could be resolved without the cooperation between these two countries. ”


Zhu Min, president of National Institute of Finance of Tsinghua University and former vice president of the International Monetary Fund will have a summit dialogue with Paulson at the China Development Forum on March18. What predictable challenges will be brought to Sino-US relations and China’s development by Trump’s administration? What influences will be caused by fluctuations in Sino-US relations? How can we deal with these interrelations, handle risks, and resolve conflicts constructively? Let’s look forward to their insights.