WSIC: US-China Trade War
Standing only a few hours away from a US announcement regarding tariffs for Chinese imports in the United States, you might not even hear about it after it's taken place. But the truth is, this decision will slowly affect your own lives here in Taiwan.
This is a part of a series we're calling WSIC or more recognizably - Why Should I Care?
So let's answer this question - why you should care.
For decades the US has been a global leader on free trade. On the eve of 2016 they were mere steps away from implementing a large trade agreement that stood in the face of Chinese authority over the South-East Asian states. TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was applauded by many academics around the world, and yet there was growing resentment towards what this agreement stood for - the benefits of globalization not being equally distributed through much of the post-industrial world. This same sentiment is what gave rise to the tide of nationalism that swept President Donald J Trump to victory, and what ultimately put the nail in the coffin for TPP and the US' role as a global leader of free trade.
Enter China, stage right. China has been building its arsenal against western values for many years. Slowly building in strength to quietly overthrow western supremacy on the world stage. China appeared at Davos Switzerland for World Economic Forum in a stance of adversity against Trump's nationalistic agenda. Emperor Xi stood up and spoke of how the world gains through free and open trade and helped push for a swift adoption of the One Belt, One Road Initiative China is flouting to champion its new emergence as a service-led import-leaning economy.
So this reversal of fortune now brings us to today. A day when this rhetoric is now tightly wound a screw that prepared to drive a large wedge between these two sleeping giants. Just two weeks ago, The US brought back its pawn, our lovely island nation of Taiwan, into the mix. It signed a commitment to strengthen relations between the two states, clearly meant to serve as a signal for China. China responded somewhat assertively with a statement indicating that no nation will ever divide the one true China.
With tensions building, and Taiwan squarely caught in the middle there are many possible outcomes for our sacred home. It's hard to imagine China would ever launch a full-fledged military offensive towards Taiwan, with the world watching - China wants to build global trust, not lose it. What China may seek to do is cripple the economy in some way, not through self-induced toilet paper shortages in the Taiwan market, but through more nefarious methods. Taiwan is seeking to cushion the damage of what a ruthless China may be like in terms of trade by spreading out its chickens through the Southbound Policy.
Time will tell what really happens, the only thing we can be certain of is that things will change. We need to be adaptive to survive all that comes our way.