China, India can rise above competition to work against Trump’s protectionism

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/6 22:03:40

The rise of "Make in India" will probably bring China and India into intensified competition in some industries, but it will also help them find more common ground in their own national interests to counter the pressure of trade protectionism.

Interaction between Beijing and New Delhi has increased since US President Donald Trump started to inch toward a trade war. In late April, India joined China and several other countries at the WTO to warn the US about its unilateral trade measures imposed under Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, according to Indian media outlets. Now, the two Asian countries should go further to align their strategies and plan together for mutually beneficial cooperation, to jointly restrain the rise of unilateralism and trade protectionism. New Delhi once took a wait-and-see attitude when it involved the trade war between China the US, but there has been a subtle change. The external environment is becoming unfriendly to the development of an export-oriented economy in the South Asian country.

In March, India's merchandise exports fell 0.7 percent compared with a year earlier. Trump's anti-globalization rhetoric has become an obstruction to India's growth into a world factory. After years of estrangement due to the notion of dragon-elephant competition, China is now an appropriate partner for India to put pressure on the White House.

Most Asian countries are closely watching the possibility of an economic alliance between China and India. In April, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted by Associated Press as saying that "Southeast Asian countries will work more closely with new powers China and India to counter the pressure of protectionism." It seems that India's increasingly close interaction with China is likely to help New Delhi gain prestige and respect among regional nations, most of which have export-oriented economies and endorse economic globalization. The recent informal meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked a milestone in bilateral relations. China has proposed that the two Asian emerging powers should try to work together to tackle global problems.

With the summit having set the direction of cooperation, the governments in the two countries need to work out a detailed plan to fight against unilateralism and protectionism.

China and India should shoulder the responsibility of global economic governance by strengthening cooperation within international organizations like the WTO. With policy coordination, the two countries can take the lead in restraining unilateralism and protectionism.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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