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特朗普正式就职,中美贸易战是否随他而来?

Minxin Pei 2017年01月20日

特朗普今天正式就职新一任美国总统,在竞选时和当选后,他多次提到将对中国商品提高关税。在他上台后,中美之间是否会掀起贸易大战?

2016年11月10日,北京,一名报亭老板在印有特朗普照片的报纸上接过一张百元人民币钞票。

特朗普今天就要宣誓就职了,在特朗普团队可能出台的许多颠覆性政策中,与中国的贸易战也是一种可能。有些人仍然希望特朗普政府中的实用主义者能平息那些反对中国的声音,然而特朗普指定的下一任国务卿候选人、前埃克森公司CEO雷克斯·蒂勒森日前的一番言论,可能要打消这些人的幻想了。

在上周的新任国务卿提名听证会上,蒂勒森虽然在对俄罗斯的政策上闪烁其辞,却强硬抨击了中国的贸易政策。一旦蒂纳尔森的提名获得通过,他将在新一届美国政府的对华政策中扮演举足轻重的角色,因此他的态度也表明,如果特朗普真的要不惜代价对华发动贸易战,他是不会出力阻拦的。

特朗普深知,如果中美之间真的爆发贸易战,美国将是相对强势的一方。因为美国对对外贸易的依存度要低于中国。2015年,美国的对外贸易约占GDP的28%,而中国的这一比例则达到了41%。另外,中国对美国的出口额也远远高于美国对中国的出口。2015年,美国对华的出口总额约为1160亿美元,而中国对美国的出口额则要高出三倍,达到4830亿美元。最重要的是,美国目前基本实现了充分就业和低通胀,且金融系统处于比较健康的水平,美国经济已经恢复到2008年金融危机以来最强势的水平。而中国经济则受到大量不良债务和产能过剩、资本外流等问题的影响。

首先要强调的是,我们并不知道特朗普究竟只是说说还是要来真的。但如果他以为中国领导人不会展开反制,或者是即便展开了反制也不会令美国伤筋动骨,那他就打错如意算盘了。从政治上看,中国国家主席领导人也向特朗普一样,一贯展示出一位强势领导人的形象,并表示其使命是带领中国实现中华民族的伟大复兴,所以他不可能接受在国际冲突中示弱的后果。从经济上看,虽然中国可能会在中美贸易战中受到很大损害,但作为全球第二大经济体,它依然有能力向美国打出强有力的反击。

在可能发生的中美贸易战中,如果特朗普抢先发难,中国领导人十有八九会果断接招,向那些比较脆弱的美国企业和部门采取行动,同时出台反制战略,将对中国的影响降至最低,而把对美国的痛苦放到最大。

中国政府打出的第一套组合拳将是一些能够打击到美国却不会伤及自身的策略。比如取消与波音签订的飞机订单(2015年,中国一国就占据了波音全球销量的12%),这不会给中国造成任何不好的影响,因为波音在中国几乎没有雇佣任何工人,而且中国也可以转向空客公司购买飞机。另外,砍掉从美国进口的小麦、大豆和其它农产品也不会给中国造成多大的问题,因为中国总是可以向其他产粮大国(如加拿大、巴西和阿根廷等国)购买。

限制中国的对美投资也是中国可以采取的一个反制战略。据美国咨询机构荣鼎集团统计,2015年,中资企业在美投资总额已达456亿美元。削减这些投资不仅会伤害美国经济,也有益于中国减缓资本外流的速度。

美国在服务贸易领域对中国的大量顺差(2015年为333亿美元)也很可能成为中国的反制目标。在美国对华出口的服务贸易中,中国游客的消费贡献了其中的大头(2014年,有180万名中国游客赴美观光,为美国GDP贡献了210亿美元的产值)。只要减少中国游客赴美旅游,就能给特朗普传达一个胆确的信号,同时也有助于缩小外汇的流失。

当然,中国也有很多其他措施可以采用。只不过这些措施的吸引力不像前面几种那么多,因为它们所锁定的美国目标虽然在面临中国的反击手段时非常脆弱,但它们却在中国雇佣了大量员工,比如说苹果公司(中国市场占苹果全球市场的四分之一,同时苹果也间接地通过富士康在中国境内雇佣了几十万名工人)、通用汽车和沃尔玛等等。它们也可能会登上中国政府的反制名单,但中国领导人不太可能把它们列入第一轮制裁名单,除非中美贸易战升级到了更激烈的程度。

不知道特朗普和他的贸易顾问们是否认真考虑过中美贸易战的后果和目标。不过有一点是清楚的——中美贸易战并不能改善特朗普的核心支持者(即没有受过大学教育的制造业工人)的生活处境,因为那些被特朗普征收了惩罚性关税的企业,只会将生产线转移至亚洲的其他国家。而更严重的恶果是,中美两国将面临双输的局面。如果这样一场毫无意义的、自残式的贸易战真的打响了,谁输得更惨对于工作和生活都遭受了巨大影响的美国人民来说,真的没有什么意义。(财富中文网)

本文作者裴敏欣是克莱蒙特麦肯纳学院的政府学教授。

译者:朴成奎

A vendor picks up a 100 yuan note above a newspaper featuring a photo of US president-elect Donald Trump, at a newsstand in Beijing on November 10, 2016.

As Donald Trump is sworn into office today, among many of the possible disruptive initiatives his administration may launch is a trade war with China. Some may still harbor hopes that pragmatists in his administration could counterbalance the anti-trade China hawks, but former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for the Secretary of State, should dispel such illusions.

During his confirmation hearings last week, Tillerson took a hardline on China over its trade practices, even as he prevaricated on Russia. Since Tillerson would play a key role in determining policy toward Beijing if he is confirmed, his remarks suggest that he would not stand in the way if Trump wants to launch a costly trade war with China.

Trump knows that the U.S. is in a stronger position than China, since America is much less dependent on trade than China (total foreign trade is equivalent of 28% of GDP for the U.S. in 2015 while it is 41% of GDP for China). In addition, China sells far more to the U.S. than the other way around. In 2015, U.S. exports to China totaled $116 billion while Chinese exports to the U.S. were more than triple that at $483 billion. Most importantly, with full employment, low inflation, and a healthy financial system, the U.S. economy is at its strongest since the financial crisis of 2008. The Chinese economy, by comparison, is weighed down by a mountain of bad debt, overcapacity, and capital flight.

To be sure, we have no idea what Trump might actually do. But he would be wrong to assume that Chinese leaders will not push back or that their actions would not amount to much. Politically, China’s President Xi Jinping, has portrayed himself, just like Trump, as a strong leader whose mission is to make China great again. He cannot afford to appear to be a weakling. Economically, China may be highly vulnerable and will suffer worse consequences than the U.S. in a trade war, but as the world’s second-largest economy, it can still deliver a powerful counter punch.

In all likelihood, Chinese leaders will respond to the actions taken by Trump by targeting vulnerable American firms and sectors and following a strategy that minimizes costs to China while maximizing pain to the U.S.

The first set of actions would be those that would hurt the U.S. without harming China. For example, canceling orders of Boeing aircraft (China accounts for nearly 12 percent of Boeing’s sales in 2015) will have no adverse impact since Boeing employs few workers in China and Beijing can buy from Airbus. Cutting the imports of American wheat, soybeans, and other agricultural products will not cause starvation in China because there are alternative producers (Canada, Brazil, and Argentina).

Restricting Chinese investments in the U.S. is another retaliatory measure attractive to Beijing. According to the Rhodium Group, an American consulting firm, Chinese companies invested $45.6 billion in the U.S. in 2015. Curtailing such investments would not only hurt the American economy, but also help Beijing slow down capital outflows.

Since the U.S. runs a large surplus in its exports of services to China, $33.3 billion in 2015, Beijing would be highly tempted to single out this sector for retaliation as well. In terms of U.S. services exported to China, the bulk consists of Chinese tourists dollars (1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. in 2014 and spent $21 billion). Cutting down America-bound Chinese tourists can both send Trump a message and help plug the leakage of precious foreign currency.

There are, of course, other options available to Beijing. But these measures are less attractive because these American targets, vulnerable as they are, all employ large numbers of workers in China. They include Apple (which relies on China for a quarter of its iPhone sales but also indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of workers in China through its contract manufacturer, Foxxcon). GM and Wal-Mart also belong in the same category. They may be on Beijing’s target list, but Chinese leaders are less likely to go after them first unless their trade war with Trump escalates to a more vicious level.

It is unclear whether Trump and his trade advisers have thought through the consequences and objectives of a trade war with China. What is clear is that such a war will do little to help Trump’s core supporters (manufacturing workers without college education) because companies hit with Trump’s punitive tariffs will simply move their production facilities to other countries in Asia. Worse still, both China and the U.S. will lose – the idea that China will lose more than the U.S. is no consolation for those whose lives and jobs are upended in a totally needless and self-destructive trade war.

Minxin Pei is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

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