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Ina U.S.-China trade war, who has more to lose?


By Heather Long

作者:Heather Long

China imposed tariffs on 128 U.S.goods on April 2. The move is retaliation for tariffs President Trump announcedon Chinese aluminum and steel. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)


As the U.S.-China trade spat getsuglier, people in both countries are asking: Who has more to lose? And how doesthis end?


China has more to lose economically inan all-out trade war. The Chinese economy is dependent on exports, and nearly20 percent of its exports go to the United States. It sold $506 billion instuff and services to the United States last year. In contrast, the UnitedStates sold $130 billion to the Chinese.


“In a serious economic battle, the U.S. wins. There is noquestion about it,” said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar atthe American Enterprise Institute who has helped advise the administration onChina.

美国企业研究所常驻学者——史剑道表示“如果会爆发一场激烈的经济战,毫无疑问,美国将会成为赢家?!?br />
But this isn't just an economic fight, it's also political, andthere’s a strong case that President Trump would be less able tosustain a protracted conflict than the Chinese — especially with the 2018midterm elections coming.


Chinese President Xi Jinping runs a communist country that hasjust granted him theability to rule for life. He controls themedia in his country and is also sitting on top of about $3 trillion in surpluscash.


All of this means Xi can react quickly to Trump. He caneven aid Chinese companies that get hurt in the coming months andsubsidize soybean prices so Chinese consumers don't face massive sticker shockat the store. The Chinese used similar tactics during the global financialcrisis of 2008 and 2009, spending heavily from their surplus reserves to stimulatetheir economy and insulate their people from pain. The Chinese cashreserves are not as large now, but they still have more than the United Stateshas.


In2018, “China can withstand much more than the U.S.”


Trump doesn't have it so easy. He's already getting phone callsfrom Republican lawmakers who are angry at what he's doing with the tariffs. OnThursday evening, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska accused the president ofhaving "no actual plan to win right now"and "threatening to light American agriculture on fire."

特朗普想要赢得和中国的贸易战可没这么容易。他的手机早已被共和党议员打爆了,这些议员对特朗普的关税政策表达了异常的愤怒。周四晚上,内布拉斯加州的共和党参议员本·萨斯指责特朗普,说“特朗普根本无法提供速胜的计划,而他这一玩火行为要把美国农业都给烧了?!?br />
Trump faces backlash from Wall Street, fromexecutives of companies such as Boeing and from soybeanfarmers in the Midwest, many of whom votedfor Trump and feel betrayed. Some GOP leaders fear Trump's actionscould costthe party seats in the 2018 midtermelections.


“Within the next 12 months, China can withstand much more thanthe U.S. can withstand,” said Evan Medeiros, managing director atthe Eurasia Group and a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama onAsia. “The Chinese aren't constrained by the rule of law or a representativedemocracy.”

欧亚集团董事总经理、前奥巴马政府亚洲事务最高顾问麦艾文说“在未来一年中,中国可以比美国承受更多的损失,因为中国可不会受到代议民主制的限制?!?br />
While much of the focus so far has been on tariffs — Trump hasthreatened to put tariffs on about $150 billion worth of Chinese goods andservices, and China has respondedso far with threats of tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. goods — China has more levers it can pull to punish the UnitedStates.


The Chinese could stop cooperating on North Korea, theycould sell some U.S. debt to roil markets and they could make life harderfor U.S. companies operating in China, such as Nike, Disney or Apple.These Chinese actions are seen as unlikely, especially selling U.S. Treasurys.For the Trump administration, corresponding moves aren't even on the table,as the U.S. government doesn't have as much direct control over companiesoperating within its borders.


Trump is in a tricky situation. He has long argued theU.S. isalready in a trade war with China and that the U.S. has been getting attackedfor years. He appears ready for a fight. As his press secretary SarahHuckabee Sanders said Wednesday, "We may have a little bit ofshort-term pain, but we're certainly going to have long-term success."

更糟的是,特朗普在国内正面临另外一个棘手的局面。他一直在美国称,美国早已和中国开启贸易战了,而且美国已经被攻击多年。似乎,他已经为贸易战准备好了。新闻发言人萨拉·赫卡比·桑德斯周四称:“我们可能会在遭受短期的阵痛,但最终我们一定会获得胜利?!?br />
He is also feeling confident after his administration renegotiatedthe South Korean free-trade deal togive U.S. automakers greater access to that market. But South Korea is theworld's No. 11 economy, and the country depends on the United States formilitary aid. China is the No. 2 economy, and it does not feel the same degreeof pressure to give in to Trump.


Domestically, Chinese politicians face pressure to project theircountry as a world power, making rolling over for a bellicose U.S. president awildly unpopular proposal.


“There is no way on earth China can be seen to be kowtowing tothe U.S. on this. Xi cannot say: All right, Trump threatened us, so we'dbetter give in,” said Phil Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council onGlobal Affairs.

芝加哥全球事务委员会高级研究员——菲尔·列维表示“在贸易战这方面,中国无论如何都不会向美国屈服”。中国国家主席不可能说“好吧,既然特朗普威胁了我们,我们就投降吧?!?br />