Mutual accusation and beyond between China and U.S - Tariff war - EXCLUSIVE | Eurasia Diary -

26 August, Monday

Mutual accusation and beyond between China and U.S - Tariff war - EXCLUSIVE

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China’s Foreign Minister blamed U.S for trade frictions saying negotiations impossible under the current circumstances. Political expert and East Asia regional analyst based in Beijing Maria Siow stated for Eurasia Diary that as one of the earliest and foremost proponent of globalization, trade liberalization and anti-protectionist measures, it is unfortunate that the US is undertaking the ongoing high-profile retaliatory trade tariffs against China. 
Image result for Maria Siow
Maria Siow
Political analyst
She said that despite many rational voices in the US arguing against the move, it is apparent that the ongoing tariff policy is Donald Trump’s way of pandering to certain segments of American society, especially those who believe that emerging economies are stealing American jobs, undertaking unfair trade practices, and contributing to America’s huge trade deficit. While there may be some basis to these accusations, they have been hugely inflated by the Trump administration.
According to her, there is also the sense that Trump is less interested in the outcome of the tariffs or their financial, trade or even legal ramifications. Rather, he wants to be seen as taking the very decisive steps and measures that he said he would during his election campaigns for the presidency. This pandering to American constituents appears to be the over-riding consideration for Trump. 
Other considerations such as working with China on international and regional issues, for example in containing North Korea’s denuclearization efforts clearly play second fiddle to Trump’s domestic priorities and concerns. 
The unfortunate thing is that Washington has handed over to China on a silver platter the idea that Beijing is now the new champion of free trade. This has of course been an ongoing issue but a clear pattern of the US doing so and China becoming a proponent of globalization has now emerged. This role reversal is nothing short of ironic.
Maria Siow also mentioned that by insisting on "verifiable, enforceable and measurable deliverables" from China in trade negotiations, the US is also using the opportunity to send a message to Beijing. And that is, issues such as unfair trade practices, the stealing or at least lack of protection of intellectual property rights, and forced technology transfers must all be taken seriously in the context of US-China trade relations. The moves by Washington also serve to remind China that the Asian giant has made lots of different commitments that they have not followed through on, and hence it is time that Beijing sits up and acts on these commitments as well as undertakes fair and reciprocal treatment.
At this stage the effects are not yet apparent, though we have seen a fair bit of fluctuation on global and regional financial markets. But certainly, the tit-for-tat tariffs have led to concerns that the two countries will enter into a prolonged or escalating trade war which might derail global economic growth. 
We can only hope that better sense on the part of both countries will eventually prevail. But at this stage, there is no reason to be optimistic, as we have just heard that China is requesting consultations with Washington concerning the proposed tariffs. A "request for consultations" is usually the first step in a full blown legal challenge at the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body. And if Washington were to reject the request, China is likely to renew it, which would mean that the case will be forwarded to formal arbitration. And when that happens, we can expect a long and perhaps protracted legal battle between the two countries which might in turn lead to economic volatility both in the region and beyond.
Farid Hasanov

Eurasia Diary

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