The United States has insisted on a hardline stance in the trade war and forced China to make concessions, but it seems that it has no other weapons of pressure.
After the U.S. Presidents Online Summit on November 15 Joe Biden And the President of China Xi JinpingObservers assessed that both sides are interested in the goal of easing tensions. However, there is still a big gap between the two countries on a series of issues such as geopolitical influence, human rights, science and technology, and trade.
One of the biggest entanglements between the two countries is the implementation of the first phase of the agreement to end the trade war initiated by President Donald Trump. According to the first phase of the trade agreement, China has pledged to purchase US$200 billion more US goods between 2020 and 2021 than in 2017.
The agreement will expire on December 31, but China is far behind its goal of buying American goods. Peterson Institute of International Economics expert Chad Bowen said that so far, China has only fulfilled 60% of its commitment to purchase American products.
According to a statement issued by the US after the talks on November 15, Biden “emphasized that it is important for China to fulfill the commitments of the first phase of the agreement, and expressed his desire to see progress.” In fact, it came from the discussion by U.S. Trade Representative Catherine. Dai He Liu He, Vice Premier of China.”
Chen Fengying, a senior researcher at the China Institute of Modern International Relations (CICIR), assessed China’s commitment to buying American goods. China Under the first phase of the trade agreement, supply chain issues will be the focus of future discussions between Ms. Dai and Mr. Liu, especially as the Biden administration seeks to cool the United States’ record-setting inflation.
If Beijing fulfills its commitments in the agreement, the United States can cancel the 7.5% tariff on Chinese goods worth 120 billion U.S. dollars and reduce the 25% tariff on Chinese goods worth 250 billion U.S. dollars.
In addition to intellectual property rights and agreed procurement, the US-China Business Council, an advocacy organization representing more than 200 U.S. companies, stated that it expects to advance other issues, including increasing equal market access for U.S. companies in China, relaxing travel restrictions, and addressing China State-owned enterprise subsidy disputes, or China’s obligations to the organization. World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We hope to arrange a meeting between officials of the two countries as soon as possible to discuss US-China economic and trade issues. The challenges are very serious and require a lot of effort to resolve. The reason,” US President Craig Allen said. US-China Business Council.
However, analysts said that in the context of the US-China superpower competition being unable to cool down after the summit, bilateral trade negotiations will contain a series of complex issues.
“One of them is that the Biden administration cannot persuade China to make changes it doesn’t want to make,” said Derek Scissors, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.
US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said on November 16 that Washington is fully evaluating tools that can be used to respond to Beijing’s “non-market” economic activities.
A day later, the United States, Japan, and the European Union (EU) jointly announced the extension of the tripartite partnership to “respond to the global challenges posed by the non-market policies and behaviors of non-market countries.” Other countries. Trade Representative Dai also traveled to South Korea and India to strengthen relations with Asian allies.
Chinese policy advisers worry that if the United States and China do not maintain diplomatic peace, any future economic agreement may be threatened. Some people pointed out that the EU suspended the ratification of the comprehensive investment agreement with China earlier this year due to differences in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and other issues.
At the same time, China seems to be increasingly convinced that it is capable of responding to challenges from the United States, while the Biden administration maintains the same tough strategy as its predecessor. Donald Trump When dealing with Beijing.
“They will once again invoke market economy and fair competition standards to force China to reform state-owned enterprises, industrial policies, government subsidies, labor rights, climate or protection of intellectual property rights,” said Xu Lin, China’s trade negotiator. Maintain an advantage over China.
Xu said that in response to the US strategy, China must press Western countries to lift the ban on high-tech exports. “If the U.S. refuses to do so, China has the right to implement export substitution policies in related fields,” the negotiator said.
Wang Yong, director of the Center for American Studies at Peking University, pointed out that based on the two parties’ stance that Washington must be tough on Beijing, President Biden seems unwilling and unable to reach an agreement with China before next year’s midterm elections.
“The results of the tariff war, supply chain disruption, and US macroeconomic problems show that they have no more weapons to put pressure on China,” Wang said.
The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on China have so far failed to produce much effect because Beijing has adopted a dual-cycle strategy of promoting technological self-reliance and relying on the growth of the domestic market.
China has also indicated its intention to strengthen its trading position in the following ways Application Apply to join the Comprehensive Progress Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The United States initiated the TPP negotiation process, but Trump decided in 2017 to withdraw from the agreement on the grounds that the agreement did not bring benefits to workers in the country.
sheet Global Times The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, stated that applying to join the CPTPP strengthened Beijing’s “leading position in global trade” and made Washington “increasingly isolated”.
Reuters On November 18, the United States quoted an unnamed source as saying that it put pressure on South Korean chip maker SK Hynix to stop its plan to upgrade its large-scale production line in Wuxi, Jiangsu.
Chinese state media claimed that this was a manifestation of the US’s use of political supremacy to hinder normal business, and warned that such “interference” would further disrupt the supply chain. The global supply chain is already dealing with semiconductor shortages.
However, experts said that although the United States no longer possesses effective weapons to continue to exert pressure on China without interrupting the global supply chain, the United States will continue to maintain a tough attitude towards Beijing, possibly even more severely.
Expert Chen Fengying said: “The United States is more willing to discuss with its allies rather than directly negotiate with China because they realize that they can no longer deal with China alone.”
luster (follow South China Morning Post)