Beijing : Free trade is the foundation of economic globalization and it is important to encourage it for an all round comprehensive development; with these words Li Keqiang, the Prime Minister of China laid down the role of his Country. At the ‘World Economic Forum’ meeting ongoing at Dalian, in China, indications were given that China was ready to take International leadership in economic, trade and other sectors. This stance of China seems to checkmate the policies of the US President Donald Trump. China which considers itself as an alternative to Trump’s protectionism policies however, avoided speaking eloquently on the economic developments at home.
Five months back, the Chinese President Xi Jinping, while strongly supporting globalization at the ‘World Economic Forum‘ convened in Davos, had severely criticised the defensive economic policies of the US President Donald Trump. At that time, the Chinese President had declared that his nation was a strong promoter of the globalization process. At the same time, he assured that if the US tries to block this process, then China will step in its place.
In the speech delivered at Dalian, the Chinese Prime Minister Keqiang reiterated the same stance. He said that if an all-inclusive economic development is required, then globalization at an economic level has to be firmly supported. On account of globalization at an economic level, the transaction of money and manpower have become easily accessible. Bigger markets for the manufacturers and better options for the consumers are now available. Although a few challenges have come up due to globalization, Keqiang reminded, that all nations have benefited.
While speaking about globalization, he also put forward the issue of free trade. He said that free trade is the foundation of economic globalization. Hence attempts should not be made to enforce one-sided rules while carrying transactions at an economic level. Free and open trade could be possible only then, taunted the Chinese Prime Minister. It is evident that the speech of the Chinese Prime Minister on the issue of globalization and free trade, is an attempt to challenge the policies of the US President, Trump.
President Trump, after assuming the office of President, announced his exit from the ambitious free trade agreement, ‘Trans Pacific Partnership’ (TPP). After this, he started negotiations to modify the provisions in the ‘NAFTA’ agreement with the neighbouring nations, Canada and Mexico. Following this, President Trump decided to exit from the Global Climate Change Agreement. While doing this, Trump gave indications that henceforth stress would be given on bilateral agreements instead of multi national trade agreements.
This stance taken by Trump is going against the until now ‘Globalization’ and ‘Free Trade’ policies of the US. Japan, Australia considered friends of US along with European countries have strongly condemned these policies of Trump. Against this background, the role of the Chinese leadership openly supporting globalization and free trade is somewhat striking. Since the past few years, China has been aggressively striving to achieve the status of a ‘Global Leader‘. For this it has been manoeuvering at an international level and in various sectors to create challenges for the US or create alternatives for US.
Supporting globalization, free trade and climate change agreement, all seem to be a part of this move. China, which was once metaphorically called the ‘Wall Of Steel’, while supporting these policies does not seem much keen to develop at home . Hence experts and economic analysts are doubtful if the efforts of China to oppose the policies of Trump, and attempt to project international leadership would ever succeed.