(This Editorial was carried in the English language Global Times as well. The latter is reproduced below, pending translation of the Chinese original.)
The U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, Trade Representative and Labor jointly issued a new business advisory on Tuesday, reminding U.S. businesses and individuals to be wary of maintaining supply chain relationships with entities that commit so-called “forced labor” and other abuses in China’s Xinjiang region to avoid reputational, economic and legal risks to themselves. economic and legal risks.
This is an update to a business warning issued by the Trump administration last July, which added a joint department, used tougher language and was more specific, listing 20 major industries.
There are reports that the Biden administration will issue a business warning against Hong Kong this weekend.
The business warning involving Xinjiang shows that the U.S. is determined to completely exclude China’s Xinjiang region from the U.S. supply chain. In addition to the direct damage of the warning, it may have two subsequent effects: first, Washington will use the chilling effect of the warning to force other multinational companies outside the U.S. to follow suit; second, Washington may treat the “isolation of Xinjiang “as a test step for the U.S. to gradually “decouple” from China, and assess whether to take further action based on the actual effects of doing so and the damage caused to the United States.
Xinjiang’s economy is not very externally dependent, and the consequences of U.S. sanctions on Xinjiang could be largely absorbed through the internal circulation of China’s large market. But the U.S. side’s move is very insidious, we must pay great attention to its butterfly effect, Washington may want to sanctions on Xinjiang to hit the entire Chinese advantageous industries (such as photovoltaic, etc.) to guard against a rainy day.
China should invoke the spirit of trade war — we “do not want to fight, not afraid to fight, if necessary, have to fight” — to meet the U.S. attack. Take Xinjiang cotton, it is Xinjiang in the international industrial chain embedded in the deepest products, and China is the world’s largest textile consumer market, China should dare to fight in this area, to defend its rights. We have to be brave enough to insist that some clothing brands in China continue to use Xinjiang cotton, according to the specific circumstances of the products sold must, and hit the U.S. side hard. As China’s current cotton market is large and has greater potential, there will be U.S. companies forced to choose between the two and suffer huge losses, there will also be non-U.S. companies eventually to stay in the Chinese market and give up the U.S. market, that will set back Washington’s arrogance.
In other industries too, China cannot easily allow U.S. companies to exclude Xinjiang products, and must pull U.S. companies that do that into the list of unreliable entities. In addition, the U.S. government on paper is demanding the exclusion of Xinjiang companies with evidence of so-called “forced labor” and “other abuses,” which, in addition to the space for market games, has a lot of room for legal battles. China must not easily give up and let Washington do whatever it wants.
China’s consumer market is already comparable to that of the United States, which means that “decoupling” will be painful for U.S. companies, and China must take steps to reinforce these pains. The rest of the world, including most U.S. allies, will have a very low willingness to let their companies suffer the pain of “decoupling” from China, and we need to use that low willingness as leverage in our game with the United States.
Washington has already shown its ambition to take action to stifle China’s continued economic growth, and the U.S. is generally stronger than China economically and has high-tech trump cards in its hands to coerce the world, such as chips. Our advantage is that our existing market is largely comparable to that of the United States, China is already the number one trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions, and we continue to unleash our development potential very quickly. We are maintaining the status quo and habitually expanding the benefits of Sino-foreign cooperation, while the United States wants to reshape the landscape and force companies in various countries to suffer losses, for which it needs to exert all its strength and is doomed to struggle.
This is a key battle, on the one hand, depends on the proper use of our tactics, on the other hand, depends on our ability to maintain further rapid market expansion. We must strive to take a step up our market expansion in the last few years, increase the desire and confidence of countries around the world to maintain cooperation with China, and give the U.S. a head start on its “decoupling” strategy. If we win this battle, we will shape the world’s expectations of the outcome of the U.S.-China game, the world will look favorably on China, and the U.S. policy of isolation from China will become self-isolation step by step.