The U.S -China Relationship - Seeker's Thoughts

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Saturday, 29 June 2019

The U.S -China Relationship



The United States and China did not have a smoother relationship in trade in recent years. The conflicts did not seem to end well and there were predictions from the International Monetary Fund that the world’s economic growth will reduce due to ‘protectionism’. At the end of June 2019, the G20 Summit was held in Osaka, Japan. 


During the summit, China did speak against the tendency of protectionism. There were some good developments as well as both countries the United States and China hinted to restart the negotiation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. 

The U.S. and China Conflict –What had happened so far?
The U.S.- China often lock horns and can not come to terms of peace in trade. Their conflict not only threatens them but the entire world will face the consequences of the trade war.
Image Credit- Law.com
In April 2019, the International Monetary Fund reduced the projection for global growth in 2019 to 3.3%, from a 3.5% forecast made in January, citing slowing momentum in “70% of the world economy”. 

The fact is adding evidence that the trade war is not good for the world’s growth.
According to the World Economic Forum, a full-blown US-China tariff war could reduce global GDP growth by 0.7 percentage points (pp) to 2.8% in 2019. 

The impact would be greater on China’s growth (-0.9 pp), due to direct trade effects, and on Europe (-0.8 pp), due to indirect trade effects and financial links (see table). US GDP would decelerate by less (-0.4 pp), due to less direct trade effects and indirect financial links.
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The increase in tariffs imposed on goods crossing international borders essentially represents a new tax on a global economy already facing a slowdown. 

In the multipolar, world there remains a struggle to stay strong and powerful.
The world is no longer dominated by two powerful nations US, and USSR. 

Today the power struggle remains between multiple countries like the US and China are also locking horns against one another.

What is a trade war?

A situation in which countries try to damages each other's trade typically by the imposition of tariffs or quota restrictions. 

Also, Read...
Going through history- one of the most famous examples of US protectionism came during the great depression after world war 1. Domestic US businesses faced increased international competition, as well as declining prices due to overproduction.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, domestic businesses largely supported the protectionist measure and in 1930, President Hoover signed the Smoot Hawley tariff act.

Recent Development: US-China Conflict
America and China are two among the powerful countries in the world. Both of them have massive economic, political and military capacities that allow them to project power and influence around the world.

The US has been the leading world power, on the other hand, China is nowhere considered less powerful nation either. China embarked on three decades of unprecedented economic growth and modernization as well.
America imposed Aluminum and Steel tariffs in early March 2018 in order to protect its own industries. Some other tariffs imposed by the U.S were in the field of aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery.

After all, tariffs imposed by the USA, China placed import duty on a wide range of US product. including scrap aluminum, wine, and apples.
The US again imposed tariffs on about 1,300 Chinese products.
 Later China came out with more tariffs this time taking aim at Boeing planes. America was entertaining the idea of another 100$ billion in tariffs.
The Pause: The G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, In November 2018
The U.S. and Chinese Presidents, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, agreed to a 90-day truce. The two countries will try to find an amicable solution to the various problems plaguing bilateral trade relations, such as disputes over intellectual property rights and Chinese state support for domestic industries, through talks over the next three months.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will refrain from raising the tariff on Chinese goods worth $200 billion from the current rate of 10% to 25% on January 1, 2019, as planned.

 In return, according to the White House, China will purchase agricultural and other goods from the U.S. in order to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries. 

If talks fail, however, increased tariff rates are scheduled to come into force immediately.
In the beginning of 2019 to the end of April 2019 remained peaceful months for both of the countries. Both sides were trying to negotiate a deal, and that kept everything at hold. 

In May 2019, U.S. president, out of nowhere tweeted that he would raise 10% tariff imposed on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 %.
That the Trump administration pressed ahead with the increase even as China’s Vice Premier Liu He was still in Washington for the second day of talks with U.S. trade officials only underscores the businessman-turned-President’s ‘take no prisoners’ approach to negotiations.
 China promptly promised retaliatory action but was yet to spell out the measures. With Mr. Trump tweeting that “the process has begun to place additional tariffs at 25% on the remaining” Chinese goods worth $325 billion, the U.S. administration unambiguously signaled it was not going to be the first to blink.
The latest revival in tensions between the world’s two largest economies elevates the risk of a global trade war to its highest level since the first signs emerged in 2018.

Impacts of the Trade War
Trade war had never been productive for nations in human history. The world is already at stake where the constant crisis of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and another region of African nations keeps on shaking the economic growth. Open borders have helped in poverty alleviation since globalization.
The Sub-Prime crisis in 2008 that sent a wave of shock and paralyzed global trade and led to a credit market meltdown, the global economy has revived.  

As of 2018 the global markets are at an upswing and seeing unprecedented growth patterns.
Today’s business world seemed a golden era of economic growth as the world has a growth rate of 3 to 4 percent. However, there is a phrase ‘ America sneezes and the world catches a cold’, holds the truth. Microeconomic decisions are taken by one country and are felt by everyone else.
Therefore, certainly, if America does something, the entire world is going to face the effects. As, the epicenter of all business activity, the American economy and market have played a big role in shaping the world of business for the rest of us and continues to do so.
Does America realize that it is a trade war with China?
The answer is NO, America believes that it is not in a trade war with China as it already has a trade deficit of $500 bn and is only taking these measures to protect American domestic industry, improve the trade deficit and intellectual property theft.
It is believed that the imposition of tariffs is bad economic policy and the ramifications of it can be far reaching.
The risks of the trade war between America and China is assumed to directly raise the costs of inputs for goods in America and dampen the interests of trade with the two countries. The European Union is looking for countermeasures for US products as they fear their jobs are threatened.
There is also a high possibility of American pulling out of the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) which could potentially have a deep global impact on trade.
The world trade chains are so interlocked, that this does not just affect North American and China but the entire business world as we know it.
Mexican producers and consumers would feel considerable pain. Asian supply chains are also likely to be disrupted, very few players Asia or North America would remain unaffected.


Uncertainty 
Though the beginning is good, however, the uncertainty remains. It is suggested that both countries should come to one platform and negotiate. Imposing tariffs by both countries can create economic chaos worldwide.
It would impact every nation as world bank has warned that the effect of the increased use of tariffs to regulate international trade could be similar to the significant drop in global trade after the financial crisis.
The ongoing trade war remains a lose-lose situation for the warring parties. The only winner will be special interest groups and consumer in countries that do not engage in the tit - for- tat tariff war, but their winning will come at the cost of global growth. 
This is the right decision to pause the conflict, yet there is a factor of uncertainty. It is high time countries worldwide come together to promote the cause of free trade.



                         
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