Commentary: Cul-de-sac awaits U.S. tariff bullying against China

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-06 14:51:25|Editor: Chengcheng
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by Xinhua writers Zhu Dongyang, Gao Pan

BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Despite opposition from Chinese and U.S. businesses, the White House has decided to proceed with levying punitive tariffs on imports from China beginning on Friday.

Such a protectionist tool will directly impact enterprises worldwide, including those of the United States, and does not jibe with international rules on resolving trade problems. Washington is sowing the seeds of its own defeat in the end.

U.S. President Donald Trump believes that America's trade deficit provides ironclad evidence illustrating how China has been "robbing" the United States for years.

However, surpluses and deficits are by no means the right barometer to gauge trade ties between any two countries.

Trump is blind to the fact that China's trade surplus is a natural result of market selection and an international division of labor. His administration has scapegoated China in an attempt to hoodwink the public from the fact that U.S. trade deficits had existed even before the country began to engage in large-scale trade with China decades ago.

Trump's tariff narrative is aimed at bullying other nations to maximize its own market share and strategic edge by leveraging its dominance in global finance and technology.

Yet Trump's isolationist and reckless behavior is doomed by globalization itself. Like it or not, global economic integration, a process interweaving the interests and industries of all countries, would in the end turn Trump's strategy on its head.

Collateral damage is the likely outcome. Expect to see U.S. consumers pay higher prices for goods as enterprises fail to find appropriate substitute suppliers in a timely fashion. Blame the White House's trade policy when it happens.

Tariffs will negate gains made by the public from tax reforms and deregulation, push up U.S. production costs, damage the competitiveness of businesses and their workers, and force companies to look outside the U.S. to maintain production.

The Trump administration's impulse to violate global trade rules and norms is bound to hit U.S. core interests and doom his own trade aspirations.

The "reciprocal results" on trade sought by Washington is not for reciprocity at all; rather, it is but a pretext of the Trump administration to suffocate other countries' technological development and edges.

What also awaits the U.S. industries and farmers is the outpouring of retaliatory measures of other countries. Now that Trump' s tariff tricks have so far invited some 90-billion tit-for-tat tariffs from nearly all U.S. major trade partners concerned.

China has made it abundantly clear that it will never surrender to blackmail or coercion. The Trump administration is better advised to drop off its delusion.

Looking back, unilateral tariffs have no record of success. Trump's brand of trade bullying will be no exception.