China’s state-owned media has voiced its grievances about the increasingly aggressive protectionist stance adopted by the US Trump administration.
An editorial published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency points out that since the start of 2018 an increasingly number of Chinese companies have met with roadblocks to their development in the United States, including tech giants Alibaba and Huawei.
“The US has used ‘national security’ to keep them on the outside…Huawei’s mobile phone products in particular have met with repeated blacklisting by US telecommunications operators,” writes Wang Pan (王攀) in an editorial entitled “How can we talk about free trade when the US repeatedly blacklists Chinese companies?” (美国一再“封杀”中国企业，谈何“公平贸易”？)
“On the one hand the Chinese market has welcomed sales of Apple phones, while on the other the US market bans the sale of Huawei’s phones,” writes Wang.
“In both cases this involves the sale of mobile phones – one is an Apple phone installed with US chips which can enter millions of Chinese households, while the other is a Huawei phone installed with Chinese chips, which cannot put half a step past the US threshold.
“The magnitude of the contrast between the two and which side is erecting trade barriers is obvious to anyone with eyes.
“If the US is acting out of security concerns, then prohibiting government departments from procuring the tech products of Chinese enterprises is understandable.
“However, on this occasion Chinese mobile phones are being prevented from entering the American civilian market.
“What this means is that the US government, which has always been renowned for its free and competitive market economy, is using a ‘visible hand’ to prevent foreign products from entering its own market.
“The actions of the US send a signal to the outside world – in order to protect the interests of a minority, it is willing to abjure market economy principles, and the rights of consumers to be informed and make decisions.
“US President Donald Trump has repeatedly stressed ‘free trade.’ From these examples we can see that US-style ‘free trade’ involves sacrificing the fairness of other countries as its price.
“On the one hand China has opened wide the door to US trade and investment, with America’s Apple, Cisco and Microsoft all enjoying strong sales in China for many years.
“China has also increasingly opened itself more to US finance and services.
“On the other hand, the entry of China’s Huawei mobile phones into the US market, and the acquisition of a US company by Ant Financial have repeatedly met with barriers.
“How can this form of ‘free trade,’ which places national interests above international principles, endure?
“It should be realised that the US blacklisting of Chinese products and companies is due to concerns over China’s rapid development, and worries about China’s rapid scientific and technological advances.
“The US Secretary of Commerce previously said at a forum in Davos that Chinese tech comprise a major challenge and concern for the US.
“In actuality, China’s innovative capability remains far behind that of developed nations.
“The launch of protectionism cannot truly shut down competitive rivals, but can actually fetter one’s own limbs.
“In an era of economic globalisation, there is no such thing as a solitary island segregated from the world.
“At the end of the day the politicisation of Sino-US trade relations can only hurt the interests of enterprises and consumers in both countries. Only by abandoning a Cold War mentality, and continually expanding the pie of joint interests, will it be possible for push Sino-US trade relations towards the correct direction of development.”