High time for con­certed global ac­tions against US trade bul­ly­ing

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - Page Ed­i­tor: yu­jin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

In a re­cent in­ter­view with CNN, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro tried once again to white­wash Wash­ing­ton's es­ca­lat­ing trade of­fen­sive against China, say­ing the US gov­ern­ment “is us­ing the tar­iff strat­egy bril­liantly.”

Ap­par­ently, such a claim ig­nores the fact that Wash­ing­ton's hawk­ish trade pol­icy is weigh­ing down the US econ­omy and that of the world as well.

Since it took of­fice more than two years ago, the cur­rent US ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken on many of its ma­jor trad­ing partners around the world, claim­ing that they have been tak­ing ad­van­tage of the US in global free trade, although such ac­cu­sa­tions lack the most ba­sic com­mon sense in eco­nomics.

With an un­founded vic­tim men­tal­ity, trade hard­lin­ers in the White House have launched a tar­iff war on a global scale, levy­ing puni­tive du­ties on alu­minum and steel im­ports from the Euro­pean Union, wash­ing ma­chines from South Korea and Mex­ico, and al­most all of Amer­ica's Chi­nese im­ports. They crit­i­cized the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment as “one of the worst trade deals ever made,” ripped it apart and co­erced Canada and Mex­ico into sign­ing a new trade ac­cord that high­lights Amer­ica's in­ter­ests.

These white-hot trade dis­putes have significan­tly ex­ac­er­bated un­cer­tainty over the global econ­omy, es­pe­cially the fi­nan­cial mar­ket.

The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) in July cut real global eco­nomic growth to 3.2 per­cent this year, 0.1 per­cent­age point lower than its April fore­cast, due to the on­go­ing global trade ten­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased in Au­gust by US Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Busi­ness Eco­nomics, some 72 per­cent of economists pre­dicted that a US re­ces­sion would be­gin within the next two years.

The world econ­omy would also fall into re­ces­sion even­tu­ally, should the trade dis­putes be­tween the world's top two economies drag on. The IMF has warned that trade dis­putes could wipe $455 bil­lion off global gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in 2020.

A world trade slow­down, which now seems in­evitable in the long term, will stir up tu­mult in global mar­ket, dent con­sumer and in­vest­ment con­fi­dence, and slow down in­come growth.

Besides, given the high in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of the world, where the value of trade reached some 58 per­cent of global GDP by the end of 2018, the in­ter­na­tional sup­ply chains would also be shat­tered.

More wor­ry­ingly, Wash­ing­ton's trade bul­ly­ing poses a long-term and deep­rooted threat to the health and integrity of the rules-based mul­ti­lat­eral global trad­ing sys­tem.

Trade hawks in Wash­ing­ton are defying the author­ity of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO). In their eyes, global trade rules should be dic­tated by Wash­ing­ton, not un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the WTO, although the in­ter­na­tional body is at the heart of the world's cur­rent trad­ing regime.

Such moves are “struc­turally cat­a­strophic,” and fi­nally “a sys­tem of rules is prac­ti­cally de­stroyed,” said Martin Wansleben, gen­eral man­ager of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Cham­bers of In­dus­try and Com­merce.

China on Mon­day an­nounced that it had filed a case at the WTO against the US fol­low­ing the lat­ter's im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ad­di­tional 15-per­cent tar­iffs on $300 bil­lion worth of Chi­nese im­ports on Septem­ber 1.

China's fight against Wash­ing­ton's as­sault on the ex­ist­ing global trade or­der bears global sig­nif­i­cance. It is high time for the en­tire in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to come to­gether and make con­certed ef­forts against Wash­ing­ton's bul­ly­ing be­fore it is too late. This is a com­men­tary of the Xin­hua News Agency. opin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

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