The State of China-US Trade Relations
China and the US continue to face off on a number of fronts, the South China Sea, Huawei and 5G technology, and their trade negotiations, which President Trump has said will soon be resolved.
Still, former US Commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez, when speaking recently to Sarah Zheng of the South China Morning Post at the Boao, warned, “It would be wrong to assume that this trade war will finish and everything will go back to the way it was. We have a lot of work to do after that to build trust and understanding.”
Meanwhile, the US Committee on the Present Danger seems to be working to incite fear as Tom Plate, a well-known journalist specializing in Sino-American relations, explained they are saying that China is seeking world domination.
This self-appointed committee, which includes former defence and intelligence officials along with high-profile politicians, like former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is encouraging a propaganda attack against as they call it ‘the PRC’s ominous trajectory”, and at the moment, they have a lot of material they can use to support their fearmongering.
The committee says it aims “to help defend America through public education and advocacy against the full array of conventional and non-conventional dangers posed by the People’s Republic of China. As with the Soviet Union in the past, Communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom – one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat.”
Gutierrez offers another approach. “We’re going to be together for a long, long time, and to assume that we can break the world up into China supporters or US supporters – I think that’s wrong.
“I don’t think we can expect every country to have the US system and I’m sure China can’t expect every country to have the Chinese system. The issues we have to face, whether in the World Trade Organisation or bilaterally, are about how we coexist with our differences.”
Meanwhile, America’s battle with Huawei continues. Unfortunately, some years ago, the US tech companies focused on development of the CDMA network while Europe, Asia and China use GSM.
The US has blacklisted most of Huawei’s business and has been pressuring European allies to ban it as well, but the US has no companies to directly compete, which puts them at a further disadvantage. So, in this case, they have to promote Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia of Finland as suppliers for 5G network technology.
Meanwhile, the extradition trial of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou continues in Canada, possibly a sore point as the US-China trade negotiations come to an end.
Another who has voiced concern is former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who has said that Australia’s Huawei 5G ban is a ‘hedge’ against future Chinese aggression.
However, while he and the US Committee on the Present Danger seem to be creating a ‘red scare’, much like the Cold War of the last century, Gutierrez is more optimistic, believing that negotiators do want to solve the impasses through creative negotiation, and that’s really what everyone wants.