Stifling state control of China’s economy threatens stagnation at home and the livelihoods of workers abroad.
Massive government subsidies have been used to give the country’s manufacturers the edge so they can undercut global rivals and flood overseas markets.
At the same time, President Xi Jinping’s “dual-circulation” policy will make China less reliant on the outside world.
A slowdown in opening up the economy to foreign firms has added to fears that Beijing is reneging on pledges made after joining the World Trade Organization.
“Unfair trade practices [have] given Beijing an unfair advantage in the global trading system,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington earlier this week.
“[China] continues to shape its economy to the will of the state, hurting the interests of workers in the United States and around the world,” she added.
- Tai has promised a “top-to-bottom” policy review of trade with China.
- She is planning talks with Liu He, China’s vice-premier and Xi’s economic tsar.
- Before that, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with Yang Jiechi, a senior Chinese foreign policy official, in Zurich.
- The move came after President Joe Biden talked to General-Secretary Xi.
- They discussed rising tension in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
Delve deeper: China faces stunted growth if it continues to target the private sector, a report by the Atlantic Council, a US think tank, and consultancy Rhodium Group revealed.
Shrink rapped: “Without a market-oriented shift, China will struggle to maintain a growth potential that exceeds 3% annually by the middle of this decade,” the study, released earlier this week, pointed out.
Risk factor: “President Xi’s pledge to make markets decisive at the start of his tenure is at risk of failure,” the report stated.
Big picture: Relations between Beijing and Washington are stuck in the ice age on a range of issues. Tension in the South China Sea, a pro-democracy crackdown in Hong Kong and human rights abuses in Xinjiang have destabilized the geopolitical landscape. Trade and technology rows have added to a toxic atmosphere.
Talking shop: “We can’t tolerate the Chinese behaving like this anymore because it harms America, but we’re going to talk to them about it. When has that ever worked?” Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Reuters news agency, referring to Trade Representative Tai’s remarks.
China Factor comment: Washington needs to cash in its chips if Beijing continues to play red roulette diplomacy with a fixed wheel.