San Francisco: Chinese and U.S. officials and leaders of grassroots organizations are hoping that China and the United States will work together to overcome their differences and build a bilateral relationship that is functional, mutually beneficial and politically stable, despite an escalated trade spat.
Hundreds of Chinese and U.S. government officials, Californian lawmakers, advocates of grassroots organizations, scholars, entrepreneurs and business leaders have reached the consensus at the U.S.-China Relationship Summit held Saturday in the Bay Area.
At the one-day summit, hosted by Florence Fang Family Foundation, the attendees not only reviewed the past successes of the two countries’ cooperation, but also discussed the present and future of the China-U.S. ties.David Firestein, a former U.S. diplomat, criticized the U.S. administration for risking U.S.-China relations.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets contained “dangerous” elements for the country, said Firestein, who is also president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations.
He accused the Trump administration of “retreating from principles of limited government, of free trade and of globalization.”
“We face a very profound challenge in this country,” he said, noting that Washington is “going dangerously off course in our handling of the most important bilateral relationship that exists in the world today.”
“It’s also a huge departure from all previous past practice,” Firestein added.
Moreover, the steep tariffs Washington imposed on Chinese imports worth hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars are hurting American consumers, said Firestein. “Actually Americans are paying the tariffs,” he said.
U.S. manufacturers who produce products that incorporate Chinese parts and components are seeing higher costs, said Sean Randolph, senior director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that U.S. tariffs already in place are costing 830 dollars per U.S. household annually, which will rise to 1,030 dollars when the new tariffs are imposed, Randolph said.
Firestein also noted that Trump’s tweets about asking American companies to “find alternatives to
China” is something that is “not going to happen under any circumstances.”Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Wang Donghua said China and the United States have made great advances in promoting the bilateral relations and delivering enormous benefits to the two peoples.
Enormous changes have taken place in both countries and around the world over the last 40 years, and both countries now have a lot more common interests than four decades ago, he said.
While China and the United States are having a challenging time as a result of the escalation of their trade dispute, he said, such tensions are hurting seriously the interests of both peoples.He underlined the need to end the tariffs or trade war, and build more mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.
“What have been achieved over the last four decades shows that China and the United States are important partners, rather than strategic adversaries,” he said, adding that their cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature, rather than a zero-sum game.
California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis expressed optimism about the future of the U.S.-China ties. “I think the future remains bright thanks to the enduring strength of the relationships we have all built together.”
Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland city in Northern California last month just returned from what she
called “an incredible trip” to China, including a visit to Dalian City in northeast China, with which Oakland has maintained a sister-city-hood for 37 years.
Schaaf said she saw much hope and many opportunities in the U.S.-China relations in education, economic development, trade, innovation and climate change.
Firestein said Trump’s policy is creating problems at the government level with regard to the U.S.-China relations.
He said sub-national organizations can help the current difficult U.S.-China relations, noting that “change will not come if we wait for some other persons or some other time.”
“Sub-national entities such as the Florence Fang Family Foundation, the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, the Bay Area Council and a myriad of organizations in California, Texas and across the nation now have to step up and do our best to mitigate the damage
that is being done through poor policy executed at the federal level,” he said.
Kounalakis believes that people-to-people contacts are the foundations on which the U.S.-China relations are built. “That is why the summit like this is so incredibly important,” she said.Florence Fang, chair of the summit, said 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the China-U.S.
diplomatic relations, and the bilateral ties have been growing on the whole, despite some twists and turns.
This summit aims to contribute to the long-term friendship and mutual understanding between Chinese and U.S. people, she said.