EXPERTS ON US-CHINA TRADE ROW

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Added On April 11, 2018

Diving into the tit-for-tat trade war between China and the U.S.. Whether there'll be a real winner emerging from it?  We've talked to experts and officials to find out. 
 
Kent Calder, Director of Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at SAIS, John Hopkins University, said the people from both countries do not want a trade war, and stability and prosperity are crucial for the world’s two largest economies.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): KENT CALDER,  John Hopkins University
"I don’t think the people in either country are really want a trade war. And I think ultimately, even the Trump administration, would prefer a negotiated settlement to a trade war. I don’t think anybody really wants a trade war in this situation."
 
Anthony Saich, director of the Harvard Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation, warned that a trade war will not only yield no winner, but will also destabilize Sino-U.S. relationship, arguably the most important bilateral relationship in the world.  
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ANTHONY SAICH, Director of the Harvard Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation  
"I think the fact that it's come up in this potential trade war is unfortunate because no one's going to win from the trade war. America is going to suffer from any trade war, probably more than China even."
 
According to Saich, due to the different levels of development of U.S. and Chinese businesses, U.S. companies are more vulnerable if the two countries engage in a trade war. 
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ANTHONY SAICH, Director of the Harvard Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation 
"America is in the much weaker position as this (trade war) expands because American business investments in China are strategic, they're part of a global structure or global value chains and global production. Chinese investments are not only less than America, but they're less integrated with strategic concerns of Chinese industry." 
 
Michael Szonyi, Director of the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, warned that further hawkish rhetoric will only lead bilateral relationship to become more confrontational.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): MICHAEL SZONYI, Director of the Harvard Fairbanks Centre for Chinese Studies
"I'm concerned. I think it's a very delicate relationship. As I've said already, even today, it's a very important and a very complex relationship. It's not a relationship that we should put into jeopardy without careful consideration."
 
Harvard Professor Richard Cooper said that the campaign-like threats has already been met with strong opposition by U.S. businesses, who are worried that the tariffs may backfire. 
 
Cooper predicted the opposition may hurt Trump and the Republican party in upcoming elections.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): RICHARD COOPER, Harvard Professor
"With the exception of the steel industry, U.S. firms have spoken out strongly against this latest round (of tariff threats) by Mr. Trump. So has the business community against this policy and that will filter into the Republican members of Congress over time. And so the American domestic politics of this is complicated and Trump will not necessarily, in my view, likely be on the winning side." 
 
 
Hugo Perezcano Diaz,Deputy Director of Economic Law at the Center for International Governance Innovation, is a former original NAFTA negotiator.
 
He said that nobody emerges victorious from a trade war. 
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) HUGO PEREZCANO DIAZ, Centre for Int'l Governance Innovation  
It is difficult and I've seen this for instance in terms of the Mexican perspective if the U.S. were to withdraw from the NAFTA and if the U.S. were to raise tariffs as a result of that on imports from Mexico. I think it's difficult for Mexico to say take a step back and say OK. The proper way to go is just to go to the WTO initiate a dispute settlement case  and we'll come back with a result in four or five years that will tell us whether the U.S. is right or whether we can raise tariffs in response.
I think that is very difficult politically and economically. It's not the same when this happens with respect to a single product as opposed to an important part of imports of one country into another. So the temptation to react and impose tariffs which is what we have seen from China. I think is very big and there are more immediate interests that countries feel that they need to protect even if that really doesn't help or actually hurts both countries and others more than it helps to resolve the issues."
 
 
 
Fan Gang, President of China Development Institute, pointed out that the escalating tensions between China and the U.S. would affect Asia as a whole. 
 
 
SOUNDBITE (Chinese) FAN GANG, President, China Development Institute
Asia is an integrated economy. The exchanges among Asian countries are not simply limited to trade alone. We're closely connected within the value chain, from the downstream to upstream. Therefore, the China-U.S. trade friction will bring a lot of uncertainties to the Asian economy. We have to prevent related risks."
 
South East Asian countries are also deeply concerned.
 
SOUNDBITE (Bahasa Indonesia), EVI FITRIANI, Indonesian expert
"Indonesia exports a large amount of raw materials to China. China manufactures the materials and exports them to United States. So, the trade dispute between China and the U.S. will affect ASEAN countries."