Current Status & Future Of Sino-Japanese Bilateral Trade Relationship

In recent years, economic growth in China has driven the world economy, and outside countries have sought to get in on the action. For example, China has become the biggest trading partner of its neighbor Japan. Almost half of all overseas operations set up by Japanese companies are located in China. The sudden blooming of bilateral trade between China and Japan comes after a series of high-level meetings have taken place between top Chinese politicians and their Japanese counterparts. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent Toshihiro Nikai to Beijing last year to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on behalf of the Japanese government.

According to the Ministry Of Commerce People’s Republic Of China, in January-September last year, the value of Japan-China bilateral trade registered US$214.18 billion, up 7.8% year on year. Among these, US$95.29 billion was Japan’s export to China, up 16.0% year on year, taking up 18.6% of Japan’s total exports, with an increase of 1.3 percentage point; US$118.89 billion was Japan’s imports from China, up 2.1% year on year, taking up 24.1% of Japan’s total imports, with a decrease of 1.8 percentage point. Japan’s trade deficit with China reached US$23.61 billion, down 31.2% year on year. The warming of business relationship has been applauded and supported by the people of both the countries.

China and Japan had a history of torrid relationship, but the recent bilateral development is signaling to a strong business prospect. The market experts are of the opinion that the trade war between China and the USA will only lead to a greater dependency of China to Japan. The U.S. President Donald Trump announced the imposition of new tariffs on Chinese imports, targeting technology products. The measures included restricting Chinese investments in sensitive sectors, along with filing a World Trade Organization case against China, alleging intellectual property violations. US trade representative’s office unveiled a $200bn (£151bn) list of Chinese goods earmarked for a 10 per cent levy, including, fish, carrots and nuts.

Abe and Xi appear anxious about the increase of tarrifs by the USA. At the same time, they need to find a kind of modus vivendi to replace their mutually destabilizing competition and confrontation. The Chinese officials will leave no stone unturned to build a solid business foundation with their Asian neighbor and same goes true with the Japanese officials. Strengthening economic ties between Japan and China would benefit the two great powers in East Asia.

For Japan, China is not just a trading partner, but also an important source of investment and tourists, which give it added bargaining and coercive power against other Asian nations. With an all-out trade war between China and the US still a real possibility, Beijing has been focusing its diplomatic efforts on boosting its regional economic relations with Japan.

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