US must stop politicizing trade, technology issues

China has produced all kinds of items for the world. Nobody has the right to call international trade "economic aggression." Otherwise, global trade would become global aggression, which is total nonsense. The US should stop politicizing trade and stop stigmatizing and discriminating against China and other developing countries.

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By Liu Zhiqin

One of the excuses used by the US to start the tariff conflict with China is that China violated laws governing intellectual property rights (IPR) and “stole” IP from the West. This false accusation was intended to damage China’s image and reputation.

More seriously, this lie confused and distorted the facts on who is the IP thief and who has stolen technologies from all over the world. The truth must be clarified through legal procedures so China has a chance to restore its reputation. There is a saying that a lie travels around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. This is exactly the case when it comes to the US blaming China of stealing IP from the West. Those who have a basic knowledge of world economic development know that China had many innovations in history that helped the world, including Western nations, hundreds of years ago. We still remember the invaders from Western countries who came to China and stole Chinese technologies for their home countries.

For instance, the techniques and knowhow of China’s textile and craft industries were stolen and copied by Western companies without any payment. China in the past took the view that advanced technology belongs to and should benefit everyone. But the US, after having taken techniques from the UK, established laws to protect these stolen techniques as its own. Looking back in history, China is the real victim of IP theft. The US has tried to label China’s exports as a form of economic aggression to cover up another brutal fact: the West is trying to use IP aggression to attack developing countries.

The most precious human value is conscience. But unfortunately some politicians in Western countries lack that. When they talk about or look at the great progress of China, they appear narrow-minded. For example, the US used to claim China was a currency manipulator, no matter whether the US dollar depreciated or appreciated against the yuan. Whenever the US has economic problems, it blames China instead of its own policy mistakes and wrongdoings. China made every effort to maintain the value of the yuan at a stable level during the crises such as global financial crisis in 2008 to help calm the markets.

If China had intentionally depreciated its currency during the crisis, the US economy could have taken another decade to recover. It was because of China’s monetary policy that the global economy didn’t suffer a worse setback.  The US has “framed” China with the term of economic aggression with no evidence. There is something such as economic aggression, but it is not coming from China. It has originated in and been spread by the US. We still remember how Coca-Cola invaded the world market.

It’s borne in mind how the US has used cultural aggression in most countries of the world via Hollywood. Nobody can deny that the US is the largest source of economic and cultural aggression in the world. Now China has to stay vigilant against a new type of aggression – IP aggression from Western countries. IP should be a good tool for Western nations to help and support the global economy, but unfortunately some Western countries are trying to use IP as a weapon to “enslave” developing countries. Some have even tried to control emerging economies with it.

This is an absolute betrayal of the purpose of technological advancement. Technology serves human beings. It should not be a weapon to control or stifle other nations’ development.

We are facing a serious problem: Developed nations have dominated IP and its advantages, and developing countries are enslaved by them forever. This is the fundamental reason that developing countries have a limited voice in world affairs and are always left behind by advanced economies.

The worst part is that even when China and other developing countries produce their own IP, they are still labeled by some Western nations as thieves. This is the logic of robbers.

China has produced all kinds of items for the world. Nobody has the right to call international trade “economic aggression.” Otherwise, global trade would become global aggression, which is total nonsense. The US should stop politicizing trade and stop stigmatizing and discriminating against China and other developing countries.

The author is a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

(People’s Daily/Global Times)

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