U.S.trade accusations against China defy facts

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, February 2, 2010
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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last week accused China of protecting domestic firms and creating barriers for foreign investment.

He warned Beijing against backsliding on economic openness and rule of law, saying it could cause American companies to lose interest in China.

The accusation, however, was misleading and ran totally contrary to the facts.

The United States, which is embracing trade protectionism itself, is trying to confuse black and white by accusing others.

Who on earth is creating "headaches" for foreign companies? Facts speak louder than words.

China is the third largest export market of the U.S., and has been the fastest growing one for years.

In 2009, U.S. exports to China reached US$77.4 billion, driving down the U.S.-China trade deficit by 16 percent.

China has always been making efforts to provide a more open and more optimized investment environment for domestic and foreign investors. As a matter of fact, a series of policies and initiatives aimed at improving trade openness and attracting more foreign investments were discussed and adopted at a recent executive meeting of the State Council.

Then, what are the U.S. companies' feeling toward the market of China?

The answer is "upbeat," according to a survey by the U.S.-China Business Council released in October 2009.

The poll indicated that the global recession led to reduced sales and slowed investment plans for member companies as well as job cuts for some.

However, 51 percent of the respondents projected that their revenues in China would grow in 2009, and 84 percent said their China operations remained profitable, according to the council.

"China has been a relatively bright spot for companies in the midst of the global slowdown," said council president John Frisbie.

Can't help but ask: how have U.S. companies made such profits and felt optimistic about the market if they ran into "headaches" and "barriers?"

While China is striding ahead on its road to openness, the United States, however, is opening its arms to protectionism.

Just one day before Locke blamed China for protecting its domestic companies, the United States set preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging from 90 to nearly 175 percent on electric blankets from China.

Actually, since the outbreak of the financial crisis, U.S. trade protectionism has been apparently on the rise, and China has become the biggest victim of American abuse of trade relief measures.

During his visit to China last year, President Barack Obama said trade protectionism was not good for both countries, and the U.S. seeks to promote the steady growth of bilateral economic and trade relations in order to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results.

Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have said in many occasions that the two countries were "in the same boat" and should work together to combat the global financial crisis.

However, their actions stand in stark contrast to their words.

In recent times, the U.S. has launched a series of anti-dumping investigations, anti-subsidies probes and initiated punitive duties against Chinese goods from tires, iron and steel, paper, and oil pipe to metal wire mesh trays and electric blankets.

A controversial "Buy American" provision in the economic stimulus package of the Obama administration has also drawn international criticism as it sent an apparent message of protectionism.

"Obama has signed onto a number of G-20 statements on the importance of resisting protectionism in an economic downturn," but "the protectionist signal he has sent in the first major trade-policy decision is unmistakable," said a Wall Street Journal analysis, referring to the stiff tariffs the U.S. imposed on imported Chinese tires.

"This is a dangerous game, both for American consumers and businesses and for a world economy that needs more trade, not a trade war," the article said.

Ironically, the United States is now turning around and accusing China of protecting its domestic companies.

Burdened by high unemployment and facing mid-term elections in November, some people in the U.S. are trying to shift public attention from thorny political and economic issues to other countries.

However, such irresponsible moves will prove to be unhelpful, and China will not accept being a scapegoat.

The sound development of China-U.S. economic ties calls for concrete efforts from both sides.

In the post-crisis era, what the world needs is tolerance, mutual understanding, and close cooperation.

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