【英语中国】中国力图挤进“贸易俱乐部” China craves invitation to ?join global trade club

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2014-4-5 08:42

小艾摘要: To understand the geopolitics of trade these days just look at the contrasting visits by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to Europe over the past fortnight.The US and Chinese presidents each arrived in Eur ...
China craves invitation to ?join global trade club
To understand the geopolitics of trade these days just look at the contrasting visits by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to Europe over the past fortnight.

The US and Chinese presidents each arrived in Europe pitching trade as the centrepiece of his trip. The two leaders took very different approaches, however.

Mr Obama’s four-day visit took in the Netherlands, Brussels and Rome and included a nuclear summit.

In its wake some EU officials bemoaned the fact that, although both sides had agreed that trade would be at its centre, Mr Obama had mentioned the push for an EU-US trade alliance, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, only when asked about it at a Brussels press conference.

Mr Xi, in contrast, seemed to be on an elaborate grand tour designed to charm the Europeans. Over 11 days he and his wife were feted by presidents, kings and queens. Everywhere he went, Mr Xi called for a “strengthening” of the trade relationship between Europe and China. In Brussels on Monday and again in Bruges on Tuesday, he pressed for an EU commitment to opening negotiations on a wide-ranging trade deal, only to receive a polite rebuff.

The?contrast?was?telling, because it illustrated how hard China is working to close the vast gap between it and the US when it comes to trade policy – and how to translate economic power into a seat at the table where the new rules of global commerce are being drafted.

China last year became the world’s biggest trading nation and, with its place at the centre of global supply chains, it ought to have the most influential voice in world trade. But it does not.

Beijing staked its future on the World Trade Organisation when it joined in 2001 and it has only belatedly realised that, with the WTO’s Doha round stalled, the real action in trade is happening elsewhere. Mr Xi’s visit to Europe was part of its scramble to catch up.

Europeans and US Republicans both complain that Mr Obama does not work hard enough to sell his trade agenda and Democrats in the US Congress are doing their best to block it. Nevertheless, the US is in the driving seat on the three big deals in world trade: the transatlantic negotiations, the talks over a 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership and a push by two dozen economies to rewrite the rules governing the global trade in services.

All of those big three negotiations are really about two things: forging, or strengthening, geopolitical and economic ties at a time of flux; and taking the lead on writing the rules for 21st-century commerce. Importantly, from Beijing’s perspective, China has been left out of all of them.

There are signs of hope for Beijing. Much to the annoyance of Washington, where many remain wary of letting China in, the EU this week endorsed Beijing’s bid to join the services negotiations.

China’s desire to join those talks is at least partly driven by domestic priorities. As it seeks to rebalance its economy away from the export-led model on which it has relied, it needs to develop a more effective services sector. The 1990s accession talks to the WTO gave Beijing a way to sell tough reforms at home. So too could joining the new Trade in Services Alliance.

It is also about not being left out of a global conversation. The economies now taking part in the Tisa negotiations represent some 70 per cent of the current global trade in services. But none of the big emerging players – Brazil, China and India – is included. And China is trying to change that.

In an interview with the Financial Times before Mr Xi’s visit to Brussels, Karel De Gucht, EU trade commissioner, said he had detected a notable shift in China’s attitude towards trade. “The Chinese realise that they have to engage more and more in international trade,” he said. “They realise that they cannot stay outside of the club.”

Laying the groundwork to join that club is at least partly what Mr Xi was up to on his European adventure.

要理解当今世界贸易中的地缘政治学,看看近半个月来美国总统巴拉克?奥巴马(Barack Obama)和中国国家主席习近平对比鲜明的欧洲之行就可以了。

美中最高领导人都把贸易作为欧洲之行的重头戏,但两人的做法大相径庭。

奥巴马访欧用了4天,行程包括荷兰、布鲁塞尔和罗马,并出席了第三届核安全峰会。

奥巴马结束访欧之后,有些欧盟(EU)官员抱怨称,尽管双方都认同贸易是此次访问的核心,但奥巴马仅仅在布鲁塞尔一场记者招待会上被问及《跨大西洋贸易和投资伙伴关系协定》(TTIP)时,才提到了要推进这项美欧贸易联盟。

对比之下,习近平访欧看来是一次旨在向欧洲展示魅力的精心策划之旅。在总共11天的行程中,习近平及其夫人受到了总统、国王和王后们的热情款待。习近平每到一处,便呼吁“强化”中欧贸易关系。周一和周二两天,习近平分别在布鲁塞尔和布鲁日敦促欧盟做出承诺,打开一项广泛贸易协议的谈判大门,结果遭到礼貌回绝。

对比两人的欧洲之行很能说明问题,从中反映出,中国在贸易政策方面要缩小与美国的巨大差距,凭借本身经济实力坐到制定国际新商业规则的谈判桌旁是多么困难。

中国去年成为全球最大贸易国,加上其在全球供应链中的重要地位,按说中国在世界贸易中理应能够发出最具影响力的声音。但实情并非如此。

中国在2001年加入了世贸组织(WTO),于是把自己的未来寄托在该组织上。中国很晚才意识到,随着WTO多哈回合谈判陷入僵局,贸易领域里真正的行动正发生在别处。习近平此次访欧是中国追赶计划的一部分。

欧洲人和美国共和党人都抱怨,奥巴马并未努力推销他的贸易蓝图,美国国会的民主党人则在竭尽所能地阻挠。然而,美国在世界贸易领域的三大谈判中都掌握着控制权。这三大谈判分别是跨大西洋谈判、12国参加的《跨太平洋战略经济伙伴关系协定》(TPP)谈判,以及20多个国家旨在重订全球服务贸易规则的谈判。

这三大谈判其实只有两个主题:在当今瞬息万变的形势下,缔结或加强地缘政治与经济联系;带头书写21世纪贸易规则。重要的是,在北京方面看来,中国被排除在三大谈判之外。

目前北京方面看到了一些希望。欧洲本周表示,支持中国寻求加入服务贸易谈判的努力。这令华盛顿方面十分恼火。在美国,许多人仍不愿让中国加入谈判。

中国希望加入这些谈判,至少有一部分原因是希望借此解决国内的紧迫问题。随着中国致力于经济再平衡,以期转变一直以来依赖的出口导向型增长模式,中国需要发展具有更高效率的服务行业。上世纪90年代的入世谈判,让中国能够在国内推行艰难改革。加入新的服务贸易联盟将会起到同样效果。

此外,加入谈判,也是为了避免被一场全球对话排除在外。服务贸易协定(Tisa)谈判国在当前全球服务贸易中所占的比例约为70%。但巴西、中国和印度等大型新兴市场国家无一能够参加。中国正努力改变这一局面。

欧盟贸易专员卡洛?德古赫特(Karel De Gucht)在习近平访问布鲁塞尔之前接受了英国《金融时报》的采访。他表示,他发觉中国对贸易的态度发生了明显变化。他说:“中国人意识到,他们必须越来越深入地加入到国际贸易中去。他们意识到,他们不能被排除在俱乐部外面。”

为中国加入贸易俱乐部打基础,起码是习近平此次欧洲之行的目的之一。

译者/邢嵬

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