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Analysis: US losing its competitive advantage over China

The punitive actions unveiled on Thursday by US President Donald Trump, including tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods, indicates that the United States is losing its competitive advantage over China, an American writer and retired professor says.

“The US…is losing its competitive position in the world markets and is using unfounded accusation against China as a pretext to impose tariffs,” said James Petras, a professor emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, and adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

“The lost of competitiveness by the US is in part due to its enormous spending on arms and its overseas military bases and its heavy emphasis on the financial Wall Street speculative economy,” Petras said on Thursday.

“Instead of introspection and internal rectification, its externalizing its problems to China” he added.

The US fell out of the top three in a global competitiveness ranking last year, as executives’ perception of the world’s largest economy deteriorated after President Donald Trump’s election.

The US slipped one spot to fourth in an annual ranking published by the World Competitiveness Center, a research group located at the IMD business school in Switzerland.

The US now trails the much smaller economies of Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland in the competitiveness ranking.

Trump said Thursday he will impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports to reduce the massive US trade deficit with China and retaliate against the alleged theft of American intellectual property.

Trump signed a presidential memorandum that would impose restrictions on Chinese imports and investment in the US, raising fears of a global trade war.

Trump directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify and publish a proposed list of products that could be subject to tariffs.

The move, which comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs, has already been met with threats of retaliation from China.

The goods deficit with China alone rose 8 percent during Trump’s first year in office to a record $375 billion, or nearly half the total global gap between US imports and exports

The new measures are part of Trump’s so-called “America First” policy, which seeks to rewrite the rules of global commerce in favor of the US.

Trump has repeatedly blamed unfair trade deals and abusive practices by low-wage countries like China and Mexico for the massive US trade deficit and the loss of high-paying US factory jobs.

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