The relations between the United States of America and China changed dramatically in the 20th century, as a result of a needed military collaboration to prevent drastic world changes, and later on as an outcome of an ideological war. However, the most recent and significant cause of the changing relations strategies is the economical aspect. During the last four decades, the total U.S.-China trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 to $562 billion in 2013. De-industrialization in the United States and industrialization and urbanization in China have allowed China to emerge as one of the world’s biggest workshops, despite still lagging technically far behind some leading industrial countries. Both countries have attached great political importance to their economic relations. From the Chinese government’s standpoint, bilateral trade and foreign investment have been crucial for China’s modernization and international stature. For its part, the United States, while strengthening its trade with China, has repeatedly subjected economic activity involving China—including trade, investment and finance—to national security and moral constraints. Despite these and other contentious issues, the two governments have emphasized their economic collaboration and mutual benefits, and trade relations have expanded rapidly, producing the world’s most robust trade relationship.
At the same time, China and the United States, as the two leading trading nations, share responsibility for the current state of global trade and finance and the unsettled post–World War II order in the Asia-Pacific. China’s absorption into the American-led economic orbit has set the stage for the next phase of development in the twenty-first century. But while in the past the client economies of the United States were small, China today is a giant and growing satellite. Despite growing commercial ties, the bilateral economic relationship has become increasingly complex and often fraught with tension. From the U.S. perspective, many trade tensions stem from China’s incomplete transition to a free market economy. While China has significantly liberalized it’s economic and trade regimes over the past three decades, it continues to maintain (or has recently imposed) a number of state-directed policies that appear to distort trade and investment flows. Many U.S. policy makers argue that such policies negatively impact U.S. economic interests and have contributed to U.S. job losses.
The choice of the United States on how to address commercial and trade disputes with China will be crucial, as the U.S. and China are the world's two largest economies, and the relations between them are crucial to the future development of the world economy. The upcoming administration of President Donald Trump seems to be against trade and cooperation with China, and this might have significant consequences on their economies and the global economy.
CLS Digest 2017
Find here selected essays from the Duke-UNC CLS 2017 applications written by delegates!