The following article, The United States & China: Twenty-First Century Rivals Or Friends?, was published in the January 2014 edition of Corporate LiveWire Expert Guide International Trade 2014:

本文刊登于2014年一月出版的Corporate LiveWire Expert Guide International Trade 2014。中文翻译请下移鼠标。

The Obama Administration has referred to Sino-American relations as the most important bilateral international relationship of the twenty-first century.  Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, however, has created a central question: Is the pivot intended to cultivate and enhance relations between China and the United States, or does the United States seek to surround and contain expanding Chinese political, economic, and military power?

As economic leaders, the United States and China should welcome competition.  Ever more prosperous trade partners translate into mutual prosperity.  But, when the goal of economic competition is superiority in national security, competition can turn into an unproductive rivalry.  If the Obama pivot and Chinese reforms were to encourage cooperation and healthy competition, the global and Asian regional futures would be bright.  But if China were not to welcome the American competition and were the United States seeking hegemony, the pivot could become threatening, to China and to others in the region.rivalry 2

The politics of international trade between China and the United States, and in the Asian region, must be understood in the larger context of international relations and security.  We want to touch on four issues, all centered on trade, that may suggest something about the future.

Bilateralism & Green Technologies

China and the United States are the world’s leading energy consumers and the world’s leading producers of carbon gases.  Both governments recognise climate change and have pledged to reduce reliance on hydrocarbons and to cooperate in the development of green technologies and alternative energy resources.  Yet, China is exploiting common needs to flood world markets with green equipment, and the United States, through its trade remedies laws, is closing its market to Chinese solar and wind power products.  Both countries have complained about each other at the WTO.  There is no discernible cooperation.

When the European Union reached a settlement with China over solar cells, the Washington Post suggested that the United States should do the same.  Solar cells reduce the carbon footprint and installation and maintenance create many more jobs than manufacture.  The Europeans reasoned that, if China wanted to flood the international market with solar cells, it would be good for consumers and for arresting climate change.  More solar cells would also create more jobs.

Unfortunately, U.S. trade law has no public interest clause and consequently no means to replicate the European settlement.  U.S. law enables a small industry to undo a large one because any industry can block imports.  And China retaliated, blocking American polysilicon used to manufacture solar cells in China.

Rivalry 3The solar cell problem is repeating in wind towers, where U.S. manufacturers are blocking imports of Chinese wind towers needed for the development of wind power in coastal regions by the U.S. manufacturers of wind turbines.  The turbines are far more valuable and sophisticated than the steel towers.  The smaller and less valuable industry is able to exploit the trade law to the detriment of foreign suppliers, consumers, other domestic industries, and global climate.  The trade law thus defeats Chinese-American cooperation.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership

The United States is committed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was designed originally to exclude China.  China, however, is a far more important trading partner with the United States than the countries that started the TPP negotiations in response to growing Chinese regional power.  Moreover, even were the TPP negotiations to conclude successfully, the United States Congress is unlikely to ratify it.

TPP failure would erode U.S. credibility in the Pacific while still undermining Sino-U.S. relations.  There is an alternative.  China, Japan, and South Korea are negotiating a trilateral free trade agreement that could help calm security and other disputes among the three leading economic powers in Asia.  The United States needs to lower expectations about TPP, and encourage the trilateral deal that would reassure China of the U.S. commitment to its well-being and improve relations throughout the region.

Trade & Non-Market Economies

The Special Safeguard (Section 421 of the U.S. trade law) against China expired in December 2013.  Treatment of China as a non-market economy must conclude, according to China’s WTO Accession Protocol, in December 2016.  However, China’s economy is still dominated by state-owned enterprises, 12 years past WTO accession, and organs of the central government continue to direct much of the economy.  Moreover, Chinese exports dominate trade remedy proceedings everywhere.

The Special Safeguard against Chinese goods was used successfully only once in twelve years (over automobile tires).  When the use of NME methodologies expires, enforcement of fair trade with China will be more difficult.  China already has challenged in the WTO the U.S. application of countervailing duties because the U.S. is treating China, for its own convenience, as both a market and non-market economy.

Isolating or containing China will not solve the distortions of a state-run economy.  As with Permanent Normal Trade Relations and then WTO accession, the United States must embrace China within the standards and norms of multilateral trade.

Military & Security Issues

There has been continuous hostility in the United States Congress toward China, mostly over trade.  Complaints center on alleged off-shoring of jobs (but there are no accompanying statistics) and currency valuations (because the Chinese Yuan is linked to the dollar).  Yet, the U.S.-China Business Council estimates that exports to China in 2012 created more than a half-million U.S. jobs, with around 122,000 added since 2008.  Chinese currency appreciated around 24 percent.    The U.S. dollar was linked to other currencies and did not float until August 1971.

Americans have been seeing China as a global security and potential military challenge.  The United States has appeared to side with Japan in the dispute over islets in the East  and South China Seas.  References to growing Chinese military power are frequent, and the United States has singled out China for continued export restrictions on items being moved off the U.S.  Munitions List.  The Chinese have complained, loud and long, about these restrictions (but without specifying what they may want and cannot buy).  Now China is being singled out by name for exclusion from the most significant reform of U.S.  export controls in decades, making it more difficult for Chinese to see themselves in a friendly relationship with the United States.

Conclusion

There is only one military superpower in the world today.  American military expenditure exceeds the expenditures of all other countries in the world combined and is more than four times the Chinese defense budget.  The United States can encourage a rivalry – reminding everyone of its alliance with Japan in response to growing Chinese military power, restricting trade with China as with no other non-embargoed country, encouraging trade formations that exclude China.  Or, the United States can intensify its dialogue with China.  It can encourage an even-handed settlement of regional disputes and the creation of inclusive regional institutions.  It can cooperate genuinely in reducing hydrocarbons and controlling climate change.

China can adopt a more accommodating posture, accelerating the reform of its economy away from state-owned enterprises, floating its currency, relaxing its military posturing.  China and the United States both know that trade and security are related.  Rather than use one to lever the other, they should be enhanced for both countries together.

奥巴马政府声称美中关系已成为21世纪最重要的双边关系。然而,总统的“侧向”亚洲政策却引发一重要问题:“侧向”亚洲旨在促进中美关系;还是美国试图包围中国,控制后者政治、经济和军事实力发展?

作为经济领袖,美中两国都应当欢迎竞争。更强大的贸易伙伴意味着共同繁荣。然而,当经济竞争成为国家安全的首要目标时,竞争可能变成阻碍发展的对抗。如果奥巴马总统的“侧向”亚洲政策和中国改革的确是为了增进合作、促进健康竞争,世界和亚洲的未来将更加光明。但如果中国不欢迎美国竞争、或是美国寻求霸权,则“侧向”亚洲政策将威胁中国和其他亚洲国家发展。

应当从国际关系和安全大环境角度审视中美贸易和亚洲贸易。本文将从四大贸易政策分析这些关系,期望阐明未来发展趋势。

双边主义和绿色科技

美中两国是世界两大能源消费国和世界领先的碳化物排放国。两国政府都意识到气候变化的威胁,并承诺将减低对碳化物的依赖、增进在绿色科技和可替代能源领域的发展合作。然而,中国积极利用共同需求,本国生产的绿色产品泛滥世界市场。另一方面,美国利用贸易救济法将中国太阳能及风力发电产品关闭在美国市场外。两国之间没有合作。

当中欧就太阳能产品贸易纠纷达成和解时,《华盛顿邮报》建议美国应当效仿。使用太阳能板能减少碳足迹,安装和维护工作创造的工作机会远远高于生产太阳能板创造的就业机会。欧洲方面认为,如果中国产太阳能板占据世界市场,这将有益于消费者,还可控制气候变化、创造更多就业机会。

令人遗憾的是,美国贸易法中没有公众利益这一条款,因此无法效仿欧盟模式。美国贸易法可帮助小产业毁灭大产业,因为任何产业都可阻碍进口。于是中国奋起还击,禁止用于太阳能板生产、原产美国的多晶硅销往中国。

太阳能板的故事在风塔案件中重演,美国生产商阻挠中国风塔销往美国,直接冲击在美东西两岸发展风能的美国风力发电机组生产商们。风力发电机组比风塔更复杂、更昂贵。但是规模较小、产值更小的行业却可利用贸易法损害国外生产企业、消费者以及其他国内产业,还加剧环境破坏。贸易法因此战败了中美合作。

跨太平洋战略经济伙伴关系

美国致力于跨太平洋战略经济伙伴关系谈判(TPP),这一谈判的初衷是将中国排除在外。然而和其他参与谈判的亚洲国家相比,中国是美国更为重要的贸易伙伴。而且,即使谈判顺利完成,美国国会也不会批准这一协定。

TPP失败将损害美国在太平洋地区的威信,同时破坏美中关系。但可通过其他途径避免这一现象。中日韩三国正在进行自由贸易协定谈判,这一谈判可帮助减少东北亚三国间安全以及其他摩擦。美国应当降低对TPP的期待,鼓励三国进行自由贸易协定谈判,这可让中国相信美国将坚定地支持中国发展并促进区域关系发展。

贸易以及非市场经济体

针对中国的特殊保障调查(美国贸易法第421款)已于2013年12月失效。同时根据中国加入世界贸易组织协议规定,中国将于2016年12月结束非市场经济地位。但是在加入世贸组织十二年后,国有企业仍占据中国经济主体,中央政府机构仍支配经济发展。此外,中国出口品在世界各地都面临众多贸易救济行动。

在十二年里,针对中国的特殊保障调查只成功运用了一次,即汽车轮胎案。当非市场经济贸易救济方法过期后,针对中国的公平贸易执法将更加困难。中国已经在世界贸易组织挑战美国对中国产品征收反补贴税,包括使用市场经济和非市场经济体计算方法。

孤立或是遏制中国不会根除政府主导经济带来的弊端。根据美中两国永久正常贸易关系以及中国入世协定规定,美国应当欢迎中国加入多边贸易体系。

军事以及安全问题

美国国会一直以来对中国非常敌视,尤其在贸易领域。指责包括美国就业机会流失海外(虽然并没有确切数据)、操纵汇率(人民币汇率和美元挂钩)等等。然而美中贸易全国委员会估计,对中国出口仅在2012年一年就在美国本土创造了超过50万个就业机会,人民币升值幅度约为百分之二十四。而在1971年8月之前,美元也是与其他货币挂钩,并没有自由浮动。

美国长期以来视中国为全球安全和潜在军事威胁。美国在东南海领土争端中表现得偏袒日本。中国军事力量日益增长的威胁论此起彼伏,同时美国仍然禁止向中国出口已经从军需品禁运名单上除名的产品。中国长期以来大声抱怨美方的这些限制,但却未能具体指明他们希望购买哪些禁运品。如今当美国经历几十年来最重大的出口控制改革之际,中国却成为唯一被另眼相待的国家,这使中国很难相信美中友谊。

总结

当今世界只有一个超级军事大国。美国军费开支超过世界其他国家军费开支总合,而且是中国国防预算的四倍。面对中国日益增长的军事实力,不断提醒大众美日联盟则可能鼓励对抗力量在中国进一步壮大,单单限制对华贸易可能鼓励排华贸易联盟的产生。或许,美国可加强与中国对话。美国可以公平对待区域争端、创建包容性区域组织。也可以和中国展开真诚合作,减少碳化物排放、控制气候变化。

中国也可以以合作姿态加速经济改革、汇率改革,弱化军事强国形象。中美都清楚地意识到两国贸易和安全紧密相连。与其相互钳制,不如携手促进两国联系。

翻译:朱晶