PERSONAL NOTE: When Gary Locke was the governor of Washington state, he and his wife would go to mainland China to negotiate many trade deals between Washington state and China…now he uses the word “subnational” deals…in other words, Gary Locke now believes if Trump is unable to negotiate diplomatically and peacefully and wisely and efficiently with mainland China and its leaders, then the 50 individual states of America with its governors and top government officials must learn and continue to negotiate with China on their own…He had done it successfully when he was governor and now he believes and encourages all the governors to do the same…he is an optimistic man because he had done it before when he was the governor of Washington state. Today Washington state is selling many agricultural and technological products with mainland China. Good for my state where I now live. steve, usa, december 12, 2018 firstname.lastname@example.org blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
China-US tradwar ‘won’t solve problems’
By Linda Deng in Seattle | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-25
When former US ambassador Gary Locke first visited China in the 1980s, what he saw when he arrived in Shanghai was “the biggest, most profound transformation the world has ever seen”.
“The time was when China was just embarking on its opening-up reform policies,” he recalled. “We arrived at night, drove into the city from the airport on a bus. I was just so completely overwhelmed by the sights. Hundreds of thousands of people riding bicycles.
“It was amazing to see the energy, confidence, the dynamism among the Chinese people everywhere we went. Not many highways, not many cars. Lots of construction of buildings, and so many cranes everywhere.”
Since that first trip, the 68-year-old Locke has been to China many times in his public service career and as a United States citizen.
He served as US ambassador to China from 2011 to 2014, and before that was US commerce secretary and a two-term governor of Washington state, helping it to more than double exports to China to more than $5 billion a year.
He was also the first Chinese-American to serve as a US governor and the first to serve as US ambassador to China.
Locke, who was born in Seattle to immigrant parents from China, is now chairman of Locke Global Strategies, a business consultancy, and senior adviser and consultant to law firm Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle.
During his ambassadorship in Beijing, he worked to open markets for US-made goods and services, and he reduced Chinese applicants’ waiting times for US visa interviews from 100 days to three.
When Locke returns to China, he often visits his family village in Guangdong province. About 100 years ago, his grandfather lived in the village and moved to the US, but some relatives still live there.
“Each time I go back, I’m constantly amazed at the energy, the vitality and the dynamism of China,” he said. “Seeing the great prosperity of China,,, in the countryside, big cities and small cities. It is a joy to go back to China every time.”
But that joy is now tempered by the trade friction between the US and China.
“I am very disappointed in (US) President (Donald) Trump, I disagree with his tactics,” Locke said. “Concerns that American companies and the American government have had for quite some time over China’s trade policy are real, very legitimate, very serious, but engaging in a trade war and imposing tariffs on Chinese goods will not really help us solve those problems.
“You will hurt the American companies that buy some of these Chinese products used in their own manufacturing. So the cost of the inputs will be more expensive for American companies, which will automatically raise the price of the products they make.
“Chinese tariffs on American goods will deprive Chinese of high-quality products, whether it is agricultural, food, medicine or technology, and perhaps slow the growth of the Chinese economy and job-creation potential in China. So, it hurts both sides.”
Visits and exchanges
How would Locke solve the trade dispute?
“We need to lower the temperature and get back down to direct meaningful sincere negotiations,” he said. “I would tell the US side if I were part of the Trump administration that they need to sit down with Chinese leaders, to really focus on the reform and opening-up issues they have: some of the trade policies, whether there are restrictions on investments, … to some high tariffs on American goods.”
Locke said that since Trump is not that supportive of ties and trade with China, the burden now rests on the subnational level: “We have so many governors who understand the values of trade with China. How it actually creates jobs in America, helps benefit the Chinese people.”
He said it is up to Democrat and Republican governors to forge greater cooperation and cultural exchanges and understanding with counterparts in China – the Party secretaries and governors of Chinese provinces.
They will be China’s future leaders “so we really need to create even stronger bonds of understanding and friendship between leaders at the subnational level”, Locke said, adding, “I really think it is important to encourage more visits and exchanges.”
He said China is a complex country and people should go there to learn about it firsthand.
“As many Chinese say, Beijing and Shanghai are not all of China,” he said. “The modern industry, the skyscrapers of big cities do not represent all of China. China is in many ways a country of contrast.
“When you have almost 40 percent of the population living in the countryside, to really understand China, … you have to visit and experience both. Certainly, there are huge challenges, social and economic challenges, for the people living in the countryside.
“It also shows the tremendous challenges that the Chinese leadership faces in terms of trying to bring prosperity to all parts of China. And I don’t think people from the West really appreciate it.”
Locke complimented Chinese leaders on what they have done in terms of the remarkable rise of the middle class and prosperity, even for people in the countryside.
“About 15 years ago, only about 5 percent of the people living in the cities were middle class. Now it’s close to 65 percent middle class,” he said. “So that’s a remarkable achievement that China has demonstrated to the world.”
Explaining why understanding the country is important for US citizens, Locke said, “Unless you really understand China you cannot put together initiatives or policies to either help China or comment on what happens in China.
“We have to remember how long it has taken America to develop many of the systems we have, whether the rule of law, strong protection of intellectual property rights or even education systems. We cannot expect a country like China to suddenly develop all these things in five, 10, 20 years, when it took America more than 100 years.
“It is unrealistic and unfair to expect other countries, not just China, but any other country that is developing, to suddenly mature and develop a system that we would like them to have.”
Locke said he has been impressed with President Xi Jinping’s initiatives, and the challenge for China is to maintain the commitment to reform and opening-up started by Deng Xiaoping 40 years ago.
“The opening-up and reforms benefit not just the Chinese people but also foreign companies,” he said.
“This is a win-win situation we always want to promote. Because American companies, foreign companies, can provide some of the products and services that the Chinese people want. We can provide some of the technology and the services the Chinese leaders want, whether technology for clean energy, to clean up the environment, medical devices and drugs, and even common research in so many areas.
“The reforms and opening-up not only create opportunities for the Chinese people but create jobs and opportunities for these foreign companies.”
Locke said further opening-up will not hurt the Chinese people, and he argued that restrictions on foreign investment in China should be reconsidered.
He said more US citizens need to travel to China to better understand the country, and that people from China, at all levels, need to see the US “to appreciate what we have, to understand its diversity of people”.
“That is the strength of America, the engine, the force behind our innovation and success,” he said.