@ATPJudge By the State Department’s own admission, American companies face an overtly hostile and discriminatory environment in China. Investors need government approval for projects, foreigners are barred from staffing key managerial positions, and many sectors are prohibited by Beijing from benefitting from foreign investment. At the same time, the Central Committee effectively distorts competition by doling out “better tax incentives and financing opportunities” to Chinese companies.
Succeeding on the Chinese market is therefore tremendously difficult for U.S. companies. On the flipside, Chinese investors face almost no barriers on doing business on American soil, a fact that is currently helping Beijing prop up its ailing economy and advance its global influence. What should be obvious, even to the Obama administration and certainly to its successor, is that these plays are just another expression of China’s unquenchable thirst for expansion. These strategies may seem new to targets in the West, but not to a Chinese government accustomed to deploying the same trade and financial weapons across the African continent and Asia.
Western analysts recognize China’s compelling need for agricultural resources to feed its ever-growing population and natural resources to supply its voracious industries. What they miss, with a naïveté that leads to peril, is that China’s longstanding commitment to expansion through trade, as the true endgame of a foreign policy that pays lip service to its “peaceful rise,” really means Chinese hegemony – and that’s a threat the U.S. must put to rest.
While the United States continues its mild-mannered overtures directed at appeasing conflicts in the South China Sea, or its iffy prospects for containing China’s economic power through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its ASEAN alignments, China doesn’t pull any punches. American leaders operate within a diplomatic framework anchored in the polite fiction of a peaceful China moving toward responsible leadership in the global community. That’s precisely the message the Chinese spent years creating, and a pretense they no longer bother to make themselves.
Meanwhile, America keeps building China’s world-class future at its own expense. The pleas to put an end to unchallenged Chinese economic practices that disadvantage Americans – the outright theft of American innovation, the unfair currency manipulation, the alignment with unsavory world leaders abroad and the indifference to the daily $1 billion trade deficit at home – need to be acted on, and fast.