Not long ago, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the tariffs imposed on China by the Donald Trump administration would be maintained for now, that she hoped China would continue to fulfill its commitments, and that the U.S. would assess how to move forward in an appropriate manner. This clearly shows that the Joe Biden administration is not at all eager to change Trump’s trade policy with China. But the American business community can’t wait.
Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report, “Understanding U.S.-China Decoupling,” which evaluated the economic losses in the U.S. caused by U.S.-China decoupling in areas such as investment, trade, the movement of people and exchange of ideas, as well as aviation and medical equipment. The report predicts that decoupling would lead to a halving of U.S. direct investment in China and a possible loss of $500 billion a year to U.S. in gross domestic product. It therefore called on the Biden administration to adopt forbearance and mitigation measures.
The U.S. business community has been suffering for a long time, ever since the introduction of the Trump administration’s China decoupling policy. Biden’s election gave people in business hope that the situation would ease. By releasing the report, the business community is putting pressure on the new administration in the hope that future policy direction may be more in line with the interests of U.S. business.
They are not alone. A few days ago, the Australian business community also expressed dissatisfaction (through various channels) with the Australian government’s actions to disrupt China-Australia relations. CNN reported on the experiences of South Australian winemaker Jarrad White. White says he spent almost a decade expanding into the Chinese market. By mid-2020, more than 96% of his company’s wine was being sold there with annual sales of up to 7 million bottles. However, with the rapid deterioration of China-Australia relations, he said that everything was ruined. Madeleine King, the Australian Labor Party’s spokeswoman on trade, has urged the government to take a positive stance, arguing that the Australian prime minister and cabinet should seize every opportunity to emphasize that damage to trade between Australia and China would result in a “lose-lose” situation for the people of both countries, and stop some members of the Liberal Party from McCarthy-like political manipulation. Recently, attitudes have also begun to change in Australia’s media, which is dominated by the Rupert Murdoch empire and has always been active on anti-China issues. An article in the Australian Financial Review pointed out that the main cause of the breakdown in China-Australia relations is the official policy of the Australian government.
Any expert in the field knows which way the wind is blowing. The business community is more likely to feel the pain of worsening relations with China than anti-China politicians who sit in their offices sounding off and talking nonsense. When it comes to China, it is increasingly becoming the consensus that “cooperation benefits both while fighting hurts both.”
As Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his speech, “Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences: Bringing China-U.S. Relations Back to the Right Track,” at the opening ceremony of the Lanting Forum on Feb. 22, both countries gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. This is a truth that has been repeatedly proven by history and in practice since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Wang expressed the hope that the U.S. would adjust its policy as soon as possible, abandon the imposition of unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, abandon its various unilateral sanctions on Chinese enterprises and research and education institutions, and abandon the unreasonable suppression of China’s scientific and technological progress, thereby providing the necessary conditions for cooperation between the two countries.
This is not only the opinion of the Chinese government, but also the common wish of the people of China and the United States.