US supermarket giant Costco opened its first Chinese outlet on Tuesday in Shanghai, five days after the United States leader said: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China including bringing your companies home and making your products in the USA.”
Whether the US leader has the right to issue his desire as an order remains a question. But what Costco has done brings home the fact that whether US companies leave or stay in China should really be a business decision.
The global supply chains were forged over time and for a reason. It is naïve to believe that anyone can unravel them in a day on a whim.
But one of the wrong notions, on which the unilateralism and trade protectionism of the United States are based, is that, as the world’s sole superpower, it can dictate whatever it wants to any country no matter how absurd what it wants is. It even believes that it can change the way the world economy runs.
That explains why it did what it has done to China and its other trade partners, and the rhetoric about China taking advantage of the US in its business dealings with US companies, including the unwarranted allegations of forced technology transfers and the stealing of intellectual property. It also explains the repeated increase of tariffs on imports from its trade partners.
Despite the ever-rising tariffs and increasingly fierce trade frictions between the US and China, some US companies still continue to invest in China and many of them still feel it is unrealistic and impossible to tear themselves away from their Chinese trade partners and from the Chinese market. That is because their business in China is profitable. Because China provides all the elements such as skilled workers, relatively cheap raw materials, good services and a well-ordered business environment to help them make a profit.
In this increasingly globalized world, the complementary relationship between the US and Chinese economies is much closer and more complicated than anyone can imagine.
The process of building such a relationship in the past four decades has greatly benefitted the development of both economies and contributed a great deal to the well-being of the two peoples.
It is not easy and certainly irresponsible to try and disentangle this relationship, as behind it are the interests of US and Chinese companies, and the interests of the American and Chinese peoples. Considering China contributes some 30 percent to the growth of the world economy annually, other economies also indirectly benefit from this relationship.
So delinking the US economy from that of China would be a disaster not only for both economies but also for the world economy. If that is the intention, second thoughts are indeed needed. China Daily