A Pragma-Dialectical Approach to Trade Friction Discourse: A Case Study of a Public Letter in Sino-US Trade Friction on Tire Special Safeguard

Wu Peng, Zhao Rui


Based on the analytical framework of

Strategic Maneuvering, this paper analyzes and

evaluates the public letter from China Chamber

of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals

Importers & Exporters (CCCMC) and China Rubber

Industry Association (CRIA) to Obama and

United States Trade Representative (USTR) on

July 27th, 2009 to reveal the discursive

strategies and their corresponding linguistic

realizations manipulated in tire special safeguard

case. The research results show that, strategic

maneuvering in CCCMC & CRIA’s public letters

is integratedly realized through choice of topical

potential, catering for audience demands and

choice of presentational devices, which is

supported by such argumentative strategies as

presupposition, contrast, appeal to audience's

values, appeal to authority, vagueness,

repetition, statistics, appeal to opponent ’ s

concession, and the like. CCCMC & CRIA’s public

letter has its shortcomings in clarification of

difference of opinion in the confrontation stage,

in choice of starting in the opening stage, in

choice of topics in the argumentation stage and

in manipulation of such specific argumentativerhetoric

strategies as ‘contrast’ and ‘statistics’.

In view of China’s merits and deficiency, China

should: (1) clarify the confrontation, opening,

argumentation and concluding stages of the

argumentative discourse and flexibly set the

dialectic and rhetoric aims of these four stages

according to the context; (2) strategically

maneuver among topical potential, audience

demand and presentational devices, in line with

the established dialectic and rhetoric aims in

different argumentative stages; (3) recognize

the institutional context of trade friction

discourse and the importance of language

expression, and cultivate an assertive image.


trade friction discourse; Pragma-Dialectics; argumentative discourse; strategic maneuvering.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18002/sin.v3i2.5258


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