China, U.S. Trade War Won't Benefit Either Side, Zhong Says

  • Commerce minister says China, U.S. economies ‘intertwined’
  • Zhong says he looks forward to meeting U.S. counterpart Ross

A trade war between China and the U.S. would harm the world’s two largest economies and offer no benefits to either side, China Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said.

“Many American and western friends think that China can’t live without the U.S., and they’re half right,” Zhong told reporters on Saturday in Beijing. “Similarly, the U.S. also can’t live without China,” he said, citing U.S. exports of Boeing Co. airplanes, soybeans and automobiles to China.

U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of unfair trade practices and has threatened to introduce punitive measures. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week that a plan of action will be announced “as soon as we have a proper case.”

At his first press conference after being promoted to lead the commerce ministry on Feb. 24., Zhong said the U.S. and Chinese economies are “intertwined.” He said he looks forward to meeting his U.S. counterpart, praising Ross as an “excellent’ businessman and good negotiator.

“Our common mission is to enhance cooperation, manage differences and achieve healthy, stable and sustainable development of our bilateral economic and trade ties,” he said on the sidelines of the annual legislative session of the National People’s Congress.

Zhong, 61, previously served as a ministerial-level international trade representative and vice commerce minister. Before that, he was a deputy governor of exporting powerhouse Zhejiang province and worked under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the then-party chief.

— With assistance by Miao Han

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