US failure to keep its word hinders trade talks

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/4 3:53:10

Washington suddenly announced that it will impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese exports to the US. This news has shocked the world and is another example of Washington publicly flip-flopping and breaking promises.

From China's white paper on China-US economic and trade consultations, we can clearly see that the volatility of the US side is the main cause of many twists and turns in China-US trade talks. The US side has reneged at least three times in previous rounds, giving the international community unprecedented insight into Washington's lack of integrity. Washington has become increasingly brazen as the talks continued.

China and the US have just resumed high-level trade talks in Shanghai. The briefing of the US side was issued by the White House. It used the same language as China in its assessment of the talks, calling them "constructive." But before global markets could breathe a sigh of relief, the White House changed course on the tariffs without warning.

Washington complained that China had not fulfilled its promise to buy more US agricultural products, but the US Department of Agriculture admitted that a number of purchases had been made and further inquiries were underway. The White House's impatience is not something that international trade on earth can afford. 

Some American scholars believe that Washington's threat to impose new tariffs is to show the American public that the administration is tougher on China than the Democrats. The second reason is to increase its bargaining power for the negotiations with China in September. The first goal is to serve the political interests of America's domestic elections. The second is to try to take advantage. Ultimately, it's about showing how capable this administration is of bringing down a giant opponent like China. In order to achieve these goals, it ignores all rules and principles.

According to US media, some cabinet members who are considered hawks do not support the new tariffs this time. A number of industry associations in the US issued urgent statements explicitly opposing the imposition of tariffs saying this latest move is harmful to all industries in the US.

We don't know to what extent the White House's decision was deliberate or emotional, but various indicators suggest that Washington's current decision-making mechanism lacks rationality and a sense of responsibility to match America's superpower status.

Some say this is Washington's negotiating art, or tactic. It creates tension by surprise attack and applying maximum pressure, which makes the opponent feel under more pressure, so as to maximize the US' own interests.

As a superpower, the US regards itself as the leader of the world. It has turned the existence of certain rules and expected trade conflicts and solutions into guerrilla warfare, destroying the foundation of the international system that serves American interests first.

The above-mentioned strategies and practices pursued by Washington have become the biggest obstacle to progressing the China-US  trade consultations, as well as the biggest threat to the current international economic and trade order. It has had a very negative impact on globalization and global economic growth.

The China-US high-level economic and trade consultations have gone through 12 rounds. Both negotiating teams have worked very hard, but the process is constantly interrupted by sudden bursts of different opinion within the US side.

Almost all analysts agree that Washington is still keen on a China-US trade deal. In this case, the US needs to change its so-called art of the deal and bring out the credibility that is generally accepted and identified by the international community. This is the key to giving the China-US trade deal a chance to finally come to fruition.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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