The trade conflict between the U.S. and China is heating up as talks between the two nations concluded without any resolution. Though the American side did all they could to resolve the matter with a mutually beneficial agreement, it failed to appease the power-hungry Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Hungry for power
Over the past few decades, the CCP has used various measures — like currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property, corporate espionage, and discriminatory preference for Chinese companies — in order to “catch up” with America on the technological level. Most U.S. leaders took little action against such activities. However, when President Trump came into power, he started going after China’s anti-American policies and eventually triggered the current trade conflict.
At the recent talks, the Trump administration was clear that it wanted the CCP to make some fundamental changes in the way they operate. Only then would the U.S. enter into some sort of agreement with Beijing. Some of the American demands included ending state monopolies in oil, telecom, and power industries, ensuring freedom of the press, protecting assets of foreign businessmen, ensuring fair competition between foreign and domestic companies, stopping subsidies given to state-owned firms, strengthening intellectual property laws, protecting human rights, and so on.
If implemented, Chinese society would have become a free-market economy with laws protecting personal freedoms. However, this would also mean the end of the CCP’s authoritarian rule over the country. And since the Party clearly does not intend to give up its power, it chose to avoid negotiations. They essentially chose to put Chinese people at great economic risk. The CCP also made a crucial mistake in thinking that Trump would be easy to deal with.
“Chinese negotiators believed they had leverage because Trump ‘was worried about the future course of the U.S. economy and therefore may be more eager to do a deal.’ Big mistake. The U.S. economy is booming, unemployment is at the lowest level in five decades, and wages are rising. In fact, America’s biggest economic problem is that we have more job openings than unemployed people to fill them,” according to The Washington Post.
Following failed negotiations, Trump raised the tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent. In addition, goods worth US$300 billion will also be brought under new tariffs very soon. The U.S. administration is going after Chinese tech companies to curtail their presence in the country. For instance, a recent executive order from President Trump, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” effectively bans Huawei in America.
Boycotting US products
China’s state-run media has been carrying on regular propaganda, asking Chinese people to boycott American products as “retaliation” against the trade war. A business named Jinggang Motor Vehicle Inspection Station issued a notice recently that demanded workers to stop spending money on U.S. products and services.
“To help our country win this war, company authorities have decided that all employees must immediately stop purchasing and using American products… Employees are prohibited from purchasing or using iPhones; instead, they are recommended to use Chinese domestic brands of cell phones, such as Huawei… Employees are not allowed to purchase vehicles made by China-U.S. joint venture automakers. They are recommended to purchase 100 percent Chinese-made vehicles,” the notice stated (The Epoch Times).
The new rules forbid workers from eating at KFC or McDonald’s and buying products manufactured by Amway or P&G. Employees have also been asked not to visit the U.S. as tourists. Those who violate the rules will be expelled from the company.