Raising tariffs is no solution to trade disputes

China Plus Published: 2019-08-30 22:06:22
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

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

Washington's latest threat to impose further tariffs on 550 billion U.S. dollars of goods from China has led to an increased risk of an escalation in the trade tensions between the world's two largest economies. This irrational move won't benefit the United States. Instead, it poses a significant threat to global growth, which is why Beijing has said that the best way for both sides to avoid the foreseeable risks is for Washington to abandon its plans for further levies.

In the second quarter of this year, economic growth in the United States slowed to 2.0 percent from 3.1 percent in the first quarter, evidence that the country's economy is being dragged down by the trade frictions. During this period, American farmers have suffered the devastating blow of losing one of their biggest markets, as China stopped buying American farm produce in response to the escalating pressure from Washington. More than a thousand American ranches have reportedly filed for bankruptcy.

[File Photo: IC]

[File Photo: IC]

The damage resulting from the trade frictions hasn't been limited to the agricultural sector. The running costs of a wide range of American businesses have been pushed higher as a result of the rise in import tariffs. As former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers pointed out in a recent interview, Washington's tactics of piling extra tariffs onto goods from China is designed to fail, and the United States has "lost trillions of dollars of projected company profits because of this effort." And Summers isn't the only one who holds a dim view of America's economic prospects: A recent Wall Street Journal report quoted a survey by the National Association for Business Economics conducted between July 14 and August 1 that found nearly three-quarters of the group's 226 members expect a downturn in the domestic economy by the end of 2021.

International institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have issued warnings time and again that if the trade tensions continue to escalate, the world economy will slide closer to a recession. This is why the international community has been asking Washington to stop its trade protectionism and embrace free trade and globalization.

It's time for the United States to get back onto the right track and begin a new round of negotiations on the basis of mutual respect. Only fair and rational solutions to its trade problems will benefit American business and the American people, as well as the rest of the world.

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 chinaandgreece.com, 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.