Opposing trade bullying, committing to equal and mutually-beneficial cooperation

Dr Zhao Yanbo, Chinese Ambassador PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Dr Zhao Yanbo, Chinese Ambassador PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Since the US administration first announced extensive additional tariffs on goods from China, the economic and trade friction between the two countries has lasted for over a year now and caused global concern.

Recently, I have read some reports by Botswana media, expressing worries about the impact that the friction may have on Botswana’s economy.

In fact, the US trade bullying has not only harmed its own and China’s economy but also hindered the recovery of the global economy. I firmly believe that cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit is the right way to go.

As is known to all, there is no winner in a trade war. Trade bullying practised by the US goes against the trend of the times and is doomed to fail.

First, the US moves are undermining the authority of the multilateral trading system. The US has launched a series of unilateral investigations, including those under Sections 201, 232 and 301, and imposed tariff measures. These are a serious breach of the most fundamental and central WTO rules, including most-favoured-nation treatment and tariff binding. Such unilateralist and protectionist actions have harmed the interests of China and other WTO members. More importantly, they have undermined the authority of the WTO and its dispute settlement system, and exposed the multilateral trading system and international trade order to peril.

Second, the US moves threaten global economic growth. With the shadow of the international financial crisis still lingering over the global economy, the US government has escalated economic and trade friction and hiked additional tariffs, provoking corresponding measures by the countries involved. This disrupts global economic and trade order, dampens world economic recovery, and undermines the development of companies and the well-being of people in all countries, plunging the world economy into the “recession trap”.

Third, the US moves disrupt global industrial and supply chains. China and the US are both key links in global industrial and supply chains. Given the large volume of intermediary goods and components from other countries in Chinese end-products exported to the US, US tariff hikes will hurt all the multinationals – not least those from the US – that work with Chinese companies.

The tariff measures artificially drive up the costs of supply chains, and undermine their stability and security. As a result, some businesses are forced to readjust their global supply chains at the expense of optimal resource allocation.


China has upheld a consistent and clear position on the issue of China-US economic and trade friction. China does not want a trade war, but is not afraid of one and will fight one when it comes.

China is firm in observing and upholding the WTO rules, supports an open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system and opposes unilateralism and protectionism. As the two largest economies in the world, it is in the best interests of both countries and the expectations of the world that China and the US manage economic and trade differences properly through dialogue and consultation, foster a new China-US economic and trade order that is balanced, inclusive and mutually beneficial and jointly maintain global economic stability and prosperity. To this end, the Chinese government has engaged the US in several rounds of high-level consultations with the greatest patience and sincerity, making vigorous efforts to stabilise bilateral economic and trade relations.

Regrettably, the US has been pursuing unilateralism and trade bullying with a rather narrow focus on “America First”. Since it provoked the friction, the US administration has not only hiked extensive additional tariffs on Chinese exports but also imposed “long-arm jurisdiction” and sanctions against Huawei and other Chinese companies on the fabricated basis of national security. These unscrupulous practices will not make America great again but cause greater damage to China-US economic and trade relations and make the prospects of world economic recovery even more worrying.


Faced with the unpredictability brought about by the US trade bullying, it is imperative to uphold open cooperation on equality and mutual benefit.

The current world is on an irreversible trend of economic globalisation, with peace and development deep rooted in our heart. China consistently observes and maintains the rules and regulations of World Trade Organisation. China follows the path of open connectivity and mutual benefit with a goal of building an open world economy and a community with shared future for mankind. It is the shared need for China and Africa to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation so as to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) serves as a well-developed mechanism for China and Africa to align development strategies and build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) leads international cooperation and provides driving forces for the development of an open world economy.

Both FOCAC and BRI are important platforms and effective means for us to overcome the current difficulties. And I am full of hope for the bright future they will lead us to.

Last September, H.E. President Mokgweetsi Masisi paid a successful state visit to China and attended the FOCAC Beijing Summit. During this visit, the two governments signed a series of agreements on bilateral cooperation, and China-Botswana practical cooperation has since entered the fast lane.

In the coming 15 years, China’s import of goods and services are estimated to exceed $30 trillion and $10 trillion respectively, and China’s outbound investment will reach $2 trillion.

Botswana beef and other quality products are expected to contribute to new growth of our bilateral trade. Botswana’s sound business environment will attract more Chinese investors. As the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park become more popular amongst Chinese tourists, China-Botswana tourism cooperation will be further strengthened. In addition, we will also expand mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation in such areas as agriculture, infrastructure and clean energy so as to achieve common development and bring real benefits to the two peoples.

The sky is the limit for China-Africa and China-Botswana cooperation. As the FOCAC Beijing Summit followup coordinator’s meeting and China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo are about to be held in China late June this year, China-Africa and China-Botswana cooperation will be lifted to the next level. Within the framework of FOCAC and BRI, China will work with Botswana to enhance trade and investment cooperation and intensify exchanges in all areas so as to bring our bilateral relations to a new high, meanwhile maintaining the international fairness and justice and safeguarding the common interests of developing countries to sail through the current uncertainty.

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