2016 Nov 14, 6:39am
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Less than a week after the election results, China is already making sure Donald Trump knows what is at stake if he fulfills his campaign promises.
On Sunday, an editorial published in Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, threatened that China would adopt a tit-for-tat approach if Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on imports from the country like he promised. Trump has also said he would name the country a currency manipulator on his first day in office, something the piece said would cause China's reputation to be affected and the trade atmosphere between China and the U.S. to become more tense
Examples of the revenge the Chinese government will take were also provided. Instead of placing orders from the American firm Boeing (BA), China will support France's Airbus. U.S. auto and Apple (AAPL) iPhone sales in China will fall. China will also limit the number of its students studying in the U.S.. China accounts for 31% of foreign students studying in the U.S., making it by far the biggest source. (See also, How Will Trump's Policies on China Impact U.S. Business?)
But there will probably be no need for these harsh measures, according to the Chinese government. The editorial says, "Trump cannot change the pattern of interests between China and the U.S. The gigantic China-U.S. trade is based on mutual benefits and a win-win situation. Even as president, Trump can exert limited influence on it."
China was the U.S.'s third largest goods export market in 2015. The top export categories were aircraft ($15 billion), electrical machinery ($13 billion), machinery ($12 billion), miscellaneous grain, seeds, fruit (soybeans) ($11 billion), and vehicles ($11 billion).
Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz had warned of the effects a U.S.-China trade war would have on the American working class. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said, "..the probability is that there would be more jobs destroyed than would be created. The net effect on employment would be negative. I think the U.S. would find itself the big loser." (See also, Economist Joseph Stiglitz Would Give Trump an "F" on Economics)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump spoke over the phone in the early hours of Monday morning. According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, "Trump said he agreed about U.S.-China relations. He hopes for mutual benefits and win-win results. Trump also expressed willingness to strengthen ties.The two agreed to maintain close contact and build a good working relationship."
A statement released by Trump's presidential transition office said, "During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward."
China will also seek support for a Asia-Pacific trade deal at a regional summit in Peru later this month. China was left out of the doomed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, and this is seen as an opportunity for the country to create a rival trade pact.