The sanctions used by America will only make China more mature
Published: Aug 29, 2023 07:48 PM
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao meets with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Beijing on August 28, 2023. Photo:IC

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao meets with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Beijing on August 28, 2023. Photo:IC

China and the US will establish a new communication channel between their commerce authorities, according to a statement released by China's Ministry Commerce. The two sides also agreed to form a working group. This is an outcome of US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo's visit to China, sending a signal to the world that both countries want to stabilize China-US trade. 

However, the majority of ordinary Chinese people still have serious doubts about the sincerity of the US side, especially since Raimondo explicitly stated that the US will not compromise or negotiate on matters of national security. It is apparent that the US hopes the working group will be used to coordinate the implementation of export controls rather than address the export control regulations themselves. This leads people to believe that the US not only intends to maintain restrictions on chip exports to China but also does not rule out the possibility of further expanding the scope of the restrictions.

The US and China have a huge gap in their understanding of stabilizing China-US trade relations. Raimondo showed off a number of personal care products produced by American companies during an event in Beijing, stating that "no one can argue that health and beauty aids interfere in our national security," and that 99 percent of trade between the two countries is unrelated to export controls. This not only alleviates concerns about an unlimited contraction of China-US trade but also further confirms a view held by the Chinese people: The US hopes to forcefully keep China at a development level far below that of the US and the West, maintaining an unequal exchange of goods. China would serve as a consumer market for US technology products and contribute to the US' long-term prosperity in the low-end and mid-range sectors. 

China cannot accept such a hegemonic arrangement. We hope that the future development pattern between China and the US will be shaped by free market competition. The Chinese people have the inherent right to move toward comprehensive modernization and should not be forcibly placed in a disadvantaged position. Even God does not have the right to make such coercive arrangements, let alone the US.

Therefore, China has made the decision to restrict the export of gallium and germanium starting in August. This will also pose difficulties for the US high-tech industry, and some American companies are already feeling the pressure of this Chinese policy. In addition, as the US continues to wave the stick of sanctions toward China, China's national security needs to be better safeguarded. Micron Technology's products have been partially banned in China, and an acquisition plan of Intel has been halted. 

Furthermore, China's efforts to develop the semiconductor industry are fully underway, with news of progress being constantly reported. China's chip production capacity has grown to account for 16 percent of global capacity, and progress has been made in achieving manufacturing precision at 14nm and 7nm. Huawei announced this month that it has made significant progress in the GPU sector, achieving comparable capabilities and performance to Nvidia's A100.

The US hopes to completely limit China's computing power to a low threshold, but this is clearly impossible. China's huge demand provides ample funding and product sales space for research and development, and with each step forward, the profits of the US semiconductor industry will decrease, objectively forming a long-term trend of semiconductor wealth gradually shifting from the US to China.

As many Chinese companies are concerned that the decoupling of high-tech industries between the US and China will cause overall damage to bilateral trade, many export-oriented companies are actively exploring other markets as a "backup plan." Restructuring supply chains and sales networks will also increase trade costs for both China and the US.

In my opinion, the US has exhausted most of its means to sanction China, and the damage it has caused to China is already at a high level. However, it has been proven that China can withstand these losses. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has temporarily strengthened its control over foreign exchanges. Despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy, which is compounded by these losses, it is evident that it has not "collapsed" as the Washington elites had hoped. In a relatively low period, the strength of Chinese society is actually reconsolidating.

In the years following the deterioration of China-US relations, China has faced unprecedented external challenges since its reform and opening-up. At the same time, we have also made some important gains. Firstly, many people used to believe that China's prosperity heavily relied on the US, but the collective fear of the US has now disappeared in Chinese society. The US is powerful, but not as formidable as we previously thought. Its ability to harm China is very limited, and independent innovation has become a more realistic choice.

Secondly, the idea of opening up to the outside world has not receded due to US suppression but has become even stronger. Chinese people strongly disapprove of US policies toward China, but this has not prompted us to impulsively retaliate by reducing exchanges with the US. China has handled its relations with the US very rationally and has maintained a rational approach toward other Western countries as well. Therefore, the overall framework of trade between China and the West remains stable, and with the accelerated development of the Belt and Road Initialize, our path of opening up to the outside world is becoming more consolidated.

The US has imposed strategic competition on China, and the result is that China is becoming more mature amid the storms. If you want a trade war, we will accompany you; if you want to stabilize China-US trade relations to a certain extent, we will also cooperate. In this fluctuating process, the Chinese people increasingly understand one thing: We need to focus on doing our own things well. This is our biggest leverage and resource in dealing with our complex relationship with the US. 

The author is a Chinese media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn