The change of American trade policies and the responses from China have become a subject of concern among Hong Kong society as well as the global financial community. The main focuses of the matter lie on the actions taken in different places and the impact of such changes on both Mainland China and Hong Kong. Against this background, Lingnan University’s MSc in International and Development Economics, Department of Economics, Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Institute and China Economic Research Programme organised the “International Forum on the Change of American Trade Policies and the Possible Responses from China” on 18 December, together with joint organisers of China Construction Bank International, and Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of Guangdong Hong Kong and Macao Development Studies.
Professor Leonard K Cheng, President of Lingnan University remarked that the US trade policy had affected the normal operation of international trade in the last few months. During this period, though the Chinese and US governments had attempted negotiations through various channels but there could still be unexpected changes in the foreseeable future. Professor Cheng believed that US President Donald Trump should better understand the economic theory of “comparative advantage” as international trade could lead to cooperation that was mutually beneficial. Although China’s export to America had reduced employment opportunities in the US, it had also made the American goods cheaper and this was beneficial to both the businesses and consumers in the country. On the other hand, trade led to an increase in the employment opportunities and people’s income in the US when America exported goods and services to China. Professor Cheng hoped that the trade conflicts between the US and China could be resolved soon and both countries would eventually come to a compromise so that the international community could have a more stable financial environment and different countries would benefit from improved trade relations. Other keynote speakers were:
- Prof Jesús SEADE ─ Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs for North America of the Mexican Government; Mexican Government’s Chief Representative of Trade Negotiation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement; former Deputy Director-General of the WTO; Emeritus Professor in the Department of Economics and former Vice-President of Lingnan University.
- Prof WEI Shangjin – former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank; N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy, Columbia University, US.
- Dr David WONG Yau-Kar – Hong Kong Deputy to the National People’s Congress; Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority.
- Mr YUE Yi – former Vice President of Bank of China; former Vice-chairman and Chief Executive of Bank of China (Hong Kong); Director of Belt and Road Hong Kong Centre and Bay Area Hong Kong Centre.