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China-US trade benefits both sides and China is not to blame for the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US, said a renowned US expert on China on Monday.

Statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce show that bilateral merchandise trade exceeded $519.6 billion in 2016, making China the US' largest trading partner and the US China's second-largest.

"I think respectable economists, not people who are just working for politicians, all agree that bilateral trade has benefited both the US and China," Avery Goldstein, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania (U Penn), told the Xinhua News Agency in a recent interview.

The standard of living of the American people has become higher because of cheaper Chinese products, added Goldstein, who was listed among the top 20 China experts in the US by China Foreign Affairs University in 2015.

It is unfair for some politicians to blame China for the loss of US  manufacturing jobs, Goldstein pointed out, noting that it is more about worldwide market competition, and about automation, which leads to higher productivity - and fewer workers - in factories.

"Of course, if the relationship is poorly managed, if the negotiations with China on trade don't go well, and if tariffs are imposed on China, Americans will quickly see the effect, which would be an increase in the price of goods," said the expert.

 According to an Oxford Economics report, China-US trade was credited for creating some 2.6 million jobs in the US and contributing $216 billion to US economic growth in 2015.

"We should not try to keep China poor or to prevent China from playing a bigger role in the global economy, but rather to figure out how to cooperate with China in addressing the problems of the global economy and managing some of the difficult trade and financial issues that come up in international economics," said Goldstein.

Commenting on the upcoming meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Florida, the expert stressed that the significance of the event should not be underestimated.

The two leaders, first of all, will "get a deeper understanding of each other and each other's general views about the US-China bilateral relationship," said the professor, who is also director of the U Penn Center for the Study of Contemporary China.

"Beyond that, each side may want to lay out a general road map for dealing with some of the areas where cooperation looks most feasible, and some of the areas where it is clear the two sides will have to work hard to manage their disagreements," he added.