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特朗普或将对华采取贸易惩罚,中国做好准备了吗?

路透社 2017年03月22日

美国总统特朗普曾在竞选期间扬言对中国出口产品课征45%关税,面对可能到来的贸易惩罚措施,中国做好准备了吗?

中国政府已经在就如何应对美国总统唐纳德·特朗普可能实施的贸易处罚措施,向智库和政策顾问征求意见,尽管中国希望能通过商业式的协商解决问题,但也在为最糟糕的状况做准备。

中国的政策顾问们认为,特朗普政府很可能针对钢铁、家具等行业以及国有企业提高关税,因为中国在这些行业对美国享有巨大的贸易顺差。

他们表示,中国可以通过寻找其他农产品或机械以及制成品供应商,减少对美国的消费产品出口,比如手机或笔记本电脑等,来应对特朗普政府的措施。

他们认为,中国的其他选择包括对在中国运营的美国大公司征税或采取限制措施,或者限制它们进入中国迅速发展的服务业。

参与内部讨论的几位消息人士称,在去年美国大选期间,中国是特朗普各种言论特别针对的目标,考虑到中国对美国的巨大贸易顺差,有官员预计两国之间出现摩擦将不可避免。

中国国务院新闻办公室和中国商务部并未回复置评要求。

“双方仍有通过合作和协商解决问题的空间,而不是仅诉诸于报复手段,”一位要求匿名的政策顾问称。

“不过,我们应准备好计划,防止事情恶化。”

中国国务院总理李克强在上周表示,中国不希望看到和美国发生贸易战,希望双方通过沟通来扩大共同利益。

美国财政部长史蒂文·努钦也在上周表示,特朗普政府无意打贸易战,但需要重新检查与某些国家的贸易关系,以使其对美国工人更公平。

美国国务卿雷克斯·蒂勒森周末访问中国时,未宣布美国方面的重大措施,也未就华盛顿在贸易方面的打算做出公开表态。

预计特朗普将于下月接待访美的中国国家主席习近平。

但周六,在德国召开的20国集团(G20)财长会议结束后发表的公告,预示了未来的不确定性。两天会议结束后,各国未能达成相互妥协,放弃了对保护全球贸易自由和开放的承诺,这默许了美国不断抬头的保护主义。

善意姿态

消息人士称,中国将增加从美国的进口,并加大在美投资以创造更多就业,向美国表达善意,但中国不会逆来顺受地接受美国的任何单方面行动。

第二位政策顾问表示:“我们会制定应急计划,来应对特朗普对中国最不利的政策。”

特朗普先前曾扬言对中国出口产品课征45%关税,在竞选期间也经常宣称将把中国列为汇率操纵国,尽管事实上中国当局最近几年并未主动使人民币贬值。

特朗普在2月23日接受路透社专访时,形容中国是最大的汇率操纵国。

前述第一位顾问称:“很难说他的看法有所改变,或是他变得更务实。”

努钦已承诺,将以更有系统的方式分析中国的汇率作法。

美国财政部以三个标准判断某个国家是否操纵汇率以获得贸易优势,中国只符合其中之一:对美国贸易顺差持续超过200亿美元。美国财政部将于4月公布下一份有关汇率操纵国的报告。

美国商务部上周二表示,中国2016年对美国的贸易顺差下降201亿美元至3,470亿美元;而中国官方数据显示的对美贸易顺差规模更低。

其中一位消息人士称,他认为特朗普不大可能给中国贴上汇率操纵国的标签。

他表示:“如果他那么做,中国将放任人民币不管,人民币将大幅贬值。”

消息人士表示,只有当贸易关系急剧恶化之时,中国才可能考虑使人民币贬值或者抛售一部分美国国债。

本月稍早,中国前商务部长高虎城在“两会”期间表示,中国不害怕打贸易战,但希望避免贸易战。

他说道:“我们愿意妥善处理好中美之间的贸易关系。一旦美方要采取什么措施,我们也不害怕,我们也会评估和分析这些措施,该出手时就要出手。”(财富中文网)

作者:路透社 

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

China's government has been seeking advice from its think-tanks and policy advisers on how to counter potential trade penalties from U.S. President Donald Trump, getting ready for the worst, even as they hope for business-like negotiations.

The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.

China could respond with actions such as finding alternative suppliers of agriculture products or machinery and manufactured goods, while cutting its exports of consumer staples such as mobile phones or laptops, they said.

Other options include imposing tax or other restrictions on big U.S. firms operating in China, or limiting their access to China's fast-growing services sector, they added.

Beijing was a particular target of Trump's rhetoric during last year's election campaign, and officials see some friction as inevitable due to China's large trade surplus, according to several sources involved in the internal discussions.

China's State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Commerce did not return requests for comment.

"There is still room for both sides to resolve problems through co-operation and consultation, rather than just resorting to retaliation," said a policy adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"But we should have plans in case things go wrong."

Premier Li Keqiang said last week that Beijing did not want to see a trade war with the United States and urged talks between both sides to achieve common ground.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said last week that the Trump administration did not want trade wars, but that certain trade relationships needed re-examining to make them fairer for U.S. workers.

No major U.S. measures have been announced, and there were no public indications of Washington's intentions on trade at the weekend when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited China.

Trump is expected to host President Xi Jinping next month.

A glimpse of the uncertain future, however, came on Saturday in a communique after a meeting of finance ministers at the G20 in Germany, which dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after the two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.

GOODWILL GESTURE

The sources said China could step up some imports from the United States and boost its investment there to help create more jobs as a goodwill gesture, but would not meekly accept any unilateral U.S. action.

"We will have contingency plans to cope with the worst policies from Trump," said a second policy adviser.

Trump has previously threatened a 45% tariff on China's exports and frequently said on the campaign trail that he would label China a currency manipulator, even though Beijing has not been actively weakening the yuan in recent years.

In an interview with Reuters on Feb. 23, he declared China the "grand champions" of currency manipulation.

"It's hard to say his views have changed or he has become more pragmatic," said the first adviser.

Mnuchin has pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing's foreign exchange practices.

Under the three criteria set by the U.S. Treasury to determine whether a country is manipulating its currency for a trade advantage, China only meets one: running a trade surplus of more than $20 billion with the United States. The U.S. Treasury's next report on the issue is due in April.

China's surplus with the United States fell by $20.1 billion to $347 billion in 2016, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday, while Chinese data put it somewhat lower.

One of the sources said he thought it unlikely that Trump would label China a currency manipulator.

"If he does that, China will let the yuan go, and the yuan will fall sharply," the source said.

Weakening the yuan or dumping some of China's massive holdings of U.S Treasuries could be considered only when trade relations deteriorate sharply, the sources said.

Earlier this month, former commerce minister Gao Hucheng said during the annual meeting of parliament that China was not afraid of a trade war, though it hoped to avoid one.

"We are willing to deal with it properly, but we are not afraid. Once the U.S. side take certain measures, we will evaluate and analyze such measures, and take actions when necessary," Gao said.

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