US President Donald Trump has embarked on a decisive campaign to counter China. He signed a law on sanctions against Beijing in connection with the situation in Hong Kong, and also canceled trade and economic preferences for him.
Britain, the main ally of the American authorities in Europe, also dealt a blow to China. In Beijing, they said they were not afraid of sanctions, but called on them to abandon them, threatening to retaliate. Correspondent.net tells the details.
The political and economic offensive against Beijing
US President Donald Trump this week signed a law on new sanctions against China in connection with his actions against Hong Kong, as well as an executive order abolishing Washington’s trade and economic preferences for this special administrative region of the PRC.
As Trump told a news conference in the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, “have allowed China to rob our factories, devastate our communities and steal our most precious secrets.”
“I pretty much put an end to this,” he explained his actions, noting that Biden’s entire political career was “a gift from the Chinese Communist Party.”
American measures are being introduced against police officers who suppressed protests in Hong Kong, as well as against officials from the Chinese Communist Party responsible for passing the Hong Kong National Security Law, which effectively deprived him of autonomy.
Trump says the law will be a “powerful new weapon” to bring to justice those involved in the “destruction of freedoms” in Hong Kong.
At the same time, the executive order stipulates that due to the rejection of trade preferences, Washington’s approach to Hong Kong will be the same as to “mainland China.” According to Trump, the result of this step will be that many residents will soon leave Hong Kong.
He explained that this means the abolition of privileges, special treatment in the economic sphere, and the export of technologies of special importance. After that, according to Trump, Hong Kong will no longer be able to compete with free markets.
“In the future, we will significantly increase the volume of business, since we have just lost one competitor,” the American leader emphasized.
The president also recalled that he believes China is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic. In his opinion, Beijing could have prevented it.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China intends to impose retaliatory sanctions against the United States.
“We call on the American side to immediately reverse the decision and stop making any statements and actions that harm China’s interests. The Chinese side will react further in accordance with the development of the situation,” she said.
Washington’s actions in Beijing are called “gross interference” in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs.
Trump’s announced measures over Hong Kong are far from Washington’s only anti-China initiatives. On the eve of the United States officially announced its disagreement with Beijing’s claims to the waters of the South China Sea.
“Beijing’s claims to offshore resources in much of the South China Sea are completely illegal – as are its efforts to bring them under control through pressure,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Any action by the PRC aimed at interfering with fisheries or the development of natural gas and oil by these countries in their respective areas would be illegal, Pompeo said.
He recalled that the US plans for the near future to abandon the 2013 agreement with China, under which China was to provide American regulators with access to audit materials of its companies.
The document, in particular, allowed Chinese issuers to keep their securities included in the US stock exchange lists.
Last week, US authorities imposed sanctions on those responsible for the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. And the president himself warned that the second part of the trade deal between the countries hangs in the balance.
“I’m not interested in negotiations with China right now,” Trump said on July 15. At the same time, the American president added that he still highly appreciates the “first phase of the deal” concluded in January.
However, relations with China, he said, deteriorated shortly thereafter due to the development of the coronavirus pandemic: “The ink had not yet dried before it hit us with an epidemic.”
The political and economic offensive against China at that time was carried out overseas. This week, the US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien spent several days in Paris, where he tried to “synchronize watches” with his colleagues from France, Britain, and Germany on the most important issues of world politics, primarily on relations with China. In particular, they talked about establishing supply chains and deploying fifth-generation 5G networks in Europe – the American side tried to persuade partners to refuse the services of the Chinese company Huawei, which Washington recognized as a threat to national security. About this in the article What slows down the launch of 5G in Ukraine and the world.
Britain managed to persuade, it banned Huawei from taking part in the deployment of 5G networks in the country, deciding to completely exclude the company’s equipment from the relevant infrastructure by 2027.
For a company that has been operating in the United Kingdom for 20 years, this is a significant blow: Europe accounts for a quarter of all Huawei’s sales.
The French and German authorities strongly opposed such a ban, but the pressure on them is growing. After all, back in January, the UK did not speak about the ban on Huawei either.
Meanwhile, China’s economy became the first in the world to show growth since the outbreak of the pandemic. China’s GDP grew 3.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of the PRC.
The highest quarterly growth was shown by agriculture and industry. The service sector grew at a slower pace. Retail sales were down from the first quarter but showed signs of recovery.
“Generally speaking, the national economy began to overcome the negative effect of the epidemic in the first half of the year and showed a moment of recovery growth and gradual recovery,” the report says.
The growth rate of the Chinese economy, however, will be the weakest on record, Reuters notes.
In the first quarter, China’s GDP contracted 6.8 percent compared to the same period last year, the largest drop since the 1960s. Now in China, most of the quarantine restrictions have been lifted, businesses and shops are working again.
Due to the pandemic, the US economy completed its longest development in history in February and entered a recession. In the first quarter, US GDP fell 4.8 percent. The unemployment rate rose from a record low of 3.5 percent in February to 14.7 percent in April and 13.3 percent in May.
The deficit of the US state budget in June increased by 864 billion to $ 2.7 trillion. For the whole of 2019, the deficit grew by nine billion.
Last week, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Rafael Bostic, warned that the US economic recovery was in jeopardy.