US buck passing strategy offers no way forward

China Plus Published: 2019-08-05 22:27:23
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

Washington has been acting outrageously by threatening tariffs and making groundless accusations against China, while at the same time trying to carry on with the trade consultations as if everything was normal.

Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro. [File photo: IC]

Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro. [File photo: IC]

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Sunday that the United States would not eliminate the extra tariffs it imposed on Chinese goods until China stopped what he called the “seven deadly sins,” among which he listed stealing American intellectual property, forcing technology transfer, heavily subsidizing state-owned enterprises, and shipping fentanyl to the United States. Such charges are nothing more than clichés aimed at smearing China.

Take the issue of intellectual property protection as an example. The achievements China has made in this regard have won praise from the international community, and are a vital part of China’s development as an innovation-driven economy. In the first half of this year, the number of foreign applications for invention patents in China reached 78,000, up 8.6 percent year-on-year, with the number of foreign trademark applications reaching 127,000, up 15.4 percent. These combined reflect the strong confidence that global innovation entities have in China’s intellectual property protection. Such efforts have also won praise from Francis Gurry, the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, who recently said China had become “an international leader” in IP protection. In the organization’s latest 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index, China rose to 14th place, up from last year’s ranking of 17th.

As for the issue of fentanyl regulation, China has put 25 types of fentanyl-related substances under generic control, outnumbering the 21 variants regulated by the United Nations. China’s move in May to schedule all fentanyl-related substances as controlled narcotics, which has been welcomed by the international community including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, makes the country a harsher regulator than the United States in controlling the lethal substance. The major reason for the widespread use of fentanyl in the United States is the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs that has long been prevalent in the country in addition to Washington’s failure in narcotics control, rather than the influence of any other countries such as China.

Navarro’s ‘Seven Sins’ are merely part of a smearing game in the face of fierce criticism and opposition from within the United States after President Donald Trump announced a 10 percent additional tariff on 300 billion US dollars of goods imported from China, which is widely believed will cause further damage to the U.S. economy.

Trade bullying will backfire on Washington and U.S. consumers and companies will have to pay the price. According to a recent study by Goldman Sachs, the tariffs on the 200 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports would boost U.S. core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation by 20 basis points, and if Washington imposes tariffs on the roughly 300 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of remaining Chinese goods, “the effect would increase to 50 points.”

Navarro has repeatedly insisted that U.S. consumers would not have to pay more when tackled on the issue by U.S. media over the weekend. However, CNN’s Erin Burnett quoted a statement from Michigan-based furniture manufacture La-Z-Boy, stating that the tariffs put a surcharge of 42 U.S. dollars on a sofa originally priced at 120 U.S. dollars. Also, Fox News’ Chris Wallace pointed out that a chart from the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Commerce showed the levies correlated with higher prices for U.S. consumers.

The White House trade adviser also noted that the U.S. side was “planning on having the Chinese come in September.” But he has to bear in mind that the United States’ unilateral tariff increase on China-made goods triggered the trade tensions. It’s only reasonable that Washington lifts all extra tariffs so that a deal can be reached between the two sides.

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.