US-China Trade War

Battles lines drawn between the world's two largest economies
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Background and explainers on the trade war between China, led by President Xi Jinping, and the United States, and its President Donald Trump. Having started in July 2018, the prolonged conflict reached a turning point in January 2020 with the signing of the phase one trade deal, but not after it had weighed heavily on the global economy for 18 months due to additional import tariffs levied by both China and the US. The US has accused China of unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, lack of market access for American companies in China and creating an unlevel playing field through state subsidies of Chinese companies. China, meanwhile, believes the US is trying to restrict its rise as a global economic power.

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The US’ efforts could stifle domestic innovation and drive away start-ups and tech companies while benefiting other countries and forcing China to become free of American tech.
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Damaging though the trade war is, Biden cannot afford to risk mid-term votes. Also, his administration is more preoccupied with defence and security than trade and economics.
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The unexpected turn of events involving the Huawei executive and two Canadians calls for greater interaction between Beijing and Washington in the hope of creating a better understanding to resolve disputes.
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The increasing nationalism of Chinese consumers, as much as supply chain issues and Covid-related disruptions, is the reason international firms are moving overseas, writes Neil Newman.
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Whatever Beijing’s fundamental motives for applying for membership, the economic logic of letting China join the CPTPP is strong. However, China would have to reform substantially to meet the pact’s requirements in addition to overcoming the scepticism of US allies.
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The Biden administration needs the US public on its side with midterm elections looming and control of the Senate and Congress hanging by a thread. There is no electoral choice but to look tough.
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The bombshell revelation that a top US general held secret phone calls with his Chinese counterpart reveals the risks inherent amid rising tensions – but Biden and Xi’s conversation this month is a promising sign that fraught ties can be reset when there are open lines of communication.
SCMP ColumnistWang Xiangwei
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China is now at the stage of capitalism when market forces can’t be counted on to deliver upward mobility to the masses. So the state is stepping in to rebalance economic growth and income distribution.
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China and many other developing countries have benefited greatly from globalisation, and the attempt by detractors to turn back the clock, in the name of ‘economic sovereignty’, is the wrong medicine for globalisation’s ills.
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Increased US-China rivalry, coupled with Covid-19, has caused unprecedented disruptions to supply chains, threatening global production. The last thing the world needs is for inflation to trigger a disastrous stock market or debt crisis.
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While both China and the US are driven by different domestic concerns, neither can ignore the geopolitical impact of their regulation of corporate giants, and investors must remain alert.
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A global shortage of PPE early in the pandemic brought home how interconnected the world is, and how vulnerable its supply chains are. The answer is not stronger domestic production but, rather, flexible multilateral collaboration.
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