The trade war is just the beginning
By Baiye 05-12-2019
For years, the west assumed that closer ties with China would make China more liberal, but that perception is changing. Scepticism about Beijing is the one thing US political parties agree on, while an EU carbon tariff could hit China hard.
The US-China trade war is only the tip of an iceberg. It might suit China to have it resolved sooner rather than later because there will undoubtedly be new challenges to confront. Policymakers in the liberal democracies of the West are re-evaluating their attitudes towards China’s resurgence.
In fact, western policymakers were too confident and naive to believe that as China's economy grew, it would become more democratic.
China is certainly rich today, but the Chinese communist party does not seem ready to embrace western democratic values.Western policy makers, especially in the United States, have had to rethink their approach to the communist party.
Western policymakers also made the political calculation that the benefits to Western consumers of access to cheaper Chinese goods outweighed any electoral downside that might occur as manufacturing jobs shifted to China. That calculation is also being rethought, and nowhere more so than in Europe.
In the US, President Donald Trump has pushed back against what he perceives to be an inequitable trade relationship with China but there’s broad cross-party backing for his position.
The US Congress is now flexing its political muscles. It initiated the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act that Trump, without fanfare, signed into US law last week.
Such was the level of Congressional cross-party cooperation, the passage of that bill into US law became effectively unstoppable.