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Unilateral policies won't revive US economy

By Wang Li | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-03 07:15

The American Flag flies at the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 18, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

The US Department of Commerce announced on Nov 24 that it had added to its exports blacklist, formally Entity List, 27 new entities-12 from China, 13 from Pakistan, and one each from Japan and Singapore-because they did not meet the country's national security or foreign policy requirements.

The Chinese companies included in the list are mainly from the quantum computing, semiconductor, chip and related industries. To ensure the United States maintains its dominant say in the formulation of international trade rules and influence over the global economy, the Joe Biden administration has been abusing the concept of national security since taking office. In fact, the administration is using national security as a tool to subdue its trading partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Commerce Department's latest move of wantonly imposing sanctions on foreign companies in violation of international rules shows the administration's tendency to abuse the concept of national security and its intention to export trade concepts with so-called American values.

The Biden administration's goal is to check the US' trade competitors and force other countries to accept only those international trade rules that Washington formulates, in order to push ahead with its predecessor's "America first" policy and increase US exports and widen its influence.

The Biden administration has also been trying to sabotage the global industrial and supply chains, making the global economic recovery, which is already floundering, even more difficult and, at the same time, trying to force other countries to further open up their domestic markets-all on the pretext of safeguarding the US' national security and core national interests.

Abusing the national security concept to dictate terms to its trade partners in a bid to promote its global political and economic interests has become an integral part of the US' foreign and trade policies. Many countries have suffered the harmful effects of the global trade frictions triggered by the US' abuse of international trade rules, and its unilateral trade policies over the past 20 years.

In fact, the Biden administration has combined Donald Trump's "America first" policy with unilateralism and protectionism. In essence, it has combined power politics and unilateral diplomacy, so as to include so-called American values in its foreign and trade policies, and sway the strategic direction of its trade relations, so as to fulfill its goal of expanding its exports.

For a long time, the US has been using its domestic laws to settle trade disputes with other countries, thus extending their applicability beyond its borders in absolute violation of World Trade Organization rules. It uses its self-proclaimed authority and freedom to unilaterally launch trade remedy measures to target its trading partners.

The Biden administration is not only abusing the national security concept but also resorting to trade protectionism, and using it to impose its domestic political and trade policies and laws on its trade partners. It has also been trying to interfere and influence the domestic industrial policies of other countries.

On one hand, the US criticizes the industrial policies of many of its trading partners, by claiming they put US enterprises at a disadvantage and violate basic market economy principles. On the other hand, it has been demanding that other countries further open up their services sector and allow foreign investment in even sensitive industries, especially in those industries in which the US has an advantage. Which shows the US is inherently biased against the industrial policies of its trading partners.

In order to ease the political pressure at home as it has been unable to cope with the negative impacts of globalization and the COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy and job market, the administration is extremely worried about the president's approval ratings, which can have an effect on the prospects of the Democrats in the mid-term elections next year. And to divert attention from its failures, the Biden administration is trying to attribute all the domestic problems plaguing the US, including unemployment and inflation, to international trade and global trade rules.

But by abusing the national security concept, the Biden administration is not only harming the economic interests of its major trading partners and the global economy, but also trying to overturn the existing multilateral free trade system which has been holding the world economy together.

If the US doesn't stop abusing the concept of national security and imposing sanctions on other countries and foreign enterprises at the drop of a hat, trade frictions will become even more frequent and serious.

The author is a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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