See More on Facebook

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Zero-sum mindset risks opening a Pandora’s box

Chinese and US officials must do all they can to avoid a trade war.


Written by

Updated: March 30, 2018

While Chinese and the US officials have indicated the two sides are willing to talk to end their trade frictions and pull the world’s top two economies back from the brink of a trade war, that merely addresses the symptoms rather than the underlying illness that bedevils relations.

As White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Wednesday, the United States’ offensive is not only about trade, it’s also focused on protecting the US’ leading position in high-tech industries such as robotics, advanced information technology and aviation, industries which China has identified in its Made in China 2025 strategy as the focus for the country’s future development.

That China’s strategy has spooked the US can be seen from the report released last week by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which presented the results of its Section 301 investigation into what the US alleges are China’s unfair trade practices – this report refers to Made in China 2025 more than 100 times in 200 pages.

Yet it is natural that China should draw up such a plan at this critical stage in its development, since it needs to successfully transition from labor-intensive manufacturing up the value-added chain to drive its future development. Especially since Beijing is well aware that the world is on the cusp of a new technological revolution.

As Premier Li Keqiang said in this year’s Government Work Report, the latest global revolution in science and technology and industrial transformation are trends China “must be on board with”.

But as Navarro’s comments show, fearful of China rivaling it in advanced technology, the US is transitioning from the engagement that has underpinned its relationship with China until now to a more confrontational approach.

The US’ bid to contain China’s technological advancement is part of its wider strategy to maintain its global predominance, but the times are changing, and the Trump administration cannot reverse time’s arrow back to the 1980s.

Rather than looking to further block Chinese investment in high-tech sectors in a vain attempt to hold back China’s economic rise, the Trump administration should heed the observation in its own National Security Strategy that “competition does not always mean hostility”.

Instead of opening a Pandora’s box of protectionist trade practices, if it shifts its perspective a little, the US would see that its vision of countries “thriving side-by-side in prosperity, freedom, and peace” is no different from that of China and there is no reason why the two countries need to lock horns.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


China Daily
About the Author: China Daily covers domestic and world news through nine print editions and digital media worldwide.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics, Opinion, Politics

‘Historic’ Khmer Rouge verdict to be delivered

Tribunal to deliver verdicts against two Khmer Rouge leaders for Cambodian genocide. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are to deliver the verdict on Friday, in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, in a pronouncement hailed as a “historic event for Cambodia and the world”. The verdict from the ECCC, also known as the Khmer Rouge tribunal, will come after Case 002/2, which charged the men with crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, took 283 days to be heard over a three-year period. Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said at a press briefing on Thursday that the verdicts in Case 002/02 will be announced from 9:30am, with around 500 representatives from the UN, the Cambodian government, embassies and members of the public present. “The trial is a part of the process of providing justice for the


By Phnom Phen Post
November 16, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Pakistan says Asia Bibi’s rights will be respected

Imran Khan on Tuesday reaffirmed his government’s resolve to respect the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman recently freed from prison after her blasphemy conviction was overturned. “As citizens of Pakistan, Asia Bibi and her family are entitled to all rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan,” the premier told European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who had telephoned Khan. According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tajani thanked Khan for ensuring the safety and security of Bibi and her family. Assuring the prime minister of the EU Parliament’s cooperation with the Pakistani government, Tajani said that a debate on Bibi scheduled to be held in the EU Parliament had been postponed. Bibi has been blocked from leaving Pakistan after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of


By Dawn
November 14, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Malaysia Cabinet agrees to scrap death penalty

If approved by lawmakers, capital punishment will be replaced with minimum 30 years in jail. Malaysia’s de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong told Parliament yesterday that the Cabinet has agreed to scrap the death penalty, including for murder, but Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appeared to hedge over the matter by telling reporters that the government would review abolishing it for murder. “We are reviewing it. The death penalty is one of those that we will review,” she said when asked if the government would keep the death penalty for child murders. But when The Straits Times contacted Datuk Liew again, he insisted that “all 32 death penalty offences found in eight of our laws” would be abolished.


By The Straits Times
November 14, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Aung San Suu Kyi wants foreign investment amid international pressure

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi wants the world to see her country as a business and investment opportunity waiting to be seized. Suu Kyi made the pitch that Myanmar is “the last frontier of Southeast Asia” in a keynote speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit, on the sidelines of the main Asean Summit, which will be held from Monday to Thursday in Singapore. Suu Kyi acknowledged that Myanmar very behind in this respect, saying “this may sound old hat to you, but it’s very very new to us. We want you to know we are catching up with the rest of the world.” There is certainly a long way for Myanmar to go. Just weeks ago, in late October, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, an index that evaluates “the regulations that enha


By Quinn Libson
November 14, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018