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Washington’s trade war causes losses to itself and world

The U.S. bullying trading tactics have caused an increase in costs for international companies, a decrease in their competitiveness, and harm the interests of consumers.

2 mins read
This photo taken on Jan. 20, 2023 shows the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The recent U.S. Census Bureau data suggest that the U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China was larger in 2022 than when Donald Trump was president, said an article on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.

Adding that America’s overall trade deficit hit an all-time high of 1.18 trillion U.S. dollars, Carnegie noted that this fortifies the view that “tariffs would not reduce U.S. trade deficits and the costs would be paid largely by Americans.”

Similarly, the Financial Times recently commented on “waging war on trade,” describing the current U.S. approach as “a negative-sum game” and stressing that politicizing trade will surely lead to wasteful outcomes.

The slowdown in world trade, the article’s author Martin Wolf wrote, the shift towards economic nationalism, and the growing demands in the West for decoupling from China “are reshaping the global economy.”

In recent years, the U.S. bullying trading tactics have caused an increase in costs for international companies, a decrease in their competitiveness, and harm the interests of consumers.

Statistics show that the previous U.S. government has implemented over 3,900 sanctions, which is an average of three sanctions per day. The Biden administration has also announced a “Buy American” rule, requiring any goods purchased with taxpayer money to contain 75 percent American-made content.

Despite what appears to be a periodic implementation of protectionist and unilateral policies, American firms are reluctant to undertake such a shift, which could undermine their prospects in the global economy, said Rahim Teymoori, a researcher at the Development and Foresight Research Center of the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran.

“Although such economic policies would, in the short term, possibly contribute to the U.S. production sector on the back of the government’s financial support and protection, they, in the long run, would harm the U.S. companies’ competitiveness as they would lose a big integrated market, in which their connections have been formed,” he said.

Domestically, Washington’s trade war have caused sweeping losses borne by ordinary people. Worldwide, U.S. protectionist policies can lead to disordered supply chains, severe inflation shocks, and an increase in living costs.

The United States is not only restricting its companies’ overseas economic activities, escalating export controls, and introducing the Chips and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to protect its interests, but also coercing other countries into joining the sanctions and forcing others to do things that are not good for themselves, said a Japanese researcher, noting that “this is an act of the mafia.”

Kiyoyuki Seguchi, research director at Japan’s Canon Institute for Global Studies, said that the U.S. export restrictions on semiconductors have affected companies in Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and other countries, and even the United States itself.

In Seguchi’s opinion, the U.S. adoption of a zero-sum economics policy cannot succeed in the real economic field because “the logic in economic relations is that either win-win or lose-lose, there can be no result where one side wins and the other loses.”

Partly due to U.S. trade protectionism and the spillover effects of previous monetary and fiscal policies, global inflation has risen to a 40-year high and more than 60 percent of low-income developing countries are in debt trouble.

While the Trump administration had tried to bring profits and dividends to the country by imposing tariffs on multinational products, the Biden administration continued with this industrial policy of incentives, fueling high inflation and making the whole world bear the consequences, said Hsia Hua Sheng, an economist at the University of Sao Paulo.

Xinhua News Agency

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