The International Monetary Fund projected a deep recession in 2020 in its latest World Economic Outlook, saying the growing restrictions on trade and investment and rising geopolitical uncertainty could harm the recovery.
Photo taken on Jan. 12, 2019 shows the White House and a stop sign in Washington D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
However, even at such a critical moment that concerns global development, the U.S. is still adopting beggar-thy-neighbor economic and trade policies, and arbitrarily waving the big stick of sanctions with trade protectionism and unilateralism, which has severely threatened the security of global economy.
In recent years, Washington has frequently provoked and escalated trade frictions, weaponized its tariffs, and undermined the process of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, giving a heavy blow to the world economy.
About 3,400 U.S. enterprises, including electric vehicle maker Tesla, recently sued the U.S. government over its tariffs on China. They said the White House’s capricious tariff policy has increased enterprises’ cost and led to huge economic losses, demanding repayment of taxes paid. The lawsuit reflected the U.S. government’s practices which only hurt others without necessarily benefiting itself. Facts proved that the so-called decoupling proposed by the White House, as well its high tariff barriers violate the economic laws and hinder the recovery of the world economy. According to World Trade Organization (WTO) statistics, world merchandise trade contracted by 0.1% in volume terms in 2019, and trade tensions were one of the major reasons for the decline.
The U.S. has long imposed unilateral sanctions and applied the so-called long-arm jurisdiction on other countries based on its domestic laws. Even enterprises like Japan’s Toshiba, Germany’s Siemens, France’s Alston, all from the so-called allies of the U.S., were once the targets of the White House’s “modern piracy”.
The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell recently voiced his concerns in a recent statement over the growing use of sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, by the U.S. against gas projects, including the Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream. As a matter of principle the EU opposes the use of sanctions by third countries on European companies carrying out legitimate business, he said, adding such measures go against the international law.
The international community is becoming increasingly aware of what support the U.S. long-arm jurisdiction – the White House’s supremacy, selfishness, and hegemony. If the U.S. is allowed to undermine the legitimate interests and rights of other countries, or trample on the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, the common development of the world will surely be destroyed.
At present, Washington is exploiting the so-called “national security” to launch a technology Cold War, abusing its state power to suppress other countries’ tech firms. It even took away the results of other countries by force, which seriously threatened the role of innovation – the biggest engine for development.
What is alarming is that the U.S., going against the principles of market economy and the open, transparent, and non-discriminatory rules of the WTO, is insanely oppressing specific Chinese enterprises to cut the international flow of capital, technologies, products, industries, and personnel, which has seriously undermined the stability of global supply and industrial chains.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission estimated that replacing Chinese equipment manufactured by Huawei and ZTE will cost small American carriers as much as $1.8 billion.
Exerting political pressure on other countries, the U.S. is demanding other countries to stop using Chinese equipment, even at the cost of the latter’s lagged 5G construction and economic development. Obviously, what the U.S. is doing hurts itself and other countries, and the country has never put global economic security into its consideration.
As the largest economy in the world and a country that controls the world currency, the U.S. should have demonstrated an image of “With great power comes great responsibility.” However, it is repeatedly resorting to its economic dominance and the dollar supremacy to unilaterally launch economic blockage and impose financial sanctions on other countries, which has severely undermined the ability of its target countries to develop economy and improve livelihood.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez recently said the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba has caused more than $144 billion in losses for the island nation’s economy in the past six decades. Taking into account the devaluation of the dollar against the price of gold, accumulated damages has reached the extraordinary figure of $1 trillion. Even after COVID-19 broke out, Washington has still maintained its unilateral sanctions against Syria, Cuba and Iran. As witnessed by all, the U.S. is just addicted to sanctions, becoming a prominent threat against global economic security.
It is noteworthy that the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing severe challenges for the development of world economy, and countries must work in solidarity and coordinate their efforts. Zero-sum game has no way out, neither does hegemonic thinking. The U.S. anti-globalization practices, which are hindering global economic development and threatening global economic security, are a shame. Those who go against justice will definitely lose public support, and those who bully others will never end well.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)