Commentary: No better strategy than cooperation for China-U.S. economic future

(Xinhua) 08:53, February 23, 2022

Aerial photo taken on Dec. 5, 2021 shows the sunrise scenery of the Yangpu international container port at Yangpu economic development zone in south China's Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Pu Xiaoxu)

BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- No matter how the United States attempts to invent its own game in the global economy and trade, hard facts have pointed out that seeking win-win cooperation, rather than straining ties with hefty tariffs, is the viable answer to the economic future of the two countries.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative issued a report on Feb. 16 claiming that the United States needs to seek new strategies and update its domestic trade tools to address China's "state-led, non-market policies and practices."

It released another report the next day, labeling some Chinese enterprises and markets as so-called "notorious markets" for counterfeiting and piracy.

This chain of moves indicated that some American politicians were continuously advancing in the wrong direction, which, if not making situations worse, would be futile at least.

Behind their obstinacy is a hardwired ignorance of China's realities, endeavors, and progress.

China's economic accomplishments over the past 40-plus years attest to the success of the reform and opening up. They also show the effective fusion of the roles of the market and the government, which become invaluable experience gleaned from China's economic development.

In terms of protecting intellectual property rights, China's achievement is apparent to all. The government has stepped up law enforcement to crack down on copyright infringement and piracy over the years, which deserves a fair and objective evaluation instead of double-standard finger-pointing, as piracy and counterfeiting were and still are a problem in the United States.

Avid as some U.S. politicians might be to scramble for a new arsenal for their conjured-up rivalry with China, the mutual dependence of the world's two largest economies is undeniable. So is the mutually beneficial nature of their economic and trade relations.

No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war. Many economists, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, have dubbed the trade war a flop.

Ironically, many things have run athwart to what China bashers had expected. For instance, the U.S. trade deficit in both goods and services rose to a record 859.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 as imports surged, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.

Additional tariffs harmed American companies and consumers the most, as studies revealed. A Moody's report last May said that U.S. importers absorbed more than 90 percent of the additional costs caused by the increased U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. It will continue to be passed to consumer prices if the tariffs remain in place.

The tariffs exacerbated inflation in the United States, already sky-high under pandemic strains. They have also cost Americans over 300,000 jobs and a family of four 2,300 U.S. dollars annually in extra expenses, said Stephen Orlins, the president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, in a speech last July.

There is already an increasingly popular demand to scrap additional tariffs on Chinese goods in the United States. A bipartisan group of more than 140 U.S. lawmakers has urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to immediately revive and expand a tariff exclusion process on Chinese goods to help U.S. manufacturers, reported Reuters late January.

It followed outcries from about two dozen U.S. business associations to reduce tariffs on Chinese goods to provide relief to Americans amid rising inflation pressure, voiced in a November letter addressed to Tai and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

This plea showed that China-U.S. economic relations are too critical to be butchered by rash and irresponsible acts of unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying. In 2021, bilateral trade grew nearly 30 percent to a record 755.6 billion U.S. dollars. It flies in the face of many China hawks hustling the idea of "China-U.S. decoupling."

Fifty years ago, on Feb. 21, 1972, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon paid a visit to China. The two countries published the Shanghai Communique at the time, a vital step forward in normalizing bilateral relations.

At the time, both sides adhered to the principle of mutual respect and sought common ground while shelving differences. Now, some may want to invent new approaches, but the right one has been there all along. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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