The GCR 11th Seminar: Challenges of the U.S.-China Trade Relationship(二十一世紀中美經貿關係的變局、挑戰和應對)

By Prof. Liugang Sheng | 12 July 2018 | The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Co-organized with the HKIAPS, the 11th Global China Research Programme Working Seminar was held on July 12, 2018. Prof. Travis Ng, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, moderated the seminar.


Prof. Sheng received his PhD in economics from the University of California, Davis. He is the Director of the Trade and Development Programme of the Economic Research Centre of the HKIAPS. Prof. Sheng’s research interests cover the fields of international trade, international macroeconomics, and economic development. His papers have been published in (or accepted by) many reputable international and Chinese journals, such as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Pacific Economic Review, China Economic Quarterly, and Law and Social Sciences.


In the Seminar, Prof. Sheng first explained how the U.S.-China trade relationship has developed over the past 20 years. He gave three reasons to explain the occurrence of the U.S.-China trade war: the rise of China’s economy, the stimulation of globalization on inequality, and the acceleration of American populism in the post-financial crisis era. This is proved by the increasing proportion of China’s GDP over that of the US, from around 5% in 1991 to around 65% in 2017. Since 2012, the amount of China’s trade has been ahead of that of the U.S, and China has largely invested in research and development to enhance its technology.


After providing the background of the U.S.-China trade war, Prof. Sheng quantified the influence of the trade war on both countries. As the U.S. president Donald Trump approved US$50 billion tariffs on Chinese goods, Prof. Sheng estimated that on China’s side, by industry, manufacturers of electronic appliances will suffer the largest part of the loss. By region, Jiangsu Province will suffer the most. For the U.S., oil seeds and oleaginous fruits manufacturers and the State of Louisiana will be the major victims in the trade war. He recommends that China and the U.S. should explore establishing a strategic competitive relationship. Protecting intellectual property and autonomous technological innovation are essential to maintain the competitiveness of manufacturing. Fifty-one scholars, researchers, and students attended the Seminar.