China won't be deterred by Trump's "reality show"

China Plus Published: 2018-04-07 21:45:47
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

By Bian Yongzu

The three major stock indexes in New York all closed with falls of over two percent on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 700 points in mid-day trading. The U.S. capital market was cast in storm clouds, as money evaporated into thin air. It's no wonder that one New York Stock Exchange trader was complaining in an interview with CNN about Trump threatening tariffs on 100 billion U.S. dollars of imports from China.

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Washington.[Photo: IC]

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Washington. [Photo: IC]

The Trump administration is picking fights around the world. Shortly after he took office, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched a Section 232 investigation on imported steel and aluminum products, and attempted to revise its free trade agreements with its allies. Of course, obedient allies such as South Korea agreed to his demands to avoid greater losses. But the European Union, Japan, and even Argentina and Mexico have been resisting his pressure. So the Trump administration quickly revised the terms of its Section 232 investigation, and gifted some countries exemptions.

As it turns out, this was only a prelude. The real climax was the launch of a Section 301 investigation against China. In this investigation, the Trump administration hasn't even tried to hide its real target, China's "Made in China 2025" program. Naturally, China has reacted strongly to this provocation, saying repeatedly that it's not afraid of a trade war and vowing to "fight to the end". This has come as a surprise to the Trump administration.

It seems that President Trump's "reality show" is failing to convince its viewers. In the year since he took office, investigation into the "Russiagate" scandal has been like a shadow he cannot shake off. Without his tough statements about the world beyond America's borders, what does he have to tell his supporters during the upcoming midterm elections? Due to his administration's tax cuts, U.S. debt has surpassed 21 trillion U.S. dollars, and may continue to grow at an increasing speed. It seems unrealistic to expect that the United States can pay off all its debt. What's more important is that an increasing amount of debt will certainly influence the value of the U.S. dollar: Instability or a loss of the leading status of its currency will certainly be an unacceptable outcome for the United States.

At present, the best strategy for the United States is to keep a low profile and be diligent and thrifty in running its national household. For instance, it can stop being lavish with its spending, make better use of its competitive advantages, and work hard to improve its production efficiency. It can also guarantee the kind of fair competition that would benefit not just its own people, but people around the world. This is the essence of the world's efforts to promote globalization and oppose trade conservatism.

Unfortunately, the United States has strayed off the right track. Instead of seeking cooperation with China, the United States is attempting to take advantage of its position as a global hegemon to obstruct China's development through trade frictions or even a trade war. But the world's center of innovation will continue its move eastward towards China. China has laid a solid economic foundation. Its government and its people continue to invest heavily in scientific research. It has a comprehensive manufacturing industry. There are millions of bright young university graduates entering the workforce each year. And China is shaping up to be home to the world's biggest domestic market.

Chinese people believe in their hearts that to see their country thrive requires good solid work, which is why China has been the world leader in patent applications several years in a row.

The Trump administration may not give up easily on its efforts to obstruct China's economic development. There are more acts to play in their performance. But China will not be deterred by the American president's "reality show" trade war.

(Bian Yongzu, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China)

Related stories

Share this story on


LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.