Illustration: Chen Xia / GT
“In its annual trade policy agenda released on Tuesday, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) claimed that the Biden administration is reorienting its trade policy with China, looking at all existing tools and potentially new ones to combat China.” non-market practices. ” It writes the Wall Street Journal.
To threaten China with fabricated accusations and then resort to maximum pressure during the negotiations to maximize US interests, this is the US’s worn-out tactic in dealing with trade issues with China. The real purpose behind USTR’s harsh rhetoric this time around is also to seek extra leverage in the trade. Yet such a tactic can only fail as before.
Despite the lack of detail, the USTR’s annual trade policy agenda sets the tone for US trade policy towards China this year. The Biden administration could potentially set in motion another round of trade tensions with China in the name of the so-called equalization inquiry or other excuses. Such a possibility can not be ruled out.
In addition, the USTR also said it “accelerates joint work with allies and partners” to compete with China’s “harmful” trade practices, according to the South China Morning Post. It is highly likely that the United States will seek to take advantage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to further strengthen a united position among Western countries, in order to gain a stronger influence in other international affairs. The United States may try to hijack allies over trade with China in the future.
In light of the above points, China should prepare for the worst-case scenarios while engaging in trade negotiations with the United States. In light of the hostile stance of the United States, there does not appear to be much room for de-escalating trade relations between the United States and China in the short term. The United States apparently refuses to see economic cooperation and competition with China rationally. China must both prepare psychologically and strengthen its political reserves to deal with potentially long-standing trade tensions with the United States.
It is crucial that China does not have and will not be intimidated either. Since the failure of the Trump administration’s trade war was obvious to anyone struggling with economic difficulties at home, the Biden administration will face a more difficult situation if it chooses to act on escalating trade tensions with China.
To begin with, it will face stronger backlash in the international community. US protectionism, hegemony and the anti-globalization action of unilateralism are unsustainable. Many countries cannot accept the practice of the United States imposing sanctions through trade protectionism. Therefore, the United States does not dare to hastily escalate trade tensions with China.
Second, escalating trade tensions with China will further hurt the US economy. While it is clear to all to see that the Trump administration’s ruthless trade war was a total failure – to fail with all predetermined goals and at the same time cause a serious negative impact on the U.S. economy – the Biden administration’s assessment of the case has apparently reached a completely wrong conclusion . If Biden’s trade team continues to follow Trump’s failed path, the US economy will risk an even bigger loss.
Third, it will sink the Biden administration into an even deeper political dilemma. U.S. policy makers have already been caught in the middle between monetary easing to boost the economy and austerity to ease inflation. It is, in fact, not a simple political choice, but a more profound economic dilemma stemming from its violation of the fundamental laws of the market economy and free trade. If the US government continues to politicize and arm economic issues, it will only face major problems.
The author is an editor at Global Times. [email protected]