Despite calling the just-concluded China-U.S. trade talks in Shanghai “constructive” and hoping for more “positive dialogue,” the White House on Thursday announced plans to impose extra tariffs on Chinese imports from Sept. 1.
[File Photo: IC]
Washington’s unilateral escalation of trade disputes is a serious breach of trust after the two sides reached in June consensus to restart trade talks on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Apart from undermining the momentum of the newly resumed China-U.S. trade talks, the U.S. flip-flopping again exemplifies Washington’s untrustworthiness in striking a deal and its disturbing propensity for bullying.
The U.S. administration should bear in mind that its bullying and tariff threat, which has not worked in the past, will not work this time.
For over a year, the U.S.-initiated trade disputes with China have bogged down not just economic growth of the two countries but that of the whole world. Meanwhile, an increasingly capricious Washington is harming the current world order with more uncertainties.
As the U.S. administration is ready to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining 300 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese imports, its sincerity in reaching a mutually beneficial trade deal with Beijing that can accommodate each other’s major concerns has gone bust. It seems that in the eyes of Washington’s China hawks, trade talks are no more than a formality with which to rip China off.
Also, the new twist in China-U.S. trade talks shows that some Washington politicians are trying to play tough against China on trade matters and gain cheap political points as the new cycle of U.S. presidential election is looming.
Unlike previous rounds of taxing Chinese imports, the U.S. administration this time is targeting a wide swath of consumer goods, and therefore, is “using American families as a hostage” in its trade negotiations, according to Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America.
While the White House is boasting about taxing China until a trade deal is reached, it should keep in mind that China will only accept a win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment.
Beijing’s position has been consistent and clear: China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.
In response to Washington’s tariff assaults since March 2018, China has had to take forceful counter measures. This instance will be no exception.
Still, Beijing remains committed to handling its trade problems with Washington as long as the settlement is based on mutual respect and equality, and conform to China’s core interests. China, which still sees a steady economic growth and boasts enormous potential for further development, will always find a way to withstand any pressure if there no deal is reached.
It is therefore hoped that Washington should drop its fantasy to bring Beijing down to its knees with its same and old tricks of maximum pressure. If it truly wants a deal, then they will need to show some real sincerity first.