US expert criticizes trade war with China

By Chen Xia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 9, 2018
Adjust font size:

"I am opposed to President Trump's imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods," said Bill Jones, the Washington Bureau Chief of Executive Intelligence Review magazine, in an exclusive interview via e-mail with on Tuesday. If the current policy continues, it will be devastating for both economies and for the world economy at large, he said.

On June 15, when the first official announcement was made regarding imposition of an additional tariff on Chinese goods, the White House released a statement by President Donald Trump declaring that the tariffs would "protect American jobs" and "serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the United States and China." 

Jones said he did not believe the White House could achieve what it seemed to be expecting by playing tough, because what it is doing is in effect political blackmail. It underestimates China's will to continue on the successful economic path it has chosen.

"These tariffs are of a clearly punitive nature, rather than based on any clear-cut economic rationale, and are aimed at forcing China into making drastic concessions in their trade relationship with the United States," he said.

Jones said that the administration in Washington was failing to tackle the problem at its roots. "The tariffs are a big mistake since the problem of the U.S. economy has very little to do with trade, but rather with years of failed economic policy on the part of the U.S. government," he said.

The lop-sided belief that the market would resolve any problems should be taken as the root cause of the current problems, Jones said. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, the United States shut down much of its industrial capacity, eliminated programs for retooling aging industries, and shuttled high-quality industrial workers in manufacturing into menial jobs in the retail sector. 

The country also had no science-driven program for the economy since the Kennedy administration in the early 1960s. At one point, the U.S. Congress even considered eliminating the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the only real mechanism available to the government for expanding American exports. 

Calling such actions "shooting ourselves in the foot industrially and economically," Jones said Washington was "seeking a scapegoat" for American problems, with fast-developing China the obvious candidate.

He said it is too early to predict the result of the tariff imposition, but the present period could be seen as "the calm before the storm," as the impact would only be felt when the third and fourth financial quarter results became available. 

He said the current flurry of economic activity in the United States was the result of purchases made before the tariffs kicked in, which created "a grand illusion" that the U.S. economy was improving.

Bill Jones, former California secretary of state. [Photo courtesy of Bill Jones]
Bill Jones [Photo courtesy of Bill Jones]

One of his concerns is the expected big effect the tariffs would have on California, as well as on many other states. 

"The strict controls Washington has put on all high-technology export to a number of countries, particularly to China, have seriously cut the country off from one of the most important export markets it could have," he said.

"Since the U.S. tariffs target the Chinese IT industry in particular, restricting their ability to buy from U.S. companies, this will have a tremendous effect on the U.S. IT sector, much of which is located in California," he said.

Agricultural exports would also be affected because of the counter-tariffs China had been forced to impose in retaliation, he said. 

China is California's third largest export destination, with approximately US$14.4 billion in goods sent to the Asian giant. 

Early this year, Californian Governor Jerry Brown, speaking at the second ChinaWeek California-China Business Summit, said he hoped to further advance California-China business ties during his term.  

Jones said he was sure the state government would do everything in its power to legally protect an important trade partner, and to protect Chinese investment in California. 

He also believed that probably every state of the Union would do likewise, readily being aware of the effect the tariffs would have on their own economies. 

However, the power of the Federal government in the U.S. system was quite sweeping, so the margins for the state and local governments are not great. "The biggest hope is that the growing discontent at the state level will have an effect on the decisions at the Federal level. And the upcoming mid-term elections may reflect some of that dramatically," he said, hoping that "reason will prevail."

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from