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Four Lessons Washington Needs to Learn From Its Trade War With China
It is time for trade hawks in Washington to start learning at least four lessons from their futile trade war with China
  ·  2019-09-09  ·   Source: NO. 37 SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
A U.S. industrial insider presents fireworks from central China's Hunan Province in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 25 (XINHUA)

Students in many parts of the world are heading back to school for a new semester. In the same vain, it is also time for trade hawks in Washington to start learning at least four lessons from their futile trade war with China.

The first lesson is that China is an unbent nail in the face of the U.S. tactic of maximum pressure.

On September 1, part of the new additional tariffs imposed by the U.S. Government on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports took effect, while the rest will come into force on December 15.

However, Washington's ever escalating trade offensive, which seeks to extract unreasonable concessions from Beijing, has collapsed. Moreover, China's determination to fight against the U.S. economic warmongering has only grown stronger, and its countermeasures more resolute, measured and targeted. A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said on August 29 that Beijing still has sufficient measures at its disposal.

The second lesson the White House pro-tariff people should learn is that the Chinese economy is strong and resilient enough to resist the pressure brought about by the ongoing trade war.

Some in the United States have recently been attempting to prod U.S. companies into finding alternatives to China. Yet the fact is that U.S. investment in China is still on the rise. In the first half of the year, U.S. companies invested $6.8 billion in China, an increase of 1.5 percent over the same period in the past two years, according to the latest data from New York economic research firm Rongding Consulting. Among them, electric carmaker Tesla launched its global giga factory in Shanghai.

One key reason for this is that China boasts the world's most populous consumer market, with more than 400 million middle-income consumers.

As the only country in the world with all the United Nations industrial categories, China is able to provide complete industrial and supply chains for multinational companies and reduce their costs. This is an advantage no other country is going to be able to provide in the foreseeable future.

At the moment, the Chinese Government is seeking to step up the protection of intellectual property rights, level the playing field for overseas investors and expand investor access to the Chinese market. It is expected that these new reform and opening-up measures will bring more business opportunities to enterprises from around the world.

The third lesson Washington's trade hardliners need to heed is that they must stop denying that their trade war is hurting U.S. people and businesses.

The latest tariffs on Chinese imports will hit products for the first time that previously had not been directly targeted, and the U.S.-initiated trade and tariff dispute is likely to directly raise prices for many household budget items such as textiles, clothing, footwear and toys, among others.

JPMorgan researchers recently estimated that U.S. families will be facing about $1,000 in additional costs from all tariffs on Chinese goods annually after the new levies go into effect, adding that these costs could shoot up to as high as $1,500 a year if Washington proceeds with its threat of further hiking tariffs.

The ongoing trade war with China is also dampening business investment and manufacturing. The U.S. Commerce Department said on August 29 that it revised the second-quarter growth of the U.S. economy to 2 percent, down from the 2.1 percent estimated in August.

Last but not the least, the United States should learn how to behave like a responsible global power and stop acting like a school bully. As the world's only superpower, it needs to shoulder its due responsibility and join other countries in making this world a better and more prosperous place.

Only then can the U.S. be great.

This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published by Xinhua News Agency

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

Comments to dengyaqing@bjreview.com

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