By Zhong Sheng
“We seek a relationship grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty.” This is a beautiful story told by US Vice President Mike Pence, but in reality, the US is seeking its own interests regardless of the losses of others, as it believes in the “winner-takes-all” philosophy.
If reciprocity really is what the US is seeking, why are some US politicians holding the “big stick” of tariffs and unabashedly fanning that tariffs would bring billions of dollars in economic benefits to their country and cause huge losses for their trade partners?
Truth was unfolded by a recent article published on Foreign Policy which said there is a set of globally applicable rules from which everyone can benefit, but these rules are especially favorable to the US.
The US is a major establisher and a long-term dominator of the multilateral trading system, and has been taking an advantageous position in trade liberalization and investment facilitation.
By its superiority in technology, capital and rules, the US has established a global value chain with transnational corporations at the core, gaining huge profits in the global market, particularly the Chinese market.
For instance, the production of General Motors in China accounted for 40 percent of its global total; Qualcomm’s income from chip sales and patent royalties in China accounted for 57% of its total revenue; Intel’s revenues in China (including the Hong Kong region) accounted for 23.6% of its total revenue. Besides, in the fiscal year of 2017, revenues from Greater China accounted for 19.5% of the Apple Inc. total.
According to official statistics released by the US, the investment, sales and net income of American transnational corporations in China were up by 111.4 percent, 140.3 percent and 151.3 percent, respectively, from 2009 to 2016.
The above figures indicate that the US has not been losing on the global value chain. On the contrary, it is gaining huge profits.
What the US doesn’t want to see is the rise of other countries. In order to maintain its leadership and dominance in the world, it even resorted to national administrative power, and made groundless accusations to suppress the technology enterprises of other countries, in a bid to win more space and time for US companies to take over the global high-tech market and keep monopoly in the international labor division.
Seeing the superiority of China’s Huawei in 5G technology, the US decided to place the Chinese telecommunications company and its affiliates on the “Entity List”. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even forced other countries to reject cooperation with Huawei by portraying the company as a threat to national security.
Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance equipment provider who’s leading the global security industry, has been added to a list of companies seen as threats to US national security by the US House of Representatives. The federal government of the US is banned from buying the company’s products because of national security concerns.
The US Department of Homeland Security also joined the force that groundlessly accuses Chinese enterprises as Chinese drone industry prospers, saying Chinese-made drones are stealing data they gather.
By interfering with the regular operation of the market, abusing “national security”, and politicizing certain issues, the US is aiming at nothing but getting a bigger cake and more profits in the market. Reciprocity never exists in such rude and arbitrary practices.
Not only Chinese enterprises, all the rivals of American companies are considered a thorn in the side of the US politicians.
Frederic Pierucci, former senior manager of French company Alstom, said in his book The American Trap that the US hopes to take control of the whole world trade and has redefined its intelligence organizations with more emphasis on collecting economic information of and spying on its rivals, just like what Edward Snowden has disclosed.
In the book, Pierucci, using his personal experiences, explained how the US has taken domestic laws as economic weapons and suppressed its rivals with unconventional tools.
According to him, the enactment of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enabled the US Department of Justice to take actions, especially against European companies. To date, 15 of the 29 companies that have paid a fine of over $100 million by the act are from Europe, and only 6 are American enterprises.
Some US politicians are still dreaming about being a “free-rider” forever who imports low value-added resources, commodities and services from developing countries and exports dollars, financial products and low-end technologies that pose no threat to core American competitiveness.
These politicians have never hesitated before they contain a rising country, or a potential rival of the US. Stephen Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist once said that the “number one thing you’re going to see out of the trade war is the reorientation of the complete supply chain around the freedom-loving countries.”
All in all, in the eyes of these politicians, reciprocity is only an excuse, and what remains as the core of them are their greed and selfishness.
The world has become a global village where all countries live. They depend on each other, have the same demand for cooperation, and join hands to achieve common development.
The practice of “keeping the roses and delivering the thorns” will only hurt the global village, and be rejected and condemned. It is destined to lose.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name used by People’s Daily to express views on foreign policy.)
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