China vs United States, who will lead the global economy?

Noah Kazmierski

Many people blindly believe that the United States is in full control of its economic situation and the world’s.

But that is hardly the truth and there may be a bigger player than the United States in global economics. The common front-runners for this position over the past couple of decades have been the United States and China.

The US and China have both deployed different tactics in attempts to secure a winning position. We have seen China’s acceptance to trade frequently and in large quantities with the majority of the world.

The United States instead continues their “buy American” campaign and rolls out tariffs on what seems to be a monthly basis. The United States’ use of these tactics continues to reduce the amount of money leaving the United States but in return offer limited outside competition which forces the States to operate under maximum efficiency.

In broader terms, the United States chooses to handicap itself.

It is easy to see how the United States could fall behind in this race. The states repeatedly hinder themselves. In addition to operating at less than maximum efficiency, they are at a headlock in their political system. Neither the Democratic nor Republican parties are willing to open up the country to international trade to the extent of China.

Previous economic decisions show the divide between the two parties. In the article “As China forges global trade ties, U.S. risks falling behind Despite EARLY Biden WINS 2021” written by Frederick Kempe and published in CNBC, he provides a few economic decisions that have altered global trade for the US.

He noted former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) during his presidency while his opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, expressed her opposition to a Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The two running candidates for the 2016 election both preferred a more closed economy. Either Trump or Clinton would later be the president that would lead the United States through the first year of COVID-19 and it was not promising to see that both opposed optimizing the United States economy.

During America’s struggle to get a grip to align political and economic views, China has been making strides to mark its dominance in international trade. In the past year, China made history by becoming the EU’s largest trade partner, this marks the first time China has ever held that much trading power with the EU, Kempe states.

China has also signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) allowing for free-trade agreements with 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.

Regardless of China’s own political turmoil, President Xi Jinping has made tremendous strides in economic growth, even despite facing COVID-19. According to Kempe, China’s economy is up 18% in the first quarter of this year.

With additions to the newest signed trade agreements, and expressed interest in joining the CPTPP, the one Trump had revoked the US from, Xi and his country look primed to create some distance in trade power from the United States.

In a statement from Chinese president Xi, he speaks upon the importance of economic globalization and the power of “openness and integration” that follows an “unstoppable historical trend,” openness that the United States has not been able to accept.

Xi ends his statement by talking about countries that “erect walls” in the global market and “decouple” trade partners, according to Kempe. The comments seemed to have possibly been directed towards the United States and other countries that operate with high tariffs.

It is fair to say that economic issues are not at the forefront of many of America’s issues. There are also social issues, COVID-19, world peace and others, but global trade power could become an issue, and quickly. Especially in the post-COVID era, the United States’ economics are just as vulnerable as anyone else’s.

And it is a wonder how much pressure can be put on the American financial system before it collapses on the trillions of dollars being pumped into it.

The United States will need to get a solid grip on international trade relations before it slips through its hands.