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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #288 - United States - China, a trade war on the backs of workers (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 9 Nov 2018 07:37:35 +0200

The confrontation of the two hyperpowers with customs taxing can bring nothing good to the employees, on one side or the other, and even in the whole world. ---- Since January, China and the United States are engaged in a " trade war ". The goal: to increase the products of the enemy by protectionist measures to favor the national production. For Donald Trump, it is a question of punishing Chinese commercial practices considered " unfair ": the " forced transfers of technologies " and " intellectual property rights " but also the depreciation of the yuan by China to support its competitiveness. ---- If the battle was first carried out with threats, it is now through real taxes of imported products, each offensive of one camp causing a response of the other. Latest episode: Washington announces, on September 17, the taxation of 200 billion dollars of Chinese imports. The next day, Beijing responded by setting up taxes on $ 60 billion of various imports such as machine tools, agricultural products, chemical components or liquefied natural gas.

375 billion deficit
Good news for workers ? The stated intentions of Trump are to restore American industrial power and thus to promote the employment of employees in the United States. In fact, the US industrial decline is undeniable, and the $ 375 billion trade deficit vis-à-vis China (a figure multiplied by 10 in twenty years) have something to do with it.

Yet there are many reasons to believe that the operation will not be beneficial to workers on either side of the Pacific.

Certainly, according to the association of American industrialists, taxes on steel and aluminum have had beneficial effects on employment in the steel industry, with 3,000 hires. But the response of the Middle Kingdom immediately has the opposite effect by raising the price of raw materials that the United States imports from China, thus making the US economy less competitive and less job-creating. It is also likely to generate higher prices for US consumers, because of increased tariffs on the finished product or the raw materials needed to manufacture it.

What the proletariat wins on one side, so it loses it on the other.

The same thing, symmetrically, is true for the Chinese people. On the other hand, the effects of this commercial war are not limited to the two hyperpowers ; they threaten the entire global economy. However, in case of crisis, it is above all the popular classes who toast.

Protectionism, sometimes touted on the left as beneficial to the working classes, finally pauperises the working classes in the same way as free trade. And it will be so as long as the economy is in the hands of the capitalists ... whether protectionist or free-traders, depending on the fluctuation of their interests !

Vincent (AL Saint-Denis)

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