Amid the endless levitation of stocks with incessant "a trade deal is close" headlines, China's Long Yongtu - former vice-minister of foreign trade and point man during China’s 15-year talks to join the WTO, told an audience during Credit Suisse’s China Investment Conference yesterday in Shenzhen that, "we want Trump to be re-elected; we would be glad to see that happen."
While SCMP reports that Long doesn’t speak for China’s government in matters concerning the domestic affairs of other countries, the comment from someone considered the elder statesman of China’s trade diplomacy does offer a hint of the thinking in Beijing’s policymaking circle.
Specifically, Long explains that the US president's daily Twitter posts broadcast his every impulse, delight and peeve to 67 million followers around the world, making him “easy to read” and “the best choice in an opponent for negotiations.”
“Trump talks about material interests, not politics,” Long said in an interview with South China Morning Post in Shenzhen.
“Such an opponent is the best choice for negotiations.”
Contrary to what many politicians and business leaders think, Long does not believe the Trump administration has altered its approach to China in a fundamental way.
Long explains that, unlike his predecessors, Trump does not pick fights with China on hot-button geopolitical issues such as Taiwan or Hong Kong, where Beijing has little room to maneuver...
“He makes the US decision-making process efficient and transparent, because he basically says what it is,” Long said of Trump.
“The pros of [having Trump] outweigh the cons. We don’t need to spend so much time figuring out what Americans want any more, or search for each other’s real thoughts in the dark, like we used to.”
SCMP concludes on an optimistic tone, noting that Long is optimistic the two countries will reach a trade resolution soon, as it is also in China’s interests to increase imports so as to become a trade superpower.