Trump’s looming trade war with China may threaten huge number of US jobs

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/11 23:03:40

American workers will pay the price for the US escalating trade friction with China. Many jobs in the US are linked directly or indirectly to the performance of US exports to China, whether the workers involved know it or not.

In 2015, of the 11.5 million jobs supported by US exports, goods and services exports to China supported an estimated 910,000 jobs, putting China among the top five countries for jobs supported by exports, according to a report by the US International Trade Administration.

In 2017, US exports of goods and services to China totaled $186.8 billion, up from $165.1 billion in 2015, data from the US Department of Commerce showed. So the number of jobs supported by US exports to China may have risen to more than 1 million last year.

If President Donald Trump starts a trade war, China will fight to the end to defend its interests.

The 1 million US jobs are being threatened as a result of the protectionist measures taken by Trump, who promised to be the greatest job-creating president in US history.

What's worse, fear of a trade war has been curbing the enthusiasm of Chinese investors with regard to US markets. According to a report released on Tuesday by the National Committee on US-China Relations, China's outbound direct investment to the US fell to $29 billion in 2017 from $46 billion in the previous year. Another huge decrease is likely this year if a trade war is initiated by the US.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun last year promised to create 1 million jobs in the US by empowering small US businesses to sell to hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers through Alibaba's platforms, but Ma said on Monday the promise will be null and void if bilateral trade relations deteriorate.

Trump's push to increase US manufacturing jobs is being hampered as some companies wait to see whether the US will lose markets in China, which is one of the main export destinations for such companies.

In March, the US added 22,000 manufacturing jobs, but the situation will change as more investors join the ranks of companies like Alibaba. At the least, we believe all Chinese companies will stand side-by-side with China if Trump starts a trade war.

The past few decades have witnessed the rise of global value chains. Trump's latest tariff plan on imports from China will bring harm to many US companies as they lose their supply chains in China. Shifting to more expensive suppliers will make their prices less competitive in the global markets, which will be another cause of significant job losses in the US.

Ma was quoted by media reports as saying that if China and the US "don't have good relations, we're going to destroy 10 million jobs." Some observers think Ma exaggerated, but we believe the actual situation could be even worse if a trade war is escalated by the US.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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