November 04, 2003

China Bashing as Political Cowardice IV

James Sasser believes that Bush administration (and bipartisan congressional) China-bashing is being made by those who have no conception of what good long-run economic policy is and no regard for the long-run national security of the United States:

FT.com Home US: ...China's progress toward reform has been slow, sometimes meandering, but ultimately steady and entirely real. China's commitment to free market reform has been consistent and remains a powerful force. Its efforts to comply with the terms of its WTO accession, while imperfect, have been favourably received by many US exporters. China has begun to dismantle its massive tariff regime and is opening its markets to a wide range of foreign goods and services. As a result, US exports to China increased by more than 15 per cent between 2001 and 2002.

China has also worked with the US government on several post-September 11 2001 anti-terrorism initiatives, including a recent agreement allowing US customs officials access to the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen in order monitor container traffic destined for the US. By western standards, China's record on human rights continues to be tragically inadequate; no one is suggesting that its pace of democratic reform is as rapid as we should like it to be.

But there is much to lose if we allow short-term domestic political advantage to blind us to the long-term strategic consequences. Hu Jintao, China's new president, is eager both to safeguard existing reforms put in place by his predecessor and to advance their momentum. Nothing could more jeopardise Mr Hu's reformist designs or play more into the hands of the hard-liners than policy dictates from the US that would increase Chinese unemployment (which is already at dangerous levels) or weaken its economic foundation and thereby undercut the essential foundations of continued reform...

Posted by DeLong at November 4, 2003 05:05 PM | TrackBack

Comments

"James Sasser believes that Bush administration (and bipartisan congressional) China-bashing is being made by those who have no conception of what good long-run economic policy is and no regard for the long-run national security of the United States."

That's perhaps one of those consequences of the French Revolution that Zhou Enlai was alluding to.

Posted by: Michael Robinson on November 4, 2003 07:21 PM

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With all these posts on trade policy towards China I would think you would have had a post on last week's Treasury Department currency report to Congress. The one that did not cite China for currency manipulation, did not call for any trade action against China, and said we should work with China to establish a floating exchange rate over time. And I note that Sasser focuses on pressures in the domestic political environment, not bashing the Bush Administration.

Posted by: Joe Blog on November 5, 2003 07:10 AM

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This could go under the heading of "Why oh why dont' we have a better press corp?" but I remember reading in the NY Times the other day (and I can't find the link right now, which is annoying me) and article that was talking about the administration and said that "administration critics" are complaining about China's policy. This totally flies in the face of the truth, which is the administration itself criticizing Chica as a political scapegoat. I mean, it was amazing how lazy this reporter was. I'll try to find the link later.

Posted by: Dan in Chicago on November 5, 2003 07:39 AM

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China bashing from the US Commerce Secretary

http://www.commerce.gov/opa/index.html

“China has lifted millions of people from poverty by taking important steps toward capitalism, but they have a long way to go. China’s current trade practices are exploiting our open markets and are creating an unfair advantage that is undercutting American workers,” said Evans.

Posted by: bakho on November 5, 2003 08:40 AM

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