For a year, President Trump has promoted global division and trade friction, while China has defended global trade and cooperation. It is time to defend the open, global economy.
If President Xi Jinping’s speech was highly anticipated in the Boao Forum, it was even more eagerly waited in Washington and Wall Street, as trade tensions have begun to penalize US markets.
In his keynote speech, Xi urged countries to “stay committed to openness, connectivity and mutual benefits, build an open global economy, and reinforce cooperation within the G-20, APEC and other multilateral frameworks.” The ultimate goal is to make economic globalization “more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.”
Xi presented plans to further open up the Chinese economy, including lower import tariffs for autos and other products, enforcement of the legal intellectual property of foreign firms, and improving the investment environment for international companies.
It was a balancing act that highlighted China’s goal to safeguard open global economy, even amid Trump’s trade wars.
Trump’s trade war
In early March, President Trump introduced a global tariff of 24 percent on steel imports, while launching a 10 percent duty on all aluminum entering the US.
On March 22, Trump directed his administration to make a case against Chinese technology licensing in the WTO, launched a slate of tariffs at $50 billion on Chinese products and proposed to step up restrictions on Chinese investment in key US technologies. That’s when China, in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs, imposed tariffs on $3 billion worth of US goods.
On April 2, China imposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on 128 US products, in response to steel and aluminum tariffs. The next day, the US proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese electronics. Afterwards, China launched $50 billion in tariffs on more US products, including soybeans, cars and chemicals. And on April 5, Trump said he was considering an additional $100 billion in tariffs against China.