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International relations will never go back to barbarian era

By Wu Yuehe (People's Daily)    09:03, May 21, 2019

What will happen if a driver shifts to reverse gear and hits the pedal to the floor on a busy street? The answer is obvious – a series of scratches, crashes and losses, forming a chain reaction. 

What if such a case is happening to the global industrial chain, or in the development of the international relations? Now, the US is turning the “what if” to reality.

The wayward decision of the US government on its foreign trade policy is considered ridiculous by the global media. For instance, a European media outlet has warned Washington not to take China as the Wild West.

Though the US is claiming again and again that it is a winner in the trade war, the international community just thinks the other way, because the arbitrary acts of Washington are stupid which have ruthlessly given a blow to the US agriculture and hurt the interests of US consumers and enterprises. In addition, the acts also severely damaged the global industrial chain that once greatly benefited the US.

By provoking the trade disputes against China, the US has worsened its agriculture performance, which is an issue receiving huge attention.

With the fall of price of bulk commodities, the US farmers have seen halved income in the past 6 years. The declining sales of their agricultural products, which were largely exported to China, are also adding insult to injury for them. The net income of US farmers, plunging by 16 percent last year, went back to the same level of that 10 years ago when financial crisis broke out.

Now, with the US escalating the trade friction, the US farmers are seeing deteriorating situations.

In a letter issued by the American Farm Bureau Federation on May 15, the organization said lost exports were exacerbating the burden of an industry already in hard times, calling for an end to the trade war.

The Q2 economic statistics of the US heralded risks. According to the US Department of Commerce, the indexes of US consumption and manufacturing both experienced slide in April because of the current trade tension, global economic slowdown and the fadeaway of the 2017 tax reform.

The Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System also released a set of data, saying that the industrial production of the US fell by 0.5 percent in April from March and that in the first quarter also dropped by 2.1 percent at an annualized rate.

However, the US decision makers are turning a blind eye to the severe economic situation, not knowing how profoundly economic globalization has reshaped the world and ignoring the practical significance and far-reaching impacts of the international division of labor. What they are doing is merely moving the manufacturing back to the US in a barbarian way.

But will this approach work?

An article published by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung may answer the question. It believes that backwardness won’t help, especially in the US.

At the beginning of the last century, the US specifically eliminated its traditional industries and placed more importance on service and finance sectors. This move resulted in not only a loss of manufacturing jobs, but also the skills related.

To produce the products it used to import from other countries, the US has to regain a giant workforce that is capable of doing so. However, the country is currently bothered by a lack of human resources in many regions.

In addition, as international observers said, most of the American consumers are not likely to be willing to pay $2,000 for a “made-in-the-US” smart phone that they could get at only half of the price before.

The US decision makers are always anxious as they want to but not able to make progress. When seeing more and more countries are joining hands for common development through complementary advantages and labor division, they are afraid that the “greatness” of the US might not be that shining in today’s world.

They even get mad at the facts that other countries are constantly making remarkable innovations. The US Department of Commerce recently placed Chinese tech giant Huawei and tens of affiliates on its so-called “Entity List” - a move that bans the telecom company from buying parts and components from American firms without US government approval. In addition, the US government has also adopted a “policy of presumption of denial” when reviewing applications for such approval.

By interfering with the naturally developed global industrial chain by supremacy, the US has adopted the most barbarian method ever in the history of modern international economic and trade relations. It is nothing but ridiculous and hegemonic.

“America is being ripped off.” “We’re a debtor nation, and we have to tax, we have to tariff, we have to protect this country.” Such voices of the US reflect only superficial views, unreason and lack of morality.

These voices aroused strong reaction from the international media. A German media outlet said that the international division of labor in today’s world has created hundreds of millions of jobs in emerging industrial countries, which not only promoted social development of these countries, but also improved the livelihood of the developed countries by lowering commodity prices.

The fact of the US being a debtor has no relation with other countries. International media noted that China, as a major creditor nation of the US, is the most important sponsor of the latter, and the US accusation on China is totally unreasonable.

The trade war is not a game. It disrupts global production and supply chain, and then further impedes the development of world economy.

Most of the economists polled by Reuters believe that the US is facing increased chances of recession because of its trade friction with China. The poll put the chances of that happening in the next two years at 40%, 5 percentages higher from a month ago.

It still lingers in the minds of many how the US recession had encumbered global economy 10 years ago, which makes the world wonder that how far will Washington go on the wrong way with its stick of tariffs nowadays.

Cooperation calls for sincerity from both sides, while confrontation needs only unilateral provocation. It’s obvious to all that China never fears any threats and is ready to cope with challenges. The US, though acting arbitrarily at present, will finally exhaust its energy one day.

The US has overestimated its ability to muscle the Chinese into accepting its will, and underestimated China’s ability to punch it in places that hurt, said Ryan Hass, expert on China issues from the Brookings Institution.

The history is always moving forward and is never reversed by anyone. Those who wish to reverse the trend of history would get only short-term profits, and by doing so, they are also tarnishing their so-called “greatness”.

Economic globalization is an irreversible trend of time, and the world is a community with a shared future in which the interests of countries are closely knitted. Under the guidance of the human civilization development, the international relations will never go back to the barbarian era, and time will prove that. 

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

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