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Sohu: China’s Hard Counterattack on U.S. Imposed Trade Tariffs Conveys Four Meaningful Signals

Liu Hong, whose pen name is “Bull Piano” in Chinese, wrote a commentary article that Sohu published. Liu graduated from the Department of International Business at Nanjing University and has worked as a reporter for Xinhua for a long time. Now he is the deputy chief editor of Xinhua‘s “Global Magazine.” The article stated that China has made it clear that its bottom line is that, “It firmly defends its national interests and the interests of the people and resolutely defends economic globalization and the multilateral trading system.” The fact that China made an immediate tough counterattack on the U.S. imposed tariff of US$50 billion worth of Chinese products conveyed four meaningful signals. Below is a translation of the summary:

1. China predicted a long time ago that Trump would not easily give up on a trade war. Therefore China’s trade negotiation team was well prepared for the uncertainty of the U.S. counterpart. China shouldn’t expect that Trump will be sympathetic toward China because of his arrogant personality, the rise of populism, and the anti-globalization wave back in the U.S. Trump is very clear that, as the mid-term election is approaching, launching a trade war against China will help to increase his support. In order to win more votes, Trump will not easily give up the trade war with China.
2. China is very clear that, if someone crosses its red line, China will launch a hard counterattack. China does not want to be in a trade war and has exercised maximum patience and restraint. However, China is facing Trump who is unpredictable. As a matter of fact, the most uncertainty that China faces right now is the uncertainty of the White House. China should be clear that the end results of the trade war will hurt both sides. China will pay a big price but, in the long run, this is for China’s national interest.
3. China is ready to face the trade war. Without enough courage, without sufficient research and judgment, and without its growing power, China would not be able to withstand Trump’s intimidation. Trump launched the trade war against China to win more votes. The items on the tariff product list from the U.S. will have a limited impact on the livelihood of the people in the U.S. The trade war will impact China but the effect will be limited and manageable. Therefore, China has the confidence, ability, and experience to deal with the trade war.
4. The U.S. is turning the whole world into enemies. Trump is attacking almost all of his trade partners and threatening them with tariffs. This practice of completely ignoring the rules of the WTO is in fact extremely destructive to free trade around the world, to economic globalization, to the multilateral trading system, and to the global industrial chain. The U.S. has positioned itself against the interests of humanity and is forcing other countries to come together to resist the bullying behavior of the U.S. This could end up being a global trade war with the U.S. on one side against those countries against whom the U.S. has transgressed. China will become the most determined defender of globalization and the U.S. will be a troublemaker. It is a fact that the U.S. has the hard power and is still the strongest {country} in the world. However, the arrogant practices of the U.S. have even terrified the world. The U.S. will lose its moral influence and fall sharply from its leading position in the world. The change may not be obvious in the short term but the summer of 2018 could be a major turning point on the world stage.

Source: Sohu, June 15, 2018