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Showing posts with the label free trade

It's time for the West to restrict trade with China and sanction the Chinese Communist leadership

National People's Congress, 2013 (photo by Dong Fang via Wikimedia Commons) On March 9, 2000, US President Bill Clinton gave a speech on US-China trade relations in which he advocated for the expansion of trade between the two countries and defended his administration's decision to push for China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). President Clinton's argument in favour of closer trade relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) was based on two assumptions. First, that increased trade with China would benefit the US economically, and that if the US failed to promote trade, then other countries would benefit from the opportunities that the Chinese market offered. Second, that closer economic ties between the US and the PRC would allow Washington to "pull China in the right direction."  " Last fall, as all of you know, the United States signed the agreement to bring China into the W.T.O. on terms that will ope

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

Huawei Shenzhen office building (by Raysonho  via Wikimedia Commons) On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei , China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.  Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information. Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution . In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterp

Why Liberals Should Embrace Fair Trade, Debate Role Of Tariffs

(Image by kees torn (CSCL GLOBE) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons On the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver made fun of Donald Trump's tariffs and mocked him for not understanding how free trade works.   Oliver noted that tariffs are paid by importers and typically passed along to US consumers, leading to higher prices. Tariffs could cost the US hundreds of thousands of jobs, Oliver argued.  Trade deficits "aren't actually always bad, and many economists believe, for very complex reasons involving savings rates and the dollar's special status as the world's reserve currency, that America's trade balance might be more or less where it should be," he said. Oliver argued that "the overwhelming consensus among economists is that trade between countries generally speaking can create jobs, lower costs, and be a net benefit to both nations."  But is John Oliver right? We shall argue that although Tr

Taiwan's Economy and the Myth of Free Market

Taipei skyline (Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons )   In a world dominated by  neoliberal  mainstream economic thinking, the wealth of nations is often explained in culturalist terms. A country is rich because its people are hard-working and enjoy the freedom to pursue profitable economic activities. A country is poor if its people are lazy and / or its politicians are corrupt and inefficient. However, it would be wrong to underestimate the role of the government in promoting economic development, especially in the case of Taiwan. First of all, an industrial revolution does not come about through hard work alone. Asian people have always been renowned for their laboriousness, but for a long time their industry lagged behind that of the West. A rural country whose people are mostly hard-working peasants does not automatically shift production from agriculture to industry. Economists  Ha-Joon Chang  and  Erik Reinert  have explained that rich countries di