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    Will Beijing Come Out on Top in Possible US-Chinese Trade War?

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    US President-elect Donald Trump's election promises to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports and his decision to pick "China hawk" Peter Navarro as head of the newly created White House National Trade Council prompted a heated debate over the possibility of a trade war between Washington and Beijing.

    Donald Trump's election promises to impose high tariffs on Chinese goods and to bring American manufacturing jobs back from China have prompted speculation that the US President-elect is seeking to launch a trade war against Beijing.

    "The possibility of a potential trade war between China and the US after Trump takes office has come under heated discussion," Professor Li Haidong of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University noted in his Sunday op-ed for The Global Times.

    The Chinese academic called attention to the fact that Trump nominated American economist Peter Navarro, a vocal critic of China, as a head of the newly created White House National Trade Council.

    "Given the current policymaking atmosphere in the US as well as Trump's picks of advisers, the US has a strong desire to make a major confrontational policy adjustment in its trade with China in the future. However, it still remains uncertain if the adjustment will directly lead to a trade war," Li underscored.

    However, according to James Wang, a City University of Hong Kong professor, a trade war between Washington and Beijing is a "distinct capability."

    "The balance of power worldwide is much more diffuse compared to the early 20th century, and players like China and India have emerged to create new political centers of gravity," Wang wrote in Pine River China Fund's investor letter as quoted by Bloomberg.

    "However, as economic and political paralyses spread across the developed world, the most likely outcome is a trade war," he stressed.

    Furthermore, Wang argues that Beijing stands a pretty good chance of outstripping the US in this war.

    CNTV Asia-Pacific Commentator Tom McGregor also believes that a trade war between the two geopolitical powers is quite possible.

    In one of his recent interviews with Radio Sputnik McGregor pointed out that Trump is seeking to solve the US' trade deficit problem.

    "Trump is looking for boosting jobs, boosting the economy and he promised on the campaign trail that he was going to fight for those jobs by picking tough trade measures against other countries," McGregor said, adding that Navarro's selection clearly indicates that the US President-elect will reshape the Sino-American trade relations.

    Still, McGregor believes that Beijing will tackle the problem.

    In one of his previous interviews the CNTV commentator noted that the Chinese are "brilliant strategists."

    "Basically, the understanding is that if there is going to be a trade war that China is not going to become more internalized, it will focus more on Chinese consumer spending rather than exports," he told Radio Sputnik.

    "[Saving] face is a very big deal [in China]… So obviously if Trump starts a trade war they have to respond… But it's not a terrible thing because they already have a plan B that even though they may respond and they are likely to respond it's not going to harm them like many people think it will," McGregor stressed.

    The CNTV commentator underscored that what is really important in this respect is that "it's going to be a focus on trade wars, not real wars."

    For his part, Forbes' contributor Michael Boyd throws the possibility of the US-Chinese trade war into question.

    According to Boyd the crux of the matter is that neither the US nor China are interested in unleashing a trade war.

    He drew attention to the fact that the value of exports to the United States represents over one fifth of China's global total.

    "So, the US is important to the Chinese economy. Critically important," he underscored.

    According to Boyd Trump's decision to reconsider America's trade policies is logical given the fact that "over the past 25 years, the American position on trade with China has been unfocused."

    "There truly are imbalances in the relationship — virtually all due to US non-policies," Boyd noted.

    "President-elect Trump has made it clear that he intends to make major changes in how US- China trade is operated… Precisely because the US will take a strong and defined stance on how trade is re-structured, the relationship between the two countries will be stronger in the future," he believes.

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    China trade wars, US foreign policy, balance of power, economy, trade, Peter Navarro, Donald Trump, Asia-Pacific, China, United States, Hong Kong
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