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Op-Ed: Trade war with China could backfire bigly

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily)    14:23, March 26, 2018

These are trying times for the all-important China-U.S. relationship after Washington recklessly lit the wick of trade war against China, setting the stage for some potentially big clashes in the foreseeable future.

On March 22, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum targeting China’s “economic aggression.” Based on the results of the so-called Section 301 investigation, the Trump Administration plans to impose large-scale tariffs on goods imported from China as well as restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.

The move was a stubborn act of unilateralism and protectionism. To reach its conclusion, the United States ignored China’s efforts to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, ignored WTO rules, and ignored the vast majority of industry voices. A trade war prompted by U.S. protectionism would not only put the stability of China-U.S. relations in jeopardy, but also threaten to undermine the global trading system and derail the global economic recovery.

At a time of rising protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment, the facts show that China is fighting hard to keep globalization going so as to steer the world toward a bright future.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stated, economic globalization has become an irreversible trend, and in a trade war, no one wins.

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” President Xi Jinping said in Davos last year.

China does not want a trade war with the United States, but it would be wrong to assume that China would sit idly by while countries undermine its legitimate rights and interests. If relations between the world’s two largest economies fall into peril, the United States only has itself to blame.

The belief in Washington that trade wars are good, and easy to win, is a slap in the face to American companies and consumers. There has been no shortage of warnings about getting into a trade war with China, which would not only fail to resolve the underlying issues in the bilateral trade relationship, but also harm American consumers and the American economy itself.

Criticism of Washington’s reckless ignorance has been loud and clear. At a recent meeting of G20 finance ministers, a large majority of participants expressed concerns about the potential for a global trade war triggered by the Trump Administration. And the New York Times said, “Mr. Trump’s actions demonstrate his resolve to turn away from a decades-long move toward open markets and integrated world economies and toward a more starkly protectionist approach that erects barriers around a Fortress America.”

Washington’s irresponsibility and turn toward protectionism are moving the world closer to chaos. Despite differences and challenges in the bilateral relationship, China and the United States need each other and the world needs both of them. For its part, China has signaled that it remains committed to building an open world economy that benefits all, but it would be a mistake to underestimate China’s determination and ability to defend its legitimate interests. 

Related reading:

China fears no trade war: experts

US creates very bad precedent to break rules of global multilateral trade: expert

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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