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Trump expected to ease China trade stance

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Trevor Chappell

US President-elect Donald Trump may take a more measured approach towards trade with Asia when he takes office rather than start a trade war, say Chinese business leaders.

The chairman of the China's sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, told the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday that Mr Trump may not follow through on some of the policies that he trumpeted during the election race, such as imposing tariffs of up to 43 per cent on goods coming into the US from China.

Ding Xueding said Mr Trump would likely be able to implement some of his programs, such as cutting taxes and increasing investment in infrastructure to stimulate the US economy.

"But if he's going to increase tariffs to stop entering the United States and begin a trade war, then I believe it is against the globalisation trend," Mr Ding said through an interpreter.

"And I believe that Mr Trump will be very careful in considering whether to put these (tariff measures) in place, because these measures may not be effective, and it's not beneficial to the United States.

"I believe that when he is in office, he will consider more about global trade and also the benefit of the United States in global trade."

The former chairman of China Eximbank, Li Ruogu, said that to contend the US presidency was one thing, but to be the US president was another.

Mr Li also said Mr Trump was unlikely to implement all of the policies he spoke of during the election campaign.

"I don't think he can stop trade with other countries," Mr Li said.

The vice-chairman of the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, Zhang Dawei, said Mr Trump was a pragmatic man, and to lead the US, Mr Trump also had to lead the world

"During his campaign, he (Mr trump) said a lot of things - we must not take it very seriously," Mr Zhang said.

"When he becomes the president of America, he will become mature and he will learn."

Australia's former ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, said it would be difficult for Mr Trump to overcome rules set by the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Raby said that if Mr Trump sought to impose steep tariffs on Chinese goods he would be in breach of US obligations to the WTO.

"The last thing he (Mr Trump) would want to do is lose a case of that magnitude in the WTO," Mr Raby said.

"Equally, the US corporate sector will not want that to happen either. The US corporate sector is so deeply integrated with China, that none of this is going to happen."

But Mr Raby said China needed to look at its own trading policies, particularly its attitude towards foreign direct investment in China.

"As Trump and others have said: it (current trade with China) is not a two-way street - it's largely a one-way street."

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