Hungary-Serbia railway could inspire divided world as protectionism rises

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/GT

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/GT

The construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway, a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative (BRI), will help inject new impetus into the economies of the two countries. The railway, plus the China-Serbia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in 2023, may provide people with a new perspective on the increasingly fragmented global trade situation.

As reported by the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday, Serbia’s Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesic said that Serbia’s participation in the BRI has boosted the overall development of the country and its neighbors. He cited the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway as an example of successful BRI cooperation.

The Hungary-Serbia railway is a double-track electrified railway with a total length of 341.7 kilometers, including 183.1 kilometers in Serbia. Sitting at the crossroads of Central and Southern Europe – and often seen as a geographical region that straddles both Eastern and Western Europe – Serbia has unique geographical advantages. The construction of the railway is expected to improve connectivity between Hungary and Serbia and help clear barriers from Serbia to Greece’s Piraeus Port, a transit hub connecting Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Hungary-Serbia railway is considered an important project to improve physical connectivity, as part of multifaceted cooperation aimed at deepening economic exchanges. 

Connectivity includes not only physical infrastructure like roads and railways but also institutional arrangements to make it easier to strengthen exchanges among different regions.

China and Serbia signed an FTA in October 2023. The signing of the FTA and subsequent tariff cuts have enhanced trade relations, boosted Serbia’s exports and – more importantly – served as a bridge to open up new trade routes and ramp up trade and investment between China and Europe. 

Trade between China and Europe reached $1.215 trillion in 2023. Both sides have strong trade complementarity, and unleashing this potential can generate more positive influences on Europe’s economy, helping solve problems it faces, such as stubborn inflation. 

The lingering question is how to unleash this huge potential. There are two critical factors. On the one hand, we should continue to promote infrastructure interconnectivity; on the other hand, we should take concrete actions to reject all forms of protectionism and unequivocally advocate for and support free trade.

Facing a complex and volatile international situation, China and Serbia, acting as each other’s “ironclad friends,” have continuously enhanced cooperation in multiple fields such as railway infrastructure construction and free trade. These factors interact with one another, forming a joint force to boost economic cooperation.

The nature of cooperation is mutually beneficial, and that’s why the Serbian side holds a positive attitude toward cooperation with China. Vesic said Serbia is proud of its participation in the BRI, under which Chinese companies have undertaken many infrastructure projects in the country.

The construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway reached a milestone on April 25, when the track-laying work for a 108-kilometer section between Novi Sad and Subotica in Serbia was completed. It’s not always easy to undertake large-scale infrastructure projects, and the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway faces some challenges, but the project has been steadily advancing. That’s because this is good for the Serbian economy, which could benefit greatly from infrastructure projects.

Amid global economic uncertainty, various countries, including those in Europe, are trying to gain new growth momentum as traditional drivers weaken. What is needed today is to improve economic connectivity and further promote free trade. As long as cooperation can bring tangible economic benefits to local economies, it will eventually overcome temporary challenges and difficulties.

The US-advocated “decoupling” and Washington’s geopolitical games have brought enormous challenges to global trade, but globalization and free trade are the only ways to promote mutually beneficial cooperation. Politicians with a sober mind will not politicize economic issues and not fall into the “decoupling from China” trap.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [email protected]

GAC to promote foreign trade, expand global cooperation

China will deepen its cooperation with all parties concerned to promote the role of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) agreements in facilitating both domestic and global companies’ efforts to boost their foreign trade activities, said a customs official.

The AEO program is advocated by the World Customs Organization to strengthen international supply chain security and facilitate the movement of goods, said Lin Jiantian, director of the General Administration of Customs’ Department of Enterprise Management and Audit-based Control.

Under its terms, Customs authorities from various regions will establish partnerships with industries to collaboratively cut barriers to Customs procedures and enhance international trade efficiency.

By the end of March of this year, China’s GAC had signed AEO mutual recognition agreements with 26 economies, such as the European Union and South Africa, covering 52 countries and regions.

Azerbaijan hoping to attract more Chinese investors amid closer economic relations

Azerbaijani people gather to celebrate Nowruz in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, March 19, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

Azerbaijani people gather to celebrate Nowruz in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, March 19, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

 

Azerbaijan hopes to attract more Chinese investors as the country is pursuing sustainable development and green transformation, as well as greater transport connectivity and other economic goals under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), officials from Azerbaijan said at the Azerbaijan Investment and Trade Promotion Conference held at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Beijing on Tuesday.

Over a hundred representatives from relevant departments, enterprises, and industry groups from both China and Azerbaijan attended Tuesday’s promotional event, focusing on areas including mining, agriculture, tourism, logistics and transportation, showing the diverse bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking at the event, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China Bunyad Huseynov said that Azerbaijan is China’s biggest trading partner in the South Caucasus and his country attaches great importance to the expansion of economic and trade relations with China. 

The two countries are diversifying economic cooperation to various sectors including transport and logistics, agriculture, and other areas. “China’s advanced experience and technologies in the field of alternative energy are of particular interest to our country,” the ambassador said.

Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to support the BRI, which has become a key driver of economic and trade development not just with China but beyond. This joint initiative is not only an economic and communication project, but also stimulates the global economy by expanding relations between peoples, improving infrastructure, deepening trade relations, and strengthening transport and infrastructure projects, the ambassador said at the event.

Azerbaijan, located at the vibrant crossroads of Europe and Asia, offers numerous investment opportunities across various sectors, Zohrab Gadirov, deputy executive director of the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of Azerbaijan (AZPROMO), said at the event. More Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in Azerbaijan for a win-win outcome, Gadirov said.

During his trip to China, Gadirov is hoping to build closer ties with Chinese businesses, as they are becoming increasingly important in the country’s economic development.

According to data from Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee, China-Azerbaijan bilateral trade reached $3.1 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 43.5 percent, with both imports and exports seeing double-digit growth. China remained Azerbaijan’s fourth largest trading partner. 

China also became Azerbaijan’s second-largest source of imports for the first time, ahead of Turkey, and accounting for 17.5 percent of the country’s total imports. 

In addition to the surging demand for goods between China and Azerbaijan, the country’s strategic geographical location also positions it as a critical transportation hub for the China-Europe freight train. The demand for the cargo train has seen a significant increase thanks to its competitive advantages as a reliable transportation tool, particularly following the Red Sea crisis, which resulted in a substantial extension of transportation time and costs for sea voyages.

Azerbaijan plays a crucial role in the trans-Caspian international transportation corridor, serving as a dynamic new market at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It’s not only a vital node in the BRI but also a significant gateway for Chinese enterprises to access the markets of the Caucasus and the EU, said He Zhenwei, head of the China Overseas Development Association.

Since the beginning of this year, China has been the largest source of imports for Azerbaijan for two consecutive months, reflecting strong development momentum, according to He.

There is still room for further growth in trade between the two countries, He said.

Protectionism not the solution to addressing erosion of US competitiveness

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

The Office of the US Trade Representative recently initiated a probe into China’s maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors, alleging China used “unfair, non-market policies and practices” to dominate those industries. This, coupled with the Biden administration’s new threat to impose high tariffs on Chinese-made aluminum and steel, is again escalating trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies. 

The probe and threat bear the US’ often-used hallmark of leveraging protectionism to resist free trade in Washington’s hope to protect its own industries and jobs. However, the competitive edge held by Chinese industries is due to the hard work and effort of the Chinese people, the persistent technological innovation of Chinese companies and their proactive participation in free market competition.

China’s world-leading telecom equipment, high-speed trains, solar panels, and electric vehicle manufacturing, as well as its maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors, have gradually built up their strength through many years’ expertise and Chinese enterprises’ willingness to incorporate new tech breakthroughs and domestically developed software solutions. 

Now, high-quality and less costly goods manufactured by Chinese companies are becoming increasingly popular across the world. Chinese technologies, such as 5G and green renewable energies, are helping the Global South develop their economies. Therefore, the American politicians’ old playbook of using unilateral economic coercion to suppress and stymie the advance of Chinese economy will ultimately fail. Their desire to prolong or perpetuate American industrial dominance in the world will not come true, either. 

As known to the world, protectionism and unilateralism won’t bring back the lost manufacturing jobs to US shores. America’s high labor costs and the Federal Reserve’s insistence on an elevated interest rate of over 5 percent mean that American manufacturers can hardly compete with their Chinese counterparts. The cost-effectiveness of Chinese companies is nearly unparalleled in the world. For example, the cost of making an electric vehicle in China is approximately two times lower than in the US. 

The Biden administration remains obstinate in playing the zero-sum game by implementing a policy the administration calls “small courtyard with high walls” to demarcate itself or decouple from China. It is odd to many in the world why the US stubbornly refuses to choose the road of win-win cooperation with China. Is it just to prolong America’s dominance and hegemony in the world? 

America’s “decoupling from China” debate started about six years ago, and reached its climax in 2020. Over the past three years, the Biden administration has not tempered the decoupling or “de-risking” rhetoric, even though it knows that this decoupling will disrupt global supply chains and fragment global economy, leading to undesirable efficiency losses among American companies as well. 

To slow China’s economic growth, the US government, since 2018, has imposed high tariffs on up to $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, roped in its allies and “like-minded” countries to form exclusive trading blocs in key industrial sectors, pushed its businesses to relocate manufacturing operations away from China and blacklisted over 1,000 Chinese companies and research institutions. These trade barriers will hinder advancements in the world’s sustainability agenda, which relies on unrestricted and seamless exchanges of both existing and emerging technologies.

In public, senior US officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, professed disinterest in decoupling, but the Biden administration has pushed ahead with it in an attempt to isolate China and contain its rise. The US government has curbed Chinese investment in the US, banned imports of Chinese technology products such as solar panel components and 5G gear, and prohibited high-tech exports to China, including cutting-edge semiconductor chips and the tools to make them. 

However, the two giant economies are so tightly intertwined that it is almost impossible for Washington to harm China without hurting itself, sometimes seriously. The US’ decoupling strategy will only stand in the way of improving its corporate efficiency. As global supply chains are threatened by the decoupling policy, companies are complaining about a less elastic, less efficient and increasingly costly supply of components needed for manufacturing. Ordinary consumers in the US and the West are angered by expensive goods combined with high inflation. 

The economic consequences of decoupling, raising trade barriers, or the push for de-globalization by the US are becoming a growing concern for global policymakers. Economists have started to estimate the economic costs for the world economy. Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) listed rising economic fragmentation and an increase in trade restrictive measures as trends that could harm the medium-term outlook for the global economy. 

Facing the relentless restrictions imposed by the US in recent years, China didn’t choose to sit idle or throw in the towel. Thinkers and policymakers started to realize the risks of relying on foreign technology and instead focused on a strategic shift of great historic importance to decrease reliance on US technology and prioritize domestic research and innovation in order to safeguard China’s economic security. Additionally, China decided to further open its economy to businesses from all countries and expand sectors available to foreign investors. 

In contrast to the US, which has retreated from global economic integration, China has emerged as a leading advocate for globalization, free trade and inclusive development. History shows that shutting out foreign competition will never lead to success in the long run. The US’ decision to build “high walls” to block Chinese goods and technology will not solve the underlying issues of inefficiency in its enterprises, leading to higher consumer prices and prolonged inflation for American citizens. Protectionism is not the solution to addressing the erosion of US competitiveness.

The author is an editor with the Global Times. [email protected]

China-US 4th meetings of economic and financial working groups signal ‘steady, phased progress’ in stabilizing ties

China US Photo:VCG

China US Photo:VCG

The economic and financial working groups of China and the US held their fourth meetings in Washington DC on Tuesday, shortly after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrapped up a high-stakes six-day visit to China last week, which led to new areas of consensus in the economic and financial fields. The meetings come ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s reported visit to China.

Observers said the dialogue, adding to a flurry of growing interactions between Chinese and US senior officials since the beginning of the year, showed that both sides attach high importance to bilateral economic ties. It also sent a positive signal on “steady and phased progress” in stabilizing relations between the world’s two largest economies.

As production capacity appeared on the agenda, observers also warned against the US taking a “two-dimensional” approach to China — that is, to maintain the overall stability of bilateral relations yet relentlessly suppress China’s emerging industries. Lately, this has centered on a bizarre narrative that labels Chinese clean technology exports with the “overcapacity” tag. 

While dialogue to some extent helps prevent trade tensions from veering into conflicts, the ball is in the US court to stop politicizing economic matters and get relations back to the right track, they stressed. 

During the fourth meeting of the economic working group, the two sides engaged in “in-depth, pragmatic and constructive” dialogue on how to implement the consensus reached earlier by leaders of both groups, the macroeconomic situations of both countries and the world, as well as balanced growth, according to a statement on the website of China’s Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.

The Chinese side also expressed concern about US trade and economic restrictions against China and responded further on the issue concerning production capacity. They also discussed arrangements for future communication, and both sides agreed to continue their dialogue. 

The meetings took place on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

With regard to the fourth meeting of the financial working group, the two sides engaged in discussions on topics including each other’s monetary policies and financial stability, cooperation in financial regulation, institutional arrangements in financial markets, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, and other financial policy topics of mutual concern, according to a statement on the website of the People’s Bank of China (PBC), the country’s central bank.

Some of those topics were the new consensus on balanced growth and financial cooperation reached during Yellen’s visit to China last week. The two sides also agreed at that time on future meeting arrangements for the working group.

Chinese observers said that the fourth meetings are parts of a regular communication mechanism between China and the US, building on the San Francisco vision reached by leaders of both countries last year. It also underscored that both countries put great emphasis on bilateral economic relations, which are consequential not only for each other’s development but also to the global economy.

“As the US presidential election nears, the Biden administration is being hit with many pressures at home and abroad. So he has an urgent need to maintain ‘dynamically stabilized relations’ with China,” Diao Daming, a professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

While continued discussions signify a positive momentum in bilateral relations, observers pointed out that Washington’s China strategy is “two-dimensional” as the US on the one hand looks to deepen economic ties with China, yet on the other hand, it has been relentlessly cranking up trade tensions to suppress China’s tech industries.

Talks on production capacity appeared in the agenda of the economic working group’s meeting, as Chinese officials intensively criticized the “overcapacity” fallacy hyped by US and EU politicians.

Observers said that the claim of overcapacity is another card Washington recently put on the table to target China, which laid bare its hegemonic mindset as it is nervous about the rise of China’s advantageous industries, from new energy and artificial intelligence, telecommunication to steel.

There are more signs of escalating trade tensions. US President Joe Biden will call for tripling tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum on Wednesday when he speaks to union members in Pennsylvania, NBC News reported.

Analysts said that the reported move is another practice of targeting Chinese enterprises under the guise of so-called “overcapacity,” though chances could be high that it merely aims to score political points during the election campaign and won’t translate into reality. 

Zhou Mi, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times that China’s steel and aluminum exports to US were not very large, and the tariff hike, if carried out, would inflict more damage on the US global business credit and local manufacturers than to the China suppliers.

A fair and non-discriminatory perception of China lays the basic framework for further exchanges between the two countries, and only under such premise can the two sides identify more areas of cooperation and resolve controversies, analysts said.

During talks with Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang stressed that the production capacity issue should start with economic laws and be viewed objectively and dialectically from a market viewpoint and a global perspective.

“Washington must bear in mind that Chinese exports are in line with WTO rules and the global trade pattern is determined by each country’s competitive edge,” Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will tell lawmakers that the Biden administration is “taking a serious look” at US trade defense tools to deal with threats posed by China’s trade and economic policies, Reuters reported Tuesday.

 

Gao said that it is unlikely that a new tool will come out, considering the limited aces Washington holds. “It is also ironic that the US barks about ‘punishing’ China, which abides by WTO rules, with a tool that is set to be defiant to trading rules,” Gao added. 

Trade with China mainly settled in yuan, rubles: Russian deputy PM

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on February 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

About 92 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China is now conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said on Wednesday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia in South China’s Hainan Province.

He also said that Russia hopes to strengthen financial ties with other countries to replace the US dollar in the international arena in the future, in a bid to ensure the stability and security of local currencies.

Overchuk’s remarks came amid growing emphasis by both sides on trade in local currency and de-dollarization efforts in a bid to reduce risks and costs. In July 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that over 80 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China was conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, according to media reports.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia continues to show upward momentum, reaching $240.1 billion in 2023, up 26.3 percent from a year earlier. The figure was over $190 billion in 2022, with energy taking the key share.

China-Russia relations are a model of relations between major powers. When talking about the relationship between Russia and China, Overchuk emphasized that the dynamic and stable relationship between the two countries is based on mutual respect, equality, and years of profound historical exchanges between the two governments. Russia will continue to promote the growth of trade between the two countries and advance new interconnection projects, he said.

One of the prominent changes over the past 50 years has been the rise of the Global South, Overchuk said while addressing a sub-forum titled “The Rise of the Global South.” Faced with increasing global uncertainty, countries from the Global South should strengthen cooperation and unite to meet challenges, he said.

Overchuk also pointed out Russia’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with countries in the Global South in the field of cross-border trade and transportation infrastructure construction, saying that Russia hopes to expand market access and push for the building of international transportation corridors.

“We are currently seeing signs of anti-globalization and rising trade fragmentation in global markets, which requires us to strengthen cooperation and connections with our neighboring countries,” said Overchuk.

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The determination of China and Russia to work together hand in hand is even stronger, the foundation of generational friendship is more solid, and the prospects for comprehensive cooperation are even broader, Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, said in an interview with Tass on March 21.

Chinese Commerce Minister calls for Netherlands to maintain regular lithography machine trade for healthy development of bilateral trade ties

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

The Chinese side considers the Netherlands a reliable trade partner and hopes the Netherlands can uphold the spirit of contract to support companies fulfill contract obligations to ensure the regular trade of lithography machines, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said while meeting visiting Dutch Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Chinese side commends the Netherlands for being committed to free trade, Wang said, calling for the two sides to jointly safeguard stability of global semiconductor industrial and supply chains to prevent the abuse of security concept and boost the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade ties, according to a press statement on the website of the Ministry of Commerce.

Van Leeuwen said trade is a major contributor to the economy of the Netherlands, and the country is committed to free trade and attaches great importance to China-Dutch economic and trade cooperation.

China is one of the most important trade partners of the Netherlands and the country is willing to continue to be a reliable partner for China, van Leeuwen said.

The Dutch official said that its export control measures do not target any country. The Dutch government made the decision on the basis of independent evaluations and seeks to reduce impact on the global semiconductor industrial and supply chains at its most, with the prerequisite of safety.

Van Leeuwen said he expects that the two countries will further cooperate in fields including green transition and care services.

The Dutch government in 2023 introduced a licensing requirement for ASML’s shipments of its most advanced deep ultraviolet lithography machines.

On January 2, ASML said that the Dutch government had partially revoked an export license for the shipment of some chipmaking equipment to China, according to a press release sent to the Global Times.

Exports of NXT:2050i and NXT:2100i lithography systems in 2023 were affected, the company said.

Global Times

GT Voice: Scapegoating China won’t resolve US economic woes

The hopeless fault-finder Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The hopeless fault-finder Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Putting all the blame on China for economic problems in the US seems like an easy way for the Biden administration to pass the buck. However, the more that people in the US blame China, the fewer are actually working on a real solution. This is why the growing US tendency to shift blame onto Chinese manufacturing is a concerning sign.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that when she next visits China, she would raise concerns that China’s excess production capacity may distort global markets and hurt jobs in other industrial and developing economies, Reuters reported.

Yellen is one of the Biden administration officials who have recently expressed concern about China’s overcapacity “flooding the market with cheap goods.”

But ironically, while she talked about the negative impact of excess capacity in China, a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggested that China’s efforts to boost manufacturing and shore up the economy could put “meaningful upward pressure” on US inflation and push back the start of monetary easing, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

How could low-priced products from China’s “excess capacity” contribute to inflationary pressure in the US? If anything, this is a typical example of how the “blaming Chinese manufacturing” rhetoric of US officials and economic agencies is often contradictory and nonsense for anyone with basic economic understanding. 

The illogical accusation against Chinese manufacturing shows that the US is quick to blame China for its own economic woes, while failing to acknowledge its own role in the matter. 

The scapegoating only serves to divert attention from America’s own issues, and often leads to misconceived economic and trade policies, such as trade barriers and protectionism. This deters Washington from addressing the problems, while exacerbating inflation and market distortion.

Take the US inflation dilemma as an example. It is no secret that inflation has not yet reached a level where the Fed can be certain about cutting rates. It is not China’s fault, but America’s economic policy that is to blame for the problem. There is also no chance that the inflation problem can be addressed by suppressing China-made goods.

The Fed’s helicopter monetary policy during the pandemic and subsequent interest rate hikes have had serious consequences for the US economy, which have been directly reflected in the recent crises in the commercial real estate sector and US regional banks.

Moreover, trade-distorting practices with China are a significant factor contributing to high inflation in the US. The US initiated a trade war with China by imposing additional tariffs on imports of Chinese goods, leading to increased prices for low- and medium-end products. A 2021 report by Moody’s stated that US importers absorbed more than 90 percent of the additional costs caused by the increased US tariffs on Chinese goods. 

Also, the US has promoted the concept of “decoupling” and “breaking the chain,” compelling companies to relocate their outsourcing operations, which only leads to higher costs of production, purchasing and operating. 

Washington has shown growing protectionism to keep its domestic markets and protect jobs, which, however, has not improved industrial competitiveness but led to a spiral of workers’ wages and rising prices. The United Auto Workers strike is a prime example.

Fundamentally speaking, the root cause of the China-US trade imbalance is not that Chinese products are cheaper. There is nothing wrong in US demand for Chinese products, and the US can balance the trade account by exporting more high-end products to China and participating more actively in China’s economic development. 

However, its trade policy toward China is aimed at severing this complementary relationship, which is detrimental to both sides.

A recent poll by the AP showed that 57 percent of Americans think the national economy is somewhat or much worse off than before Biden took office in 2021. This actually calls for policymakers to reflect on their economic and trade policy choices. Cracking down on China won’t make America’s economic problems disappear, but only lead to misguided policies that could exacerbate them.

Violations of the law of the market for political purposes will eventually be punished by the law of the economy.