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

US urged to comply with WTO ruling

The US, under Trump, has shunned several international organizations. The United States has challenged the authority of the World Trade Organization by ignoring a WTO ruling, and such a move may escalate trade tension with China, experts said on Wednesday. The WTO announced on Tuesday that the revised countervailing measures imposed by the US on imports of certain products from China were inconsistent with WTO laws. However, the US failed to comply with the WTO ruling and accused China of “using State-owned enterprises to subsidize its economy”. The WTO mechanism is what members use to settle trade disputes, and countries in most cases abide by the rulings made by the organization, said Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the China Society for WTO Studies. “If member economies don’t follow this procedure, the rule-based global multilateral system will be damaged and thr


By China Daily
July 19, 2019

Economics, Opinion, Politics

S. Korea may review military info-sharing pact with Japan

It is unclear how the ongoing trade dispute with Japan has affected the decision. A senior Blue House official said Thursday South Korea will review whether to renew a pact with Japan on sharing military information, if needed, according to a politician here. “For now, (the government) has a position to maintain it. It can be reconsidered in accordance with (relevant) situations,” Chung Eui-yong, director of Cheong Wa Dae’s national security office, was quoted by Rep. Sim Sang-jung, head of the progressive Justice Party, as saying during a closed-door meeting with politicians. Chung, during the meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, briefed the politicians on the government’s response to Japan’s tougher export restrictions against South Korea.Sim told reporters that she raised the issue of the bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in the meeting.


By The Korea Herald
July 19, 2019

Economics, Opinion, Politics

S. Korea cuts growth outlook to 2.2%, key rate to 1.5% amid uncertainties

Japan’s export curbs had impact on drastic lowering of outlook: BOK chief. The Bank of Korea has slashed its forecast for this year’s economic growth to 2.2 percent, reflecting the negative impact of external uncertainties including Japan’s ongoing export curbs. It also carried out an earlier-than-expected base interest rate cut to 1.5 percent, embracing the monetary easing signals in the United States and other developed economies. “Considering the changes in economic conditions since the last outlook (announcement) in April, we have set the economic growth rate for this year at 2.2 percent and the consumer price inflation at 0.7 percent,


By The Korea Herald
July 19, 2019

Economics, Opinion, Politics

US tourism feels trade war pinch

Chinese travel fell 5.7 percent in 2018, its first drop in 15 years.  Travelers from China are seeking alternative destinations amid the trade war with the United States, as travel industry insiders keep a close eye on the decline in the number of those visitors. China is the third-largest source of overseas travel to the US, producing 3.2 million visitors in 2017 and accounting for 8.2 percent of all overseas travel to the country, according to the US Travel Association. Travel is the top US industry export to China, generating a $29.8 billion trade surplus with the country in 2017 and accounting for 19 percent of all exports. In addition, Chinese tourists spend an average of $6,700 per trip, about 50 percent more than the average for international visitors. Chinese travel to the US fell by 5.7 percent last year to 2.9 million visitors, the first fall in 15 years, according to


By China Daily
July 18, 2019

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Sino-Africa partnership holds much potential

China has increasingly looked to the continent as an integral part of its plans. Africa’s Agenda 2063, adopted by the African Union in 2013, clearly outlines Africa’s priority areas for economic growth and development, as well as the implementation plan to be achieved during the 50-year period. The framework provides a blueprint of opportunities for continued cooperation with global development partners such as China. Out of 54 African states, 53 have bilateral relations with China under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. China views its Africa ties as indispensable for the attainment of its Belt and Road Initiative, which was launched in 2013 as a strategic policy for global engagement. Under the auspices of the BRI, China has conscientiously made a detailed case for cooperation to facilitate a mutual development agenda between China and Africa. As of April, 37 African nations an


By China Daily
July 17, 2019

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Civilian rule officially restored as King swears in Prayut II govt

The government is made up of many of the same advisors and ministers as the previous military government. The new Prayut Chan-o-cha government was sworn in on Tuesday during a ceremony overseen by His Majesty the King, signalling the return of civilian rule after five years following the military coup in 2014. The ceremony took place at 6pm in the Amphorn Satharn Throne Hall, where all 36 ministers were present. In a break with tradition, however, television cameras were not on hand to record the event. The historic occasion marked the first time that HM the King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, as head of state, together with Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, has overseen the advent of a new government – the King’s first event of such kind after his Coronation in May. Also new was the venue for the ceremony, which has previously been held in the


By Cod Satrusayang
July 17, 2019