Do not take sides in US-China trade war

TK Chua

Modified 3 Jun 2019, 7:05 am

LETTER | Since US-China trade dispute erupted, I have received countless articles, jokes and videos, almost on the daily basis, expressing views and opinions usually blaming one party or the other for being unreasonable, greedy, or for being a thief or a bully.

I must say most of the materials I received are pro-China and anti-US, in particular, anti-Trump. Once I responded in a chat group reminding myself and others not to take side. For this, I was heavily reprimanded with some sending me even more videos and articles supporting China.

Honestly, I would prefer for the truth to prevail rather than basing our arguments on the look and personality of TV anchors of Fox Business Network and China Global Television Network.

How much and how detail do we really know the contentious issues involving China and US before judging who is unreasonable, abrasive and intimidating? Should we just let sentiments and parochialism dictate our support for one party or the other?

I believe all of us want free and fair trade, respect for intellectual properties and fair treatment of foreign investments across borders, etc. Any distortion and uneven playing field will gradually but surely lead to disputes and discontentment.

Between US and China today, do we know who is more open to foreign imports and investments? Do we know the average tariff imposed on imports by US and China?

What about non-tariff restrictions? Do we know which country is more pervasive on this?

Do we know how freely US and Chinese companies are allowed to provide their services in each other’s country? Did US control Chinese companies just like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Gmail are being controlled in China?

On intellectual properties, do we know for sure who is stealing from whom? Do we know the companies involved and how much each of this stealing is affecting their wellbeing? Do we know how the competitiveness of US and Chinese companies is affected by theft of intellectual properties?

What about state subsidies embedded in exports and foreign investments? Do we know for sure how US and China are doing this? Do we know the sectors that are supported by the state and the quantum involved?

I think US and China should negotiate in the open. I think the rest need not take side but look at the issues objectively.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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