“Stabilising agents in the world”

A Chinese perspective about the role of China, the US and the EU in international trade

Jianzhang Luan, Director General, Research Office, International Department, Communist Party of China

Körber-Stiftung: Will China become a more important partner for Germany in preserving a rules-based global order and free trade in the future?

Luan: China and Germany are both beneficiaries and guardians of the multilateral trading system. In the fifth round of the China-Germany inter-governmental consultation, we sent out positive signals to support multilateralism and free trade. When trade protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise, it is imperative for China and Germany to strengthen cooperation and act as stabilising agents in the world.

Körber-Stiftung: What can the EU and China do together to improve the global trade system?

Luan: First, China and the EU should work together for positive outcomes at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Second, we should better coordinate improvements to the multilateral trading system. Third, we should deepen economic cooperation, for instance, through facilitating the alignment of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the EU’s development strategy in order to inject new vigour into global trade. We are committed to complying with WTO rules, and to cooperating on the reform of the WTO.

Körber-Stiftung: Do you expect tensions between China and the US to escalate or de-escalate?

Luan: It depends on how much sincerity the relevant parties are willing to show. China does not want a trade war and has done its utmost to avoid one. Certain countries have put their own interest first and jeopardized the interests of their trading partners. They have even gone back on their own words in negotiations and showed no sincerity in resolving problems. We should not allow trade frictions to escalate or transform into political issues. In the long term, I am optimistic. The majority of countries are resolutely safeguarding the existing multilateral trade regime. We should reform the system, together with all parties.