Washington has recently announced it will impose an additional 10 percent tariff on 300 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Chinese imports and labelled China a currency manipulator.
These moves have violated the consensus between Chinese and U.S. Heads of State on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka in June, and further escalated trade frictions between the world’s top two economies.
Since July 2018, trade hawks in Washington have unilaterally provoked trade frictions with China, seeking to force Beijing into giving in to its unreasonable demands. Their trade bullying runs against the spirit of free trade and international norms and risks hurting the global economy and damaging the international trade regime.
China never wants to fight a trade war, but will fight one whenever it is necessary. As China defends its development rights and core interests, it is also fighting for trade multilateralism with the World Trade Organisation at its core and a fair environment for global development, demonstrating a strong ability to control risks and a sense of responsibility as a major country.
In the post-war era, more and more developing countries have actively participated in economic globalisation and realised a rather rapid development.
Such a situation has helped cut costs, boost investment worldwide and increase the purchasing power of the growing middle-class populations, thus further tapping the potential for global growth, and helping move globalisation forward.
The United States has been the biggest beneficiary of globalisation. It has been working to reinforce its economic supremacy through global resource allocation.
America’s industries, relying on their financial dominance and technological edges, have stayed firmly at the upper end of the value chains, and reaped huge profits.
However, with a collective rise of developing countries and emerging markets, the international order and labour division system are becoming more balanced. A hegemonic Washington is not willing to see this.
China, the world’s largest developing country, is sharing development opportunities with countries through expanding imports and foreign investment as well as the Belt & Road Initiative, which it has created. The initiative provides a new model for cooperation that promotes a more balanced benefit distribution worldwide, and presents more options as economic globalisation is facing a headwind.
However, a Cold War mentality has led some in Washington to view China’s rise as a threat to its global dominance. Their real strategic motivation in pressuring China on trade issues is to deprive China of its own development rights and to make sure China stays at the lower ends of the industry value chain.
Therefore, China is not just fighting for itself. It is helping to build a fairer global economic order and safeguard the development rights of developing countries.
Economic globalisation has given rise to the emerging economies. It is impossible to reverse the trend with protectionist and unilateralist practices.
It is a reasonable choice for the United States to acknowledge the development rights of the developing countries, and join them in making a bigger pie of global development.