Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Beijing
Sino/US trade disputes remain far from resolved. Trade war neither country wants remains a possibility, assuring losers, not winners if launched by Trump.
A US delegation headed by Wilbur Ross is in Beijing, meeting with their counterparts led by Vice Premier Liu He, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency saying:
“The achievements reached by both China and the US should be based on the premise that the two sides are coming from opposite directions and will not fight a trade war,” adding:
“If the United States introduces trade sanctions, including levying additional tariffs (on Chinese products), all the economic and trade agreements reached by both sides will not go into effect.”
Talks are focusing on narrowing China’s large trade surplus with America – a record $375 billion last year.
Economist Michael Hudson noted Washington’s double standard in dealing with other countries – on trade issues, saying US officials “push…free trade for other countries, protectionism for the United States alone.”
Mid-19th century US economic development depended on prioritizing industrialization, a continental railroad system, a new era of farm machinery and cheap tools.
It featured public education along with a Land Grant College system establishing free higher education.
What Diogenes called “the foundation of every state,” father of American education Horace Mann once called mankind’s “greatest discovery, (the) great equalizer, common” to all – adding “(t)he public school is the greatest discovery made by man,” the bedrock of societal development.
The Homestead Act gave settlers ownership rights, encouraging land development. Washington supported all branches of sciences. It promoted standardization and mass production.
Economic growth was stimulated by a 600% increase in government spending, along with cheap credit focused on industrialization.
Lincoln did it with United States Notes called Greenbacks – the federal government in charge of its own money, not the Wall Street owned, operated and controlled Federal Reserve banking cartel.
Early development tariffs protected and promoted domestic industrial growth. Washington calls it unfair for China to support its economy the way America did during its earlier development year.
The US promotes global privatization and neoliberal harshness. It wants its own corporate interests benefitting at the expense of other countries.
It wants America having an unfair trade advantage over other nations, making them dependent on US foreign policy.
The Trump regime calls nations, like China, having a trade surplus with America “unfair trade,” wanting the US to be advantaged over all other countries.
Beijing resists his efforts to prevent transforming the nation into a leading worldwide technology competitor.
Its “Made in China 2025” calls for establishing global leadership in key high-tech areas. It won’t tolerate efforts by Washington or other countries to compromise its objectives.
According to China analyst He Weiwen, Beijing “is willing to sit down and negotiate. The country does have a need to import more consumer goods and natural gas. But it is also well prepared. If the US imposes tariffs on Chinese products, the Chinese side” will respond in kind.
A Final Comment
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch (GTW) asked if Wilbur Ross is negotiating with China for Washington or his own business interests, saying:
He and/or his family “may benefit from a $125 million stake in a liquefied natural gas shipping (LNG) company called Navigator that could profit from the new US gas shipments to China that Ross is slated to negotiate during his…trade” talks.
His “conflicts of interest call into question in whose interest Ross will be negotiating” during trade talks with China.
GTW director Lori Wallach said the following:
“Secretary Ross making more gas export deals instead of addressing the Chinese policies hurting the US manufacturing sector that President Donald Trump pledged to revive smacks of self-dealing,” adding:
“(T)hat scent is in the air, given Trump just personally intervened to reverse national security sanctions against Chinese firm ZTE after a Chinese government firm bailed out a real estate development in which the Trump Organization was invested.”
GTW cited Ross’ conflicts of interest throughout his tenure as commerce secretary, calling them “advanced priorities that benefit his holdings in shipping and natural gas firms.”
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”