While Beijing may not have started the disengagement process, it is committed to seeing it through, with huge efforts to achieve self-reliance. But China’s rise is inseparable from globalisation, and given the economic challenges the country is already facing, many of its efforts seem certain to fail.
The campaign to address gaping inequality by reining in market freedom was at the top of Beijing’s agenda last year. But as new Covid-19 outbreaks and Russia’s aggression threaten to slow China’s already sluggish economy, undoing decades of economic reform is fraught with risks.
America’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada contains two provisions – on currency manipulation and trade with a ‘non-market economy’ – that are drafted with China in mind, and could be used as a template for future accords.