Former China finmin feels trade frictions with US may remain under Biden

Reuters Beijing | Updated on November 13, 2020

Lou Jiwei, former Chinese Finance Minister   -  Reuters

Calls for pragmatism in US-China trade relations; says it’s difficult for US to cut trade deficit, with the dollar being the dominant global currency

Trade frictions between the US and China may not ease in the near term even if Joe Biden becomes president of the United States, former Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday.

Lou, who is now retired and serves as a member of a consultative body to the Chinese parliament, made the remarks during the Caixin Summit event in Beijing.

When asked about the outlook for US-China economic and trade relationship after the US election, the outspoken former minister said, “Even if Biden is elected, the US suppression of China will be inevitable.”

Also read: Will Biden reboot US’ China strategy?

Lou called for pragmatism in US-China trade relations, saying that it’s difficult for the US to cut its trade deficit, given the dollar’s position as the dominant global currency.

“After four years, the trade deficit (with China) is still widening. We need to return to common sense and return to science. Everyone needs to be reasonable,” said Lou.

The Trump administration launched a trade war in the middle of 2018, demanding that China undertake sweeping structural reforms to open its markets and buy more from the United States.

Since then, both countries have imposed tariffs affecting billions of dollars worth of goods, causing a severe shock to the global supply chains.

Also read: China’s tech industry relieved by Biden win - but not relaxed

But Lou said he would be cautiously optimistic about the trade relations if US President Donald Trump were to remain in office.

Lou also said it is time to study China’s exit from its accommodative monetary policy, but not from its fiscal stimulus strategy.

Liu Guoqiang, a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said last week the central bank would consider policy changes as the economy recovers, but would not act hastily, with any shifts based on accurate economic assessments.

Financial institutions should be determined to deleverage debt levels in an orderly manner and prevent debt-fuelled recovery, said Lou.

Published on November 13, 2020

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