A: My answer is the same as yesterday. The heads of state of China and the United States have maintained contact in various ways. As for the specific questions you asked, I have no information to offer at present.
Q: China has released news that Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress, will pay an official friendly visit to Norway, Austria and Hungary from May 15 to 24. Since this year, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have all visited Europe for the first time, and Chairman Li Zhanshu has also chosen Europe for his first visit. Why does Chinese diplomacy attach so much importance to European orientation this year? Or is it just a coincidence?
A: Thank you for your close attention to Chinas diplomacy. Indeed, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu have all chosen Europe for their first visits this year. I think this fully reflects the great importance China attaches to the European orientation in diplomacy, and also reflects the current close interaction between China and Europe and the rising momentum of cooperation between the two sides.
As two major forces, two markets and two civilizations in the world, the stability, mutual benefit and strategy of China-EU relations have been rising in recent years, and the common interests, common positions and common goals of China-EU relations have also increased. Both China and Europe support multilateralism, uphold the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, support the construction of an open world economy, support a rule-based multilateral trading system, and oppose unilateral practices and trade protectionism. This is a strategic choice made by China and Europe in the face of the changing international situation. It is also the historical responsibility of both sides for human society.
Faced with the current complex international situation, China and Europe should further strengthen communication and cooperation, promote new progress in the four major partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization, work together to meet global challenges and provide more stability and positive energy for the world today.
Q: As for the trade war between China and the United States, it seems that the United States intends to impose tariffs on Chinese products in an all-round way. Is China confident of winning the trade war between China and the United States?
A: China has repeatedly stated that tariff imposition will not solve any problems and that launching a trade war will only harm others and harm ourselves. As for trade wars, China does not want to fight, nor does it fear to fight. If someone calls at the door, we will follow him to the end. China will never yield to any external pressure. We have the determination and ability to defend our legitimate and legitimate rights and interests.
You may recall that in April last year, the United States announced for the first time that tariffs were imposed on Chinese imports to the United States. China responded forcefully for the first time. Since then, the United States has repeatedly issued new threats, formally imposing tariff measures on several occasions, and China has immediately resolutely countered them.
Last week, the U.S. threatened to raise tariff rates on Chinas $200 billion U.S. exports from 10% to 25%, causing an uproar in the international community and a sharp reaction in the financial market. At that time, China said that this threat was not the first time for the United States. Chinas position and attitude were very clear, and the United States was also very clear. At the same time, we also call on the United States to change course and move in opposite directions with China in order to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement. The international community generally appreciates Chinas calm, calm and constructive attitude.
Since then, the Chinese team has continued to go to the United States for consultations, showing its utmost sincerity in promoting the resolution of differences through responsible actions. But some people on the US side seem to have misjudged the situation, underestimated Chinas determination and will to defend its rights and interests, and continue to confuse people and ask for prices. Of course, China should definitely reject this and firmly oppose it.
On May 10, the United States officially announced a 25% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese products. Yesterday, the Tariff and Tax Commission of the State Council also announced Chinas relevant measures. This reflects Chinas determination and will to safeguard the multilateral trading system and its legitimate rights and interests.
China has always remained calm and calm about the capricious and extreme pressure exerted by the US side. We urge the United States to take a look at the response of the international community, listen to the voices of people from all walks of life, calculate the gains and losses of its own interests, recognize the situation as soon as possible, return to the right track, and move in opposite directions with China in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect.
Q: It is reported that US President Trump tweeted that with 95% of the economic and trade negotiations between China and the United States completed, China has withdrawn some of its commitments. Some commentators said that the underlying meaning of the remarks made by the US side was that the Chinese side had retreated in the negotiations, which led to setbacks in the current negotiations. What is Chinas comment on this?
A: Last week, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce of China responded to similar questions. Let me explain a few more sentences here.
First, the consultation itself is the process of discussion. In the process of discussion, it is perfectly normal for the two sides to have differences and disagreements. It is precisely because of differences that we should continue our consultations. Why violate the promise when the consultation is not over and the agreement has not been reached?
Secondly, looking at the eleventh round of Sino-US economic and trade negotiations, we can see clearly who is on the ups and downs and who is on the ups and downs. Last May, China and the United States reached consensus on economic and trade issues and issued a joint statement in Washington. But a few days later, the United States violated the consensus between the two sides. In December last year, China and the United States reached a consensus on Chinas trade procurement figures with the United States, but the United States arbitrarily raised the price in subsequent negotiations. Therefore, the cap of retrogression and breach of promise can never be put on the head of China.
Third, reaching an agreement requires the joint efforts of both sides. China has always kept its promise and demonstrated its utmost sincerity and goodwill in the consultations. We hope that the US side will go hand in hand with China and strive to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect, equal treatment and good faith.
Q: My two questions are about Sino-US trade. First, the United States Government said that the United States would initiate the process of imposing tariffs on some 300 billion US dollars of Chinese imports to the United States. Does China plan to take new counter-measures against this? Second, could you introduce the arrangements for the next round of economic and trade consultation between the two sides?
A: I have just responded to the US threat to impose tariffs on more than $300 billion of Chinese imports to the United States. We hope that the US side will not misjudge the situation and underestimate Chinas determination and will to safeguard its own rights and interests. Previous experience has proved that for trade wars, China does not want to fight, does not want to fight, but is never afraid to fight. If someone calls at the door, well stay with him until the end.
On your second question, I suggest you ask the competent authorities about the specific arrangements for the Sino-US consultation.
Q: It is reported that if China and the United States do not reach an agreement, China will suffer serious damage because foreign enterprises will be forced to leave China for other countries. Does China agree with the American statement? Are you worried about this?
A: The United States need not worry about China.
Over the past 40 years since Chinas reform and opening up, great achievements have been made in economic and social development. The environment for foreign investment and business in China has been continuously improved. China has become one of the most popular investment destinations for enterprises all over the world for many years.
I have some latest data here: The World Bank Business Environment Report 2019 shows that Chinas business environment ranking has increased by 32 places. According to the China Business Environment Survey of 2019 released by the American Chamber of Commerce of China, nearly 80% of the enterprises surveyed said that the investment environment in China was improving or remained unchanged; 62% of the enterprises regarded China as the first or the top three investment destinations in the world. According to statistics from relevant Chinese departments, more than 60,000 new foreign-funded enterprises were set up in China in 2018, an increase of 69.8%.
Particularly noteworthy is that in September last year, ExxonMobil, the largest U.S. oil company, decided to build a large-scale sole-proprietorship petrochemical project in China under the constant threat of tariffs imposed by the U.S. side on Chinese products in the past year. In January this year, Tesla, an American company, formally started construction of its first overseas factory in Shanghai.
When an enterprise chooses which country to invest in and operate business and who to choose as a partner, it will naturally make business decisions based on its own interests and market principles, not on one or two sentences. Chinas business environment is not good, whether it can make money in China, foreign enterprises, including American enterprises, have shown their attitude with action and voted with their feet.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that China welcomes foreign enterprises to increase their investment in China, and we will continue to make efforts to create a more stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment for foreign investors. President Xi Jinping announced at the opening ceremony of the second one belt and one way International Cooperation summit forum that China will take a series of major reform and opening measures to promote a higher level of opening to the outside world. We will further expand market access for foreign investment, increase imports of goods and services, and attach importance to the implementation of the policy of opening to the outside world. It is believed that this will provide new opportunities for enterprises all over the world to invest and do business in China, and will also make new contributions to safeguarding the free trade system and promoting the growth of world trade.
Q: Some Chinese media leaders said in the social media that, as a countermeasure, China should stop buying American agricultural products, energy, Boeing aircraft and drastically reduce US trade in services with China. In addition, Chinese scholars are also discussing the possibility of selling US Treasury bonds and specific operational issues. Does this reflect the views of the Chinese government?
A: Such questions are often raised at press conferences of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You should be clear about our principled position. We generally do not respond specifically to the opinions or comments of experts, scholars and media think tanks.
I just want to point out here that for trade wars, China does not want to fight, does not want to fight, but it is not afraid to fight. China has the determination and ability to safeguard its legitimate and legitimate rights and interests. We urge the US side to recognize the situation clearly, return to the right track, go hand in hand with China, and strive to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect, equality and good faith.
Q: According to the comments of the US side on tariff imposition and your reply today, can we say that the Sino-US economic and trade negotiations have entered a dead end or reached a deadlock?
A: After the eleventh round of consultations, China has introduced relevant information to the outside world. It is my understanding that China and the United States have agreed to continue their consultations. As for how to proceed, I think it depends on the next step of consultation between the two sides. As for the specific arrangements, I suggest you ask the competent authorities.
Q: Do you need to respond to or explain Wang Yang, Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, on his speech to Taiwan media on May 10 at the Fourth Beijing Summit of Media Persons on both sides of the Taiwan Strait?
A: Are you referring to diplomatic issues? (Journalist laughs)
If its not a diplomatic issue, I suggest you ask the National Taiwan Office.