US unilateralism hurts global supply chain
Editor's Note: The author is Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS), Islamabad, and Regional Expert: China, CPEC & BRI. The article only represents the opinion of the author and not necessarily Gwadar Pro.
The US government has been scheming and sponsoring a trade war against China. Its unilateral economic “sanctions” against many countries are spreading the malign intention of economic marginalization, political isolation around the globe.
America’s permanent trade stand-off against China has now turned into dirty power politics in which the US and Western mass media accused the Chinese government of its so-called poor human rights situation in Xinjiang region and showed great concerns about the so-called forced labour. In reality, they do not have any substance and their “presumptions of truth” are largely based on false, fake and fictional propaganda against China.
By intentionally switching its focus from domestic issues to international relations and completely banned imports from Xinjiang region, the US Administration anticipates serious socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic spillover on the bilateral relations and on the international trade system by destabilizing the global industry and supply chains.
It seems that weakening economic conditions and poor socio-economic prospects have forced the US to start another round of futile game of whoopla against China. But its sanctions against Xinjiang have been “backfired” and “backlashed” and are seriously hurting its domestic industry as 45 percent of poly-silicon used in solar panels comes from Xinjiang.
According to the Wall Street Journal (July 2022), in less than two months after this law took effect in June, the US solar industry has already feeling the heat in terms of supply disruptions as Chinese solar-panel suppliers have had shipments to the United States detained or sent back during the past several weeks.
As a result, the US local customers could see 10 gigawatts or more of supplies delayed, equivalent to nearly half of the US' installed capacity during 2021. It may lead to substantial rise in unemployment in the US solar industry. Furthermore, it may further increase materials costs, and slow down Biden's ambitious green energy goal of building a carbon-free power grid by 2035.
Ours is the age of geo-economy in which economic diplomacy and sensible commercial engagements usually pave the way for greater socio-economic sustainability and stability of the world. Geo-economy also promotes befitting economic interdependence which provides essential stimulations for the regional as well as international economy. Thus, US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is not a sensible economic measure. Rather, it is a politics-driven “plot” to diminish smooth functioning of supply chains and will achieve nothing but imminent collateral damages in its own economy.
Political sanity should prevail and the US administration should step down from the prolonged “Contain China” doctrine so that both countries can return to the path of cooperation and coordination. It would be conducive to the global economy which is still struggling to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooperation and better political consultation between the US and China is the only way forward. The US should come out of its “self-conceived utopia” and avoid such unilateral imposition of sanctions because they only lead to trade war and economic exploitation. The world is anticipating US-China economic cooperation to gear-up economic recovery in the post Covid-19 era.