Tuesday, September 25, 2018

China Must Oppose US Protectionism, Hegemony
By Wang Wenwen
Global Times
2018/9/25 21:08:39

On Monday, Trump signed his first trade deal with South Korea, which includes measures to open up the Korean market and increase American exports. He will carry out his diplomatic offensive by persuading Japan to enter formal bilateral trade talks at the UN General Assembly. Trump's aides are reportedly also to meet EU officials to advance a trade-expanding framework unveiled in July.

While the US fosters ties with its Asian and European allies, some observers believe that pressures are mounting on China, currently in a trade battle launched by the US. Nonetheless China will not compromise even if the US reaches trade deals with a third country.

The economic interdependence between China and the US has been essential to maintaining interactions between the world's two giants. The trade scale between the two is so immense and covers a spectrum of areas in each country. It far exceeds the trade volumes between the US and South Korea. While the US has taken the initiative to break that interdependence, it should have expected retaliation from China. In other words, the US must solve a crisis of its own making.

The US will find it difficult to make China give up its own development goals in the face of US pressure. What the US has got wrong is that China is not challenging the US' status as a world superpower but is instead maintaining confidence in its own economy and seeking global stability. China will be more dedicated to its China 2025 program which aims at improving the country's technological prowess. China will also be more dedicated to its Belt and Road initiative through which China will provide developing economies more opportunities and help balance the global economy. China has its own pace of development and will not yield to US commands. That is why China is determined to stand against the trade war.

China is also pushing for more market access by negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade pacts with other economies. China and ASEAN are working to upgrade a bilateral free trade agreement and will adopt a Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 Statement in the 21st ASEAN-China summit to be held in November. China has also urged the acceleration of China-South Korea-Japan free trade agreement talks in an effort to promote regional cooperation and so as to act against trade protectionism and unilateralism.

The problems related to international trade cannot be addressed simply by hegemonic maneuvers. A wiser approach for the US would be to use the multilateral mechanisms of the international order to resolve its trade grievances with its partners. China has to shoulder greater responsibilities to hold fast to multilateralism and oppose protectionism in this protracted trade battle.

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