Singapore growth forecast down to 1%


Unknown future: As Singapore further cut its growth forecast, New Zealand, India and Thailand also cut their interest rates signalling concerns on growth outlook. — AFP

SINGAPORE: Singapore slashed its full-year economic growth forecast as global conditions were seen worsening and data confirmed the slowest growth rate in a decade amid mounting fears of recession in the city-state.

The government cut its forecast range for gross domestic product in Singapore – often seen as a bellwether for global growth because international trade dwarfs its domestic economy – to zero to 1% from its previous 1.5%-2.5% projection.

Singapore’s downgrade adds to concerns globally about the effect of increasing protectionism on exports and production.

The deterioration in the global outlook has pushed central banks to cut interest rates and consider unconventional stimulus to shield their economies.

“GDP growth in many of Singapore’s key final demand markets in the second half of 2019 is expected to slow from, or remain similar to, that recorded in the first half, ” the trade ministry said in a statement to the media yesterday.

The ministry flagged a host of growing economic risks including Hong Kong’s political situation, the Japan-Korea trade dispute, the Sino-US tariff war, slowing growth in China and Brexit.

Final second quarter GDP data yesterday showed a 3.3% on-quarter contraction on a seasonally-adjusted annualised basis. That was slightly smaller than the 3.4% decline seen in the government’s advance estimate but deeper than a 2.9% fall predicted in a Reuters poll and a sharp contrast to the robust 3.8% first quarter expansion, which was driven by brisk construction activity.

Yesterday’s data also confirmed annual GDP expanded 0.1% in April-June from a year earlier, its slowest rate in a decade, and lower than poll expectations of 0.2% and the first quarter’s 1.1%.

Singapore’s benchmark stock index fell 1.2% to a two-month low in early trade, underperforming other bourses in the region.

Singapore has been hit hard by the Sino-US trade war, which has disrupted world supply chains in a blow to business investment and corporate profits.

Also yesterday, Singapore cut its full-year forecast for non-oil domestic exports to a 9% contraction from an 8% fall previously.

That comes after a 26.9% drop in electronics exports in the second quarter year-on-year.

“With trade tensions between the US-China unlikely to abate anytime soon, we expect exports and trade-related services to push the economy into technical recession in Q3, ” said Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics.

New Zealand, India and Thailand all cut interest rates last week, signalling major concerns about the outlook for economic growth. Last month, the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2008.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an annual speech last week that the government stood ready to stimulate the economy.

“It feels like the storm is coming if you look at the whole macro economic fundamentals softening, ” said Selena Ling, head of treasury and strategy at OCBC Bank.

“All the downside risks are piling up on one side, ” Ling added, pointing to the myriad of global risks flagged in the trade ministry statement. — Reuters

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American anti-China Hawks ignited the trade war, are Trump’s advisors

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Peter Navarro, a hawk that ‘lacks intellect and common sense’ is Trump’s trade adviser or political agitator?


A profile photo of Peter Navarro Photo: IC

○ Navarro used the idea of the seven sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind

○ Navarro has been called the US President Donald Trump’s “spirit animal” as Donald Trump Jr. called him “a fierce warrior” for his father’s America First trade agenda

○ Politicians like Navarro have ruined the efforts made in the China-US trade talks and US society will pay for this, analysts said

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday said that China must end the “seven deadly sins,” a remark that was criticized by Chinese experts as “absurd and full of hostility” and that Navarro’s dominance of economic issues in the White House is a source of sadness in current China-US trade ties.

Navarro, 69, is a White House trade adviser and ardent supporter of the trade war. Several days earlier, Trump escalated his tariff war with China and Navarro was the only person at the announcement who supported it.

Navarro used the Christian concept of the seven deadly sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind. His willful moves to stir up hatred between countries are the real sin, analysts said.

He has written three books discrediting China and produced documentaries portraying Beijing as a threat. He ingratiates himself with those in the White House in order to get promoted. He has a “big mouth” and was told to shut up after saying the Canadian Prime Minister deserves “a special place in hell.” He has written a number of books, but has always been an unrecognized “non-mainstream economist.”

Navarro’s distinguishing feature among White House staff and senior officials is likely not that he is more of a “hawk” than others, but that he lacks intellect and common sense. He is highly compatible with his leader in his use of irrational methods, a Chinese scholar told the Global Times.

A US cargo ship (back) is seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018. Photo: VCG

Out of favor

“Imagine the United States simultaneously engaged in trade wars with China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Brazil and Turkey,” said a report by the Axios news website in August 2018.

Axios has obtained a copy of a draft executive order Navarro put together in the fall of 2017 that would have imposed tariffs on every product imported from every country doing significant business with North Korea, according to Axios.

“Its death is thanks to — well, just about everyone. Officials at Commerce, State, Treasury, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative all considered the proposal totally unworkable,” Axios reported.

As long as he’s in the administration, there will be a persistent, noisy, enthusiastic voice for these kinds of tariffs, according to Axios.

In fact, Navarro was out of favor in the White House when he proposed the tariffs. The American website Vox Media recalled that in the fall of 2017, John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, began controlling advisers’ access to Trump by having Gary Cohen, director of the White House national economic council, restrain Navarro.

What did Navarro do? In order to get more direct contact with Trump, he often lurked in the West Wing of the White House at night and on weekends.

Navarro was named director of the newly established White House national trade council after President Trump’s election in 2016, and he remained director after it was transformed into the White House office of trade and manufacturing policy in April 2017. However, Navarro’s first year in the White House was difficult because Trump’s economic team was run by “globalists.”

An American with ties to Trump’s business team told the Global Times that Navarro did not have his own team in the first few months in the White House and had to attend meetings alone. Not only was he excluded from many high-level strategy meetings, he was also required to copy all work emails to Cohen.

However, two personnel changes in early 2018 gave Navarro an opportunity. In February, Rob Porter, a top political aide and White House staff secretary who was a key supporter of free trade, resigned over domestic violence allegations. In March 2018, Cohen resigned after Trump insisted on tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

Navarro was eager for the vacant position and went all out for it in private, but publicly pulled his punches and said he wasn’t competing for it, Politico reported.

Navarro eventually failed, but rose in stature. According to one American trade expert, Trump wanted protectionism, but almost everyone in the room disagreed.

Lü Xiang, an American issues expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, told the Global Times that Navarro’s role in the process of economic policymaking in White House was elevated after Cohen’s resignation. It is said that his annual salary was raised from second class to first class from March 2018, lower only than that of the President and vice president, which shows the appreciation with which he has been received.

In May 2018, the China-US high-level trade consultation was held in Washington.

A reporter at Bloomberg said the White House had not scheduled Navarro for the talks because of his inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. But Navarro criticized Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the US Treasury, in the media for giving too much ground in the talks. A few days later, Trump repudiated the negotiations and imposed taxes on $50 billion worth of Chinese products.

Given Navarro’s influence, Time magazine published an article in August 2018 saying that he does not have as much power as Mnuchin or the same responsibilities as trade representative Robert Lighthizer, but that his role should not be underestimated. If Stephen Miller, a controversial White House senior adviser, is the infamous player behind immigration, Navarro is the core leader of a series of much-criticized economic policies.

Unpopular loser

In published photos, Navarro looks somber, with a high forehead and gray hair.

He has a lot more to show for himself, with his Harvard degree, his doctorate and so on, but it is his paranoia that is his most memorable feature. In fact, Navarro originally wanted to be a politician, not an adviser, but he had a problem: people don’t like him.

Navarro was originally registered as a Republican, but ran unsuccessfully for office four times as a Democrat in the 1990s. He was once close to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When he ran for congress in 1996, then-president Bill Clinton opposed him. His defeat was devastating: his wife divorced him and he fell deeply into debt.

Until 2008, he was a supporter of Democratic politicians, especially Hillary Clinton. But in the election of 2016, Navarro became an adviser to Trump. Trump is said to have suffered without the help of economists, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner asked Navarro to join after searching Navarro’s book on Amazon.

Born into a working-class family, Navarro grew up with his mother and was a hard-working graduate of two prestigious universities, Tufts and Harvard. However, his experience can be described as changeable and ill-fated.

Lü argues that his life experience has led to Navarro’s perennial unhappiness, and that he will spare no effort to translate his absurd claims into concrete policies once he is promoted by a leader who approves of him.

Although he is valued by his leader, Navarro was not liked by his colleagues. According to some American media, Navarro has a tough personality, and can be unaccommodating and unpopular. Navarro is as rude as ever when Trump cannot hear, scolding and belittling those who disagree with him.

‘Spirit animal’

Navarro was called “President Trump’s spirit animal” by Axios news website, as many scholars and experts in economy poured scorn upon his ideas on trade.

“Peter is a fierce warrior for my father’s America First trade agenda, and while it may upset some members of the failed bipartisan establishment of the Washington Swamp, he understands that we can’t allow China to continue taking advantage of American workers and hollowing out our industrial base,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement to The Washington Post. “His only agenda is my father’s agenda and the White House is lucky to have him.”

Some media pointed out that Navarro is the president’s intimate friend only when they talk about tariffs.

Experts said that Navarro was away from the spotlight for a while but then came back with a madder attitude.

Navarro appeared on Fox news on June 13, criticizing China in many fields, including intellectual protection and currency.

Many of Navarro’s propositions on trade and economy are condemned as unreasonable. Many mainstream economists think he has created a new school of economics dubbed the “stupid school.” His theories usually go against the principles of economics and he has made basic mistakes. In his articles, he has confused tariffs with added-value tax, Lü said.

“While purportedly an economist by training, Navarro’s economics is misguided, inaccurate and politicized,” Stephen Roach, a faculty member at Yale University, and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote in an editorial for the Global Times in July 2018.

It is normal that China and the US have differences, as they have their own interests. Instead of offering constructive advice to deal with these differences, Navarro has acted more like a political agitator. China and the US have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks and are trying to find ways to reach a consensus. The actions of some politicians, including Navarro, remind us that certain politicians’ tricks have ruined the good momentum of the trade talks again and again, Chinese experts noted that the US society will eventually pay for these politicians’ wrong deeds.

By Liang Yan, Qing Mu and Fan Lingzhi, Wang Huicong contributed to the reporting Source link 

Headless Hawk

Peter Navarro Photo: IC

Peter Navarro: trade adviser or political agitator?

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday accused China of committing the “seven deadly sins.” He said China must “stop stealing our intellectual property, stop forcing technology transfers, stop hacking our computers, stop dumping into our markets and putting our companies out of business, stop state-owned enterprises from heavy subsidies, stop the fentanyl, stop the currency manipulation” before the trade war comes to an end.

The “seven deadly sins” refer to the seven original vices in Catholic teachings. Such a metaphor reflects Navarro’s narrow-mindedness and psychological distortion. He wantonly hyped hatred between major powers, which is a real sin.

Navarro’s seven accusations against China are all clichés. The accusations are long-term China-US disputes and different definitions of the disputes. But of all remarks made by US officials on such differences, Navarro’s summary was the most vicious. It was not only ridiculous, but also full of hostility. His words have exposed the fact that his virtues can’t compare with his position. It is the woe of China-US economic and trade relations that such a person is hijacking the White House’s economic discourse power.

US media reported that Navarro is a key figure who has helped bring about the US decision to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products. He is a major spoiler contributing to the US breach of promises.

China has led its 1.4 billion people to prosperity and development. The country has not been involved in any war in more than 10 years, and has played a positive role in the UN’s climate action. As a trading power, China has made every deal with the US by mutual consent.

It is normal for China and the US to have different standpoints toward their disputes. Trade is mutually beneficial and China cannot force the US to have hundreds of billions of trade with it. This is common sense. By no means can Chinese people understand why the US could define China-US trade disputes in so many weird ways. The US side stubbornly insists on its values about interests, which are not suitable in current globalized world.

The two countries can improve trade balance by adjusting many practices. The Chinese side is willing to take into consideration some of the US’ concerns.

But wielding a tariff stick is unacceptable to China. Navarro said China-US trade won’t end unless China satisfies all the conditions. He speaks as if it’s only China’s one-side wish to end the trade war. Isn’t it boring to still threaten China so shallowly after one and a half years of trade war?

The fact is if the US side has no sincerity to reach a fair deal, China is prepared to fight the trade war to the end. China is being forced to do so, but it can do it well under pressure until the other side is discouraged.

It seems Navarro didn’t offer the president a technical solution to solving China-US differences. He behaves more like a political agitator. The two sides have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks through which negotiating teams work hard to find common ground.

But Navarro reminds us that some people’s political calculations keep impacting on the US negotiating position. American society will eventually pay for these people’s politics.

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American anti-China Hawks ignited the trade war, are Trump’s advisors


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US President-elect Donald Trump appointed Peter Navarro, a strident critic of China, as head of the new National Trade Council on Wednesday. Most of the Trump’s views in his accusation against China during and after the election are influenced by Navarro. Moreover, Trump’s special adviser Carl Icahn and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also take a hard line on the trade with China. The possibility of a potential trade war between China and the US after Trump takes office has come under heated discussion.

Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert

 

Peter Navarro doesn’t speak Chinese, and has scant in-country experience. Should that matter?

University of California at Irvine Economics Professor Peter Navarro, head of White House National Trade Council nominee for president-elect Donald Trump, arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. A top congressional ally to Trump said Thursday that Republicans will repeal Obamacare, including some funding provisions, quickly while a replacement plan is due in “six to eight months.” Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/13/peter-navarro-profile-national-trade-council-donald-trump-china-expert

The issue needs to be considered in the backdrop of a major adjustment of the US policies toward China. At present, there is a glaring contrast between the economic prosperity and political stability in China and the economic downturn and political division in the US, which stings the US policy elites who are steadfast defenders of the US hegemony and its role as the world leader. Those elites tend to believe that the increasingly powerful China has not made the changes approved by the US and is trying to upend the international order shaped by the US.

Thus, it has now gradually become an expectation for the incoming US government to discard the long-standing engagement policy and adopt tougher or more confrontational policies toward China instead.

Against this backdrop, the trade topics closely associated with employment and welfare have become more sensitive but quite effective tools for the China hawks to create an unfriendly public opinion against China. The China-US trade disputes are no longer simply economic topics, but have strong political and strategic implications.

The manufacturing industry is not only the foundation for the US economic recovery, but also the key to solving the unemployment problem and guaranteeing social stability. The imbalance of China-US economic and trade relationship is considered by economists represented by Navarro as the critical reason for the weakening US manufacturing industry. They believe that the current close trade ties have boosted China’s rapid development, whereas the hundreds of billions of dollars of US trade deficit with China has led to the current economic woes in the US. They also blame the US manufacturing companies that moved their factories to China for the high domestic unemployment rate.

In other words, the field of trade, which has long been regarded as mutually beneficial, is now considered by advisers of the incoming US government to be detrimental to their country’s interests. The US maintains that a major trade policy adjustment needs to be urgently pushed forward to give China a head-on blow.

Although bilateral trade generally works by following WTO rules, the US policy elites, represented by Navarro, maintain that their country’s serious inherent economic problems are caused by both China, which fails to address bilateral trade problems impartially, and the US government, which neglects the American public’s demands. They keep overstating China’s negative role to the American public, and thus have made full preparation for a big policy change toward China in the coming years.

Given the current policymaking atmosphere in the US as well as Trump’s picks of advisers, the US has a strong desire to make a major confrontational policy adjustment in its trade with China in the future. However, it still remains uncertain if the adjustment will directly lead to a trade war.

The high interdependence of bilateral trade indicates that any form of trade war provoked by the US will ultimately hurt itself. It is probably difficult for the Trump team to figure out how much self-damage their country is able to withstand.

During the election campaign, Trump denounced the greediness of Wall Street magnates and promised to create new jobs, but, ironically, the officials he appointed after winning the election mostly came from the Wall Street.

China’s economic power is no longer as it was before, and its defining power over bilateral relations in trade and all the other aspects is stronger than ever. It is impossible for China to sit back and let the US destroy the mutually beneficial situation in trade. Instead, China will firmly push forward the future bilateral ties under the concept of building a new type of major power relationship.

In contrast to the uncertain US trade policies toward China, China’s policies toward the US are clear and concise: get rid of any barriers and push forward bilateral relations in a stable and mutually beneficial direction. The evolution of China-US relationship has always been a process of moving forward and addressing various conflicts along the way. It is hoped “the China-US trade war” will only be a verbal clash, instead of a clash in real action.

By Li Haidong Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/25 13:43:39

The author is a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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US anti-China hawks may yet scupper trade deal  

Right after the G20 summit in Japan, US Senator Marco Rubio made the headlines again by calling for legislation to continue the ban on Huawei, even after US President Donald Trump said he would lift some of the restrictions on US companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

Image result for US Senator Marco Rubio an Anti-China Hawk imagesSenator Rubio Prepares To Blast China …
forbes.com

 

Rubio is a salient representative of the US political extreme. Some US politicians appear to take advantage of the split in US society and are using their extreme political views to gain more voters as well as please different political groups. This actually reflects the increasingly prominent malfunction of US politics.
It is an important reason why China is concerned that the US-launched trade war against China will not end in the short term.

We believe there are rational people who know China well at the US government’s decision-making level. Even so, lawmakers like Rubio have gone too far. They are not messing with China but rather wearing down the credibility of US politics.

The US political system is becoming increasingly flawed. Many politicians deliberately act up to firmly oppose anything that would benefit China for the sake of being anti-China. That the political landscape is becoming extreme in the US is providing these politicians with the opportunity to play to their base if they show an open anti-China stance.

Rubio is one such politician. He paints himself as being hostile to China to draw attention. Despite the fact that the trade war and the Huawei ban are harming the interests of the US, Rubio insists on this excessively tough stance toward China because that could spark controversies which could end up favoring him.

This is what Rubio, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, needs to fulfill his political ambitions. Such narrow-minded thinking has de facto escalated the US-launched trade war against China.

Rubio doesn’t understand China and probably barely knows China’s history. But taking advantage of being anti-China, he can create hot debates and make headlines, and thus gain more assets for his political career.

Even though people who don’t know much about the world’s second-largest economy can be a senator in the US, it is a joke that someone like Rubio can pretend to be a China hand and comment on China’s policies. This is one of the key reasons for the ratcheted-up tensions between China and the US.

The fundamental split in the US political system provides openings for hawkish politicians who have long been hostile toward China. The US is now in the throes of the 2020 presidential campaign, when candidates vie with each other to make outrageous remarks to appeal to their supporters.

This marked increase in radicals in US politics makes it much more difficult for the US government to function normally and for Republicans and Democrats to reach compromises, especially on major issues.

Even though there are signs of China-US trade frictions turning around, as the US political system will not fundamentally change in the short term, China must remain vigilant and prepare for a long-term trade war, in case the hawks gain the upper hand.

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/30 19:53:39

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US China hawk Peter Navarro back on guest list for Donald Trump …

 

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More than just a trade war, US in skirmises with China over IT, trade and ‘national security’


American economist Jeffrey D. Sachs says Canada is doing the Trump administration’s bidding in its handling of the Huawei case. To read more: https://www.cbc.ca/1.4947966

Nobody is supposed to win any war, and the US is anxiously proving that true in skirmishes with China over IT, trade and ‘national security’.

CHINA will not have Ivanka Trump arrested if she were to transit through Hong Kong airport, even now.

Beijing does not have the intent or capacity for that – nor the recklessness required for it, particularly in the throes of a trade war.

But US authorities had Sabrina Meng Wanzhou arrested while transiting through Vancouver airport. Ivanka and Sabrina are prominent businesswomen, but there are also differences between them. Ivanka is the daughter of President Donald Trump. In China and elsewhere, Sabrina is the daughter of modern China and its historic rise.

Critics of Sabrina’s arrest call it a kidnapping. The charges against her are unclear, the intent lacks transparency, and the action itself is unprecedented even for US double standards and a maverick president.

British politician George Galloway condemned Sabrina’s arrest as piracy, a death wish and an act of war. Prof Jeffrey Sachs calls it almost an act of war on China’s business world exposing Washington’s “supreme hypocrisy.” He finds the official pretext lacking credibility. Sachs says that in the past nine years alone, the US penalised 25 other companies from almost as many countries for violating unilateral US sanctions on doing business in third, fourth or fifth countries.

Yet in all these cases the US held the company responsible rather than an individual officer of the company. The case against Huawei had taken an unprecedented and disturbing character from the start.

Jack Ma says the trade war itself is only part of the complicated and now troubling relationship between the US and China. It is so messy that he sees any resolution only in another 20 years.

At one level, today’s US phobia about doing business with China relates to what Washington calls security concerns. Huawei founder and Sabrina’s father Ren Zhengfei was reportedly an elected official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1982.

What would that mean for Ma of Alibaba, confirmed only two weeks ago as a current card-carrying member of the CPC? Nobody outside Washington seems too bothered.

Business, especially international trade, is supposed to be above petty political differences in a very diverse world. But apparently, pettiness matters in a trade war scenario veering towards a cold war. The trade war mindset and the persecution of Huawei are situated within global superpower and geopolitical rivalry between the world’s two biggest economies.

China is still a developing country despite its many achievements, and is determined to press ahead with more growth to develop its poorer regions. Huawei is in the forefront of this national resurgence.

The US remains the world’s technology leader and sole superpower – and intends to stay that way. Since a hyper-competitive international environment does not always favour it, it has resolved to block any challenge while complaining about trade with China.

Owing to China’s population size, significant GDP growth per capita would mean development on a massive scale. And because of reliance on international markets and global supply chains, connectivity makes infrastructure and IT vital.

The current US position on China consists of the phobias and manias of senior administration officials around Trump.

Among the most prominent is economics hawk Prof Peter Navarro, head of the White House National Trade Council. The author of Death By China was conspicuously left out of Trump’s cordial visit to China last year.

Since then, Navarro has moved closer to the Oval Office. So have other hawks circling China.

John Bolton is a Bush-era neo-conservative savouring entry into Trump’s inner circle. That did not happen in the first year, but now he is National Security Adviser. Bolton is notorious as instigator of the Iraq invasion. Now he has focused his foreign aggression on a trade war, indicating he had more to do with Sabrina’s arrest than Trump himself.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is another hawk eager to target Beijing. He regards China as a “trade threat” and has grown personally close to Trump.

The Economist called US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross a protectionist, and he has submitted to the hawkish trend against China. His shares in some China companies are no longer an issue, especially after he has turned his China experience to serve US nationalist interests.

Yet for all their devices, the attack on China by targeting Huawei will not dampen – much less stop – China’s rise. It will teach China to be more vigilant about trade partners, steel it for future pitfalls, and redouble its efforts to grow stronger.

Already there are signs of Sabrina’s arrest being counter-productive, with other forms of blowback against US interests virtually assured.

First, Beijing’s support for Chinese firms like Huawei operating internationally will grow. Even greater state-industry collaboration in China’s national interests, particularly when abroad, can be expected.

Second, China’s corporate sector will offer even greater support for the Government and the CPC in return. As this happens at multiple levels, China’s international competitiveness can only heighten.

Third, public support in China for Chinese companies has also grown, fuelling the rise of Chinese nationalism. Even before Sabrina’s arrest, a nationwide survey found majorities in 300 Chinese cities would boycott US companies.

Fourth, public support for the Chinese state and the CPC continues to accumulate. Whenever the national interest is threatened, all sectors close ranks against the common foe.

Fifth, the action against Huawei has provoked China and triggered its people’s national pride. The extent to which this will multiply is still uncertain, but a clear sense of it is evident in social media.

Sixth, international support for China and its campaign for free trade are set to grow. This involves more than just companies fearful of similar actions for violating US sanctions, since the US has alienated itself from even its allies.

Seventh, the Chinese diaspora in Canada has come out in support of Sabrina and other unfortunate Chinese nationals caught in such a situation. It has become more than just a national or criminal matter.

Eighth, Chinese Americans may also feel the racist pinch of US policy and act similarly. Will they then become suspects to their own Government?

Malaysian entrepreneur and Harvard MBA Tan Hock Eng’s Singapore-based Broadcom was supposed to take over California-based Quallcom in the biggest IT deal in the world. But in March this year the US scrapped the deal in the name of “national security interests.” To many ethnic Chinese that was a racist move.

Ninth, while some countries may sympathise with China over Huawei, others may just be put off by the US action and attitude. The result would be a net loss for US standing and prestige.

To provoke a rising China and get away with it requires consistently deft handling and masterful strategies. Both are lacking in Washington.

Trump has not been focused enough to even make senior administration appointments after two years. Melania Trump has also been pressuring her husband to dismiss the Deputy National Security Adviser.

The departure of senior staff has already been peaking on its own, many for personal reasons. Then Robert Mueller’s continuing investigations and indictments will add further to the dismissals.

All this is what comes of a “trade war” that is about more than just trade, involving more than any conventional notion of war.

Bunn NagaraBehind The Headlines

By Bunn Nagara, a Senior Fellow at ISIS  Malaysia.

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