Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 21, 2019
Q: US President Donald Trump recently said in an interview that considering China's previous trade practices, any agreement with China cannot be a "50-50" deal and had to be more in favor of the US side. What's your comment?
A: I'm no expert in trade, but I think it's necessary to make a distinction between "reciprocity" and "equal benefits". These are two different things in trade relations.
It is only unrealistic to pursue strictly reciprocal openness in trade practices. The fact is, economic globalization by nature is a process where countries leverage their respective strengths and each supplies what the others need. Here is a case in point: China's tariff rate on unshelled peanuts stood at 15 percent while that of the US was 163.8 percent in 2017. Could we simply say the US gained extra advantage?
Reciprocity and mutual benefit in trade refer to the overall reciprocity and balance of interests in the open markets of all industries. The simplistic view that the US is "ripped off" in its trade with China is unscientific and unprofessional. Therefore, when negotiating a trade agreement, one cannot ask for equal benefits in every field. Rather, the agreement must be two-way, balanced and based on equality and mutual benefits.
Q: Yesterday Italian Deputy Prime Minister Salvini said that Italians must retain control of sensitive data such as personal finances or health conditions, and prevent what he said "an undemocratic country like China" from gaining access. Is the Chinese government upset with his comments?
A: First of all, I have to point out that it is in itself not democratic at all to define which country is democratic and which is not simply by one's own standards.
China and Italy have carried out a lot of friendly cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit in recent years. You may also have seen that in fact the cooperation between the two sides has been deepening and brought tangible benefits to the two peoples.
As to the doubts certain individual in Italy may have over the security of Chinese products, we stated our position on many occasions. The Chinese government asks Chinese businesses to abide by local laws and regulations when investing and operating overseas. In the meantime, we hope all other countries will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses.