China declares Hainan island worldwide free-trade zone

Jeannie Matthews
April 14, 2018

So the small victory President Donald Trump has won in the so-called "trade war" he initiated needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Chinese People's Liberation Army navy soldiers of a guard of honor look at Chinese President Xi Jinping (Front) during a welcoming ceremony for King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain outside the Great Hall of People on September 16, 2013 in Beijing, China.

The surplus reached $58 billion in January-March, customs bureau spokesman Huang Songping said at a briefing in Beijing.

China's overall March imports grew 14.4 per cent from a year ago, beating analysts' forecast for 10.0 per cent growth, and compared with 6.3 per cent growth in February.

The comments raised the prospect that the trade dispute between the United States and China that rocked markets last week could spill over into Latin America, a resource-rich region where Beijing has made significant inroads.

"We hope that the U.S. will listen patiently to rational and pragmatic voices on the trade balance issue".

Trump is demanding Beijing take steps to narrow its trade deficit with the United States, which Washington says stood at a record $375.2 billion a year ago.

At a time when the USA is increasingly backing away from global commitments, China and India can fill in the vacuum, just as they did in the case of climate change negotiations where both countries pledged they will reducing greenhouse gases by 2020, even as the U.S. later pulled out of the Paris Accord.

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Trump's economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the USA was receiving good signals from China for change in the past few days.

"He's going to open it up, take down a lot of the trade barriers - maybe all of them - but take down a lot of trade barriers".

Instead, the Trump administration wants Chinese leaders to address more basic structural issues that interfere with market forces, said the official. Such exchanges would effectively raise the diplomatic status of the democratically run island, which USA officials have avoided since recognizing the government in Beijing under the "one-China" policy in 1979. China's willingness to make trade concessions proves those who were predicting trade Armageddon wrong. He pointed to Chinese trade with Latin America that he said had surged 18.8 percent to almost $260 billion past year alone. "We put a $50 billion tariff on, and then we put $100 billion tariff on. They are ready to pull the trigger", Salitsky pointed out.

The trade deficit came in at USD4.98 billion in March, in contrast to the expected surplus of USD27.5 billion.

So far the large threats wielded by both sides have not been implemented.

Further to that strategy, it has been learned that The Trump Administration is working on a program, which could cost billions of dollars, to compensate farmers suffering from Chinese retaliatory tariffs on USA crops.

Trade between the two nations remained strong in the first quarter, with bilateral exchanges rising 13 percent to $142 billion.

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