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中美贸易谈判的棘手问题:产业补贴

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2019年05月15日

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BEIJING — One year ago, when he began a multibillion-dollar trade war with China that shook the global economy, President Trump demanded that Beijing end lavish government spending aimed at making the country a world power in computer chips, robotics, commercial aircraft and other industries of the future.

北京——一年前,特朗普总统与中国开始了一场涉及数千亿美元的贸易战,撼动了全球经济。当时,特朗普总统要求北京方面停止通过巨额政府开支,让自己成为计算机芯片、机器人、商用飞机等未来产业的世界强国的做法。

Today, as the two sides struggle to reach a truce, the Trump administration is finding just how difficult that will be.

如今,在双方努力达成停战协议的过程中,特朗普政府发现要做到这一点何其困难。

Trade talks between the United States and China nearly ground to a halt this past week, and a seemingly intractable dispute over subsidies is a big part of it. Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, accused China last Monday of reneging on what he described as “good, firm commitments on eliminating market-distorting subsidies.” Vice Premier Liu He, the leader of China’s negotiating team, said that it was normal for negotiations to have ups and downs, but has also nodded to the subsidies issue in vowing repeatedly over the last several days not to bend on China’s principles.

美中贸易谈判上周几乎陷入停顿,补贴问题是其中一个重要原因,这个争议似乎相当棘手。美国贸易代表罗伯特·莱特希泽(Robert E. Lighthizer)上周一指责中国违背了“在消除扭曲市场的补贴方面所做出的良好而坚实的承诺”。中国谈判代表团团长、国务院副总理刘鹤表示,谈判有起伏是正常的,但在过去几天里,他也谈到了补贴问题,多次誓言中国在原则问题上不会委曲求全。

President Trump on Friday raised tariffs on $200 billion a year worth of Chinese goods, hitting goods leaving China’s shores as of that day. He has directed Mr. Lighthizer to start on Monday the long process for raising tariffs on all Chinese goods.

特朗普总统在上周五提高了针对每年价值2000亿美元中国商品的关税,当天离开中国的商品开始受到影响。他已指示莱特希泽周一启动对所有中国商品提高关税的漫长过程。

In talks and in an exchange of documents, Chinese negotiators surprised their American counterparts by calling at the start of this month for numerous changes, people familiar with the negotiations said. While the requests covered everything from intellectual property to currency manipulation, the hardened Chinese stance against limiting government subsidies poses a particular challenge.

据知情人士称,在谈判和交换文件的过程中,中方谈判代表在本月初突然要求做出大量修改,令美方的谈判代表大感意外。这些要求涵盖了从知识产权到汇率操纵的方方面面,但中方在反对限制政府补贴方面表现出更强硬的立场,成为格外严峻的一项挑战。

The United States wants China to enshrine limits on subsidies in its national laws. China says it will not let a foreign country tell it how to change its laws. A schedule of planned legislation released by Chinese officials on Saturday did not include any of the subsidy-related measures that Washington has sought.

美国希望中国将限制补贴写入国家的法律。中方表示,它不会让另一个国家告诉它来如何修改法律。中国官员在上周六公布的一份立法工作计划中,不包括华盛顿方面寻求的与补贴相关的任何措施。

Beijing has long helped its homegrown industries in strategically important areas like jetliners and parts for nuclear reactors. It also supports efforts to build up China’s high-tech industries like microchips and self-driving cars to make sure the economy will stay competitive.

长期以来,北京一直在大飞机、核反应堆零部件等具有重要战略意义的领域为国内产业提供帮助。它还支持建设微芯片、自动驾驶汽车等高科技产业的努力,以确保中国的经济保持竞争力。

Stopping, or even tracking, China’s subsidies is a difficult task. Many subsidies take the form of cheap loans from government-controlled banks or through other opaque arrangements. Foreign companies also complain that they are often shut out of local government contracts through written and unwritten rules, giving Chinese competitors a strong base at home while they pursue global expansion plans.

制止甚至哪怕只是追踪中国的补贴将是一项艰巨的任务。许多补贴采取的是从政府控制的银行获得低息贷款或其他不透明安排的形式。外国企业还抱怨,通过成文或者不成文的规定,它们经常被排除在地方政府的合同之外,这让中国的竞争对手在追求全球扩张计划的同时,在国内还拥有强大的基础。

China has agreed to disclose more information about its subsidies and stop those that violate rules under the World Trade Organization, the global trade referee. But the two sides are also at loggerheads over how to interpret those W.T.O. rules, said people familiar with the talks, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

中国已经同意披露更多有关补贴的信息,并停止违反全球贸易仲裁机构世界贸易组织规定的行为。但知情人士表示,双方在如何解释世贸组织的这些规则方面也存在分歧。由于无权公开发言,这些人士要求匿名。

In his news briefing last Monday, Mr. Lighthizer said China’s trade negotiators had made significant, enforceable commitments to the United States, but added that “some people” in China had objected to them, without saying who. China’s trade negotiators are heavily drawn from the ranks of the country’s market-oriented economic reformers and have long been at odds with officials who want greater reliance on heavily subsidized state-owned enterprises.

在上周一的新闻发布会上,莱特希泽表示,中国的贸易谈判代表对美国做出了重要的、可执行的承诺,但他也补充,中国“有些人”反对这些承诺,但没有点名。中国的贸易谈判代表主要来自市场化经济改革者群体,长期以来与那些希望更多依赖获得大量补贴的国有企业的官员之间存在分歧。

The Trump administration insists on leaving in place tariffs on imports from heavily subsidized Chinese industries, at least for this year. That would protect the American market in industries that trade hawks within the administration see as strategically crucial.

特朗普政府坚持对那些获大量补贴的中国行业的产品征收关税,至少今年是这样。这将保护在美国政府内部贸易鹰派人士看来具有重要战略意义的行业市场。

Chinese officials oppose those tariffs. Mr. Liu told Chinese state-controlled media on Saturday that the Chinese government “believes that tariffs are the starting point for trade disputes between the two sides — if an agreement is to be reached, the tariffs must all be canceled.”

中国官员反对这些关税。刘鹤在上周六对中国官方媒体说,中国政府“认为关税是双方贸易争端的起点,如果要达成协议,那么关税必须全部取消”。

Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that tariffs imposed bilaterally were a poor tool to address a global problem like overcapacity. Even if the United States successfully kept part of the tariffs in place, they would protect only American business at home. Subsidized Chinese business could still compete at home, in Europe and almost everywhere else around the globe, hurting prospects for American exporters.

彼得森国际经济研究所(Peterson Institute for International Economics)高级研究员查德·鲍恩(Chad Bown)表示,双方征收关税在解决产能过剩等全球性问题上不是一个好的工具。即使美国成功地保留了部分关税,也只会保护美国国内的企业。受补贴的中国企业仍可能在国内、欧洲乃至全球几乎所有地方展开竞争,损害美国出口商的前景。

In the United States, Democrats have been increasingly critical of the Trump administration for not obtaining more trade policy concessions. Yet even some Democrats said that they see limited prospects that China will agree to reduce subsidies.

在美国,民主党人对特朗普政府没能获得更多的贸易政策让步持越来越多的批评。然而,就连一些民主党人也表示,他们不太看好中国会同意削减补贴。

“To expect the end of essentially a planned or a centralized economy would be awfully ambitious,” Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said in a recent interview in Beijing.

特拉华州民主党参议员克里斯·库恩斯(Chris Coons)最近在北京接受采访时表示:“指望终结一个本质上的计划经济或中央集权经济,有些过于遥远了。”

“To be fair the Obama administration got nowhere, the Bush administration got nowhere,” Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said about convincing China to roll back its subsidies. “This is a crucial way the Chinese run their economy.”

“公平地说,奥巴马政府没有取得任何进展,布什政府也没有,”美国企业研究所(American Enterprise Institute)常驻学者史剑道(Derek Scissors)在谈到说服中国削减补贴问题时表示。“这是中国经济运行的关键方式。”

If a trade deal does not fully cover subsidies, the United States could resort to unconventional responses. For example, the United States has pushed for an extensive revision of its laws surrounding foreign investments and exports of high-tech products, primarily aimed at China, to try to preserve its commercial and military edge.

如果贸易协议不能完全覆盖补贴,美国可能会采取非常规的应对措施。例如,美国一直在推动对外国投资和高科技产品出口的相关法律进行广泛修订,主要是针对中国,以便保持美国的商业和军事优势。

The Trump administration has made some progress in the emerging trade deal on other ways the Chinese government props up its industries. Beijing has promised to tell its state-controlled banks to show less favoritism in lending to state-owned enterprises instead of private sector businesses. Beijing has also pledged to open up the bidding for government contracts to foreign companies, instead of reserving them almost completely for Chinese companies.

在中国政府扶持本国产业的其他方面,正在形成中的贸易协定令特朗普政府取得了一些进展。中国政府已承诺,将要求国有银行在面向国有企业和私营企业发放贷款时,减少对国有企业的偏袒。中国政府还承诺向外国公司开放政府合同竞标,而不是几乎将其完全留给中国公司。

If China opens up the bidding, “that would actually, genuinely move the market needle on opportunities for foreign companies in China,” said Scott Kennedy, a China economic policy specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

美国战略与国际问题研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)中国经济政策专家甘思德(Scott Kennedy)表示,如果中国开放竞标,“会给外国公司在华的市场机会带来切实的改变。”

On the issue of subsidies, China has grown more quiet. Its “Made in China 2025” plan two years ago called for $300 billion in special financing and other assistance for 10 advanced manufacturing industries. China shelved the catchy name for the program in recent months, while expressing determination to continue investing in “high-quality manufacturing.”

在补贴问题上,中国变得更加低调。两年前,中国的“中国制造2025”计划要求为10个先进制造业提供3000亿美元的专项资金和其他协助。最近几个月,中国搁置了这个醒目的项目名称,同时表示决心继续投资“高质量制造业”。

China is willing to publicly list and disclose subsidies from its central government, people familiar with the trade talks said. But instead of disclosing these subsidies to the United States, which might be seen by the Chinese public as humiliating, the Chinese government wants to disclose them through the W.T.O., which would then pass on the list to its members.

知情人士说,中国愿意公开列举并披露来自中央政府的补贴。但中国政府不希望向美国透露补贴,这种做法可能会被中国公众视为耻辱;它希望通过世贸组织披露这些补贴,然后由世贸组织该列表传递给其成员。

W.T.O. rules ban governments from helping exporting companies with cash, free land and other easily measured gifts. The rules are somewhat looser on measures like cheap loans from state-controlled banks or efforts to replace imports by fostering domestic production of the same goods.

世贸组织的规定禁止政府用现金、免费土地和其他容易衡量的赠与帮助出口公司。至于从国有银行获得低息贷款,或者鼓励国内生产同类商品以取代进口,这些方面的规定要宽松一些。

Beijing has told American negotiators that it will end subsidies if they are breaking W.T.O. rules. But the Chinese national government’s assistance to industries tends to fall into the categories that are hardest to prove as violating W.T.O. rules.

北京已经告诉美国谈判代表,如果违反了世贸组织的规则,中国将终止补贴。但中国政府对相关行业的援助,往往属于最难被证明违反世贸组织规则的类型。

In China, the subsidies more likely to break W.T.O. rules tend to be given to exporters by provincial and local government agencies in China. In the trade talks with the United States, Beijing has agreed to look for provincial and local subsidies that may violate W.T.O. rules, but has been resistant to passing legislation that would abolish them, people familiar with the talks said.

在中国,更有可能违反世贸组织规则的补贴往往是由中国的省级和地方政府机构提供给出口商的。知情人士说,在与美国的贸易谈判中,北京同意找出可能违反世贸组织规则的省级和地方补贴,但一直拒绝通过废除这些补贴的立法。

At least a few market-oriented Chinese government officials have worried that broad subsidies might be squandered by companies more interested in taking the government’s money than in creating competitive products. But these critics appear to be a shrinking minority.

至少有一些以市场为导向的中国政府官员担心,有些企业更愿意接受政府资金、而非创造出具有竞争力的产品,它们可能会浪费大量补贴。但这些批评人士似乎只是少数。

Lou Jiwei, a prominent advocate of economic reform and the chairman of China’s social security fund, told The South China Morning Post in early March that the Made in China 2025 plan “wasted taxpayers’ money.”

著名的经济改革倡导者、中国社会保障基金理事会理事长楼继伟在3月初接受《南华早报》(South China Morning Post)采访时说,“中国制造2025”计划“浪费了纳税人的钱”。

Mentions of Mr. Lou immediately disappeared from state-controlled media. There followed a cursory statement by the official Xinhua news agency on April 4 that he had been removed from his post at the social security fund. No reason was given.

有关楼继伟的报道立即从国有媒体上消失。在此之前,官方的新华社于4月4日发表了一份简略的声明,称他已被免去社保基金的职务,但没有给出原因。


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