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Why China Is Winning the Trade War

为什么中国正在赢得贸易战争?



An  acquaintanceof mine, an economist with decades of experience in Washington and on WallStreet, recently visited Beijing, where he met with a top Chinese official.Given how the trade talks between the Trump Administration and Chinesenegotiators have unfolded in the past couple of weeks, the meeting turned outto be prophetic.

最近一位曾经在华盛顿和华尔街工作了几十年的经济学家去北京访问。他在北京与一位中国高级官员进行了会面。考虑到过去几周,特朗普政府与中国谈判代表刚展开了贸易谈判,这次会面显得很有先见之明。

The Chinese official said he viewed the Trump Presidencynot as an aberration but as the product of a failing political system. Thisjibes with other accounts. The Chinese leadership believes that the UnitedStates, and Western democracies in general, haven’t risen to the challenge of aglobalized economy, which necessitates big changes in production patterns, aswell as major upgrades in education and public infrastructure. In Trump andTrumpism, the Chinese see an inevitable backlash to this failure.

这位中国官员表示,中国对特朗普当选总统并不感到意外,这是美国政治体系衰退的必然产物。这与另一种说法基本一致。中国领导层认为,美国以及西方民主国家无法应对经济全球化。经济全球化要求生产模式大变革,教育和公共基础设施升级。而中国人从特朗普和特朗普主义上看到了美国无法面对这种失败,必然负隅顽抗。

The Chinese official also predicted that his governmentwould show some flexibility in trade talks. Having monitored Trump’s riseclosely, the Chinese fully expected a confrontation after he was elected, andthey were willing to make some concessions to meet concerns about the hugeU.S.-China trade deficit. Indeed, they agree with U.S. analysts who say thatthe Chinese economy, having experienced three decades of rapidindustrialization and massive capital investments, needs to be rebalancedtoward domestic consumption.

这位中国官员还预测,特朗普政府会在贸易谈判中表现出一定的灵活性。中国一直在密切关注特朗普。特朗普当选美国总统后,中美两国将出现对抗,对此中国人早有心理准备。中国愿意在中美贸易逆差方面做出一些让步。中国认同一些美国分析人士的观点:三十年的快速工业化和大规模的资金投资,中国经济需要转向国内消费寻找新的平衡。

The official emphasized, however, that the Chinesegovernment was not willing to compromise its other core economic strategy,which involves upgrading its now vast industrial sector, moving up theeconomic-value chain, and creating a major Chinese presence both inforeign countries and in the industries of the future, such as robotics,biotech, and clean-energy transportation. This policy is encapsulated in the“Made in China 2025” strategy document that China’s StateCouncil released in 2015. To many members of the Trump Administration,particularly Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade representative, and PeterNavarro, a White House economic adviser, this document provides official coverfor discrimination against U.S. firms in the Chinese market, the theft of U.S.intellectual property, and the misuse of industrial and antitrust policies tofavor Chinese firms.

不过这位官员也强调,中国政府在核心经济问题上不会妥协,其中包括大规模工业产业升级、产品经济价值链提升、以及加强其他国家的经济参与度、确立中国在新兴产业中的地位,如机器人技术、生物技术、清洁能源交通工具等。中国国务院2015年发布的“中国制造2025”战略明确提到了上述政策。许多特朗普政府官员,尤其是美国贸易代表罗伯特•莱泰泽和美国贸易代表以及白宫经济顾问彼得•纳瓦罗认为,这份文件在为中国市场歧视美国企业、剽窃美国知识产权做官方掩护,为了维护中国企业滥用产业政策和反垄断法。

Finally, the Chinese official expressed frustration thatU.S. policymakers didn’t spend as much time studying China and its history asthe Chinese spent studying the United States. Many senior Chinese officials,particularly the younger ones, speak English and have spent time studying inthe West. How many American officials speak Mandarin? the Chinese officialasked gently. How many of them could hold a conversation about Chineseliterature or film?

这位中国官员对美国政策制定者没有花费大量时间研究中国和中国历史表示失望,中国在研究美国方面可是花了大力气。许多中国高级官员,尤其是年轻官员,会说英语甚至在西方学习过。但是有多少美国官员会说普通话呢?中国官员轻轻地问道。又有多少美国官员会谈论中国文学或中国电影呢?

At the State Department and other U.S. agencies, thereare plenty of China experts. But these people aren’t driving U.S. trade policy,and the Chinese official’s larger point still holds true. Indealing with the United States, China knows what it wants, it has clearlydelineated its own red lines, and it has studied its opponent closely. TheTrump Administration is confused about its ultimate goals, its red lines keepshifting, and its top negotiator—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—seems to beout of his depth. On top of this, American negotiators are subject to the whimsof a mercurial leader, whose leverage has diminished in advance of his summitwith the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. The result is a fiasco.

美国国务院和其他机构有很多中国专家。但是这些专家并没有推动美国的贸易政策,这位官员大部分的观点都是成立的。在与美国打交道时,中国清楚地知道自己想要什么,画出红线,认真研究对手。特朗普政府自己都搞不清自己的最终目标是什么,红线不断改变,而美国首席谈判代表、财政部长姆努钦已经力不从心。最重要的是,美国谈判代表受制于反复无常的领导人。在与朝鲜领导人金正恩举行峰会之前,特朗普的影响力已经减弱。会见结果也必然是惨败。

Lighthizer and Navarro are certainly knowledgeable about Chinese mercantilism, and theyhave strong views about how to confront it. In March, Lighthizer’s officereleased a long report detailing China’s suspect trade practices. At the sametime, Trump announced that if China didn’t change its ways his Administrationwould impose tariffs of sixty billion dollars on Chinese imports. Subsequently,he raised the figure to a hundred and fifty billion dollars.

莱特希泽(广场协议的推动者——罗伯特莱特希泽)和纳瓦罗(最危险的对华鹰派)完全了解中国的重商主义,在如何应对中国的问题上态度强硬。今年3月,莱特希泽办公室发布了一份长篇报告,报告详细介绍了中国可疑的贸易行为。与此同时,特朗普宣布,如果中国不做出改变,美国政府将对进口中国商品征收600亿美元的关税。随后这个数字又提高到1500亿美元。

Over the weekend, however, following talks in Beijingand Washington, Mnuchin announced the suspension of these tariffs, saying, “Weare putting the trade war on hold.” This followed a remarkable interventionfrom Trump a week earlier, in which he abruptly instructed the CommerceDepartment to reverse its decision to ban a big Chinese telecommunicationscorporation, ZTE, from purchasing American-made technology components. (Thecompany had pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and NorthKorea.)

然而,上周末北京和华盛顿举行会谈后,斯蒂芬•姆努钦(美国新财长)宣布暂停征收关税,并表示,“我们暂停了贸易战。”一周前,特朗普强力干预,突然要求商务部收回禁止中兴购买美国制造部件的禁令。(该公司承认违反了美国对伊朗和朝鲜的制裁。)

For its part, China has announced the suspension of itsretaliatory tariffs, which cleverly singled out the products of Republicanfarm states. As yet, though, it hasn’t announced any otherconcessions. Trump, on Twitter, suggested that the Chinese have “agreed to buymassive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products.” At least for now, heappears to have dropped, or tempered, his demands for big, structural changesin how China treats domestic and foreign companies.

中国也宣布暂停征收报复性关税,中国巧妙地选择了共和党农场州的农产品作为报复性关税的征收对象。不过到目前为止,中国没有宣布任何其他让步措施。特朗普在推特上表示,中国已“同意购买大量额外农产品”。之前特朗普要求中国对其国内外企业做出重大结构性改造,不过目前看来,特朗普已经放弃或者缓和了这种要求。

As confusion reigns, internal recriminations have begun.The rival factions in the Trump trade team are squabbling bitterly. On CapitolHill, a number of Republicans, led by Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, havejoined Democrats in signing a letter criticizing Trump’s effort to ease the restrictionsagainst ZTE. Reflecting fears that the Administration might be about to makefurther concessions on the sale of sensitive technologies to the Chinese, thebipartisan letter also warns that “any such move would bolster China’saggressive military modernization and significantly undermine long-term U.S.national security interests.”
由于局面的混乱,美国政府内部已经开始相互指责。特朗普贸易团队中的反对派与团队爆发激烈争吵。在国会山,以德克萨斯州参议员约翰•科宁为首的共和党人与民主党人一起签署了一封公开信,信中对特朗普放松对中兴通讯的禁令进行了抨击。由于担心特朗普政府可能会在向中国出售敏感技术方面做出进一步,这封由两党共同发表的信还警告:“任何这类行动都将强化中国积极的军事现代化进程,并严重损害美国的长期国家安全利益。”

Somewhere in Beijing, a senior Chinese official isprobably smiling.

在北京的某个地方,一位中国高级官员可能正在偷笑。