The idea that the U.S. economy is dangerously dependent on China has been a talking point for U.S. China hawks for a decade.
So it is surprising to hear the idea being touted in the Global Times, the Communist Party controlled Chinese newspaper known for its aggressively nationalist views.
“U.S. families’ high dependency on Chinese products is the Achilles’ heel of U.S. trade policy,” the Global Times wrote in a editorial Wednesday.
More from the Global Times:
It is really hard to calculate the proportion of goods labeled “Made in China” in US consumer spending. As Trump escalates trade frictions, anyone who thinks regular people are immune to rising import prices caused by Trump’s tariffs will have to revisit the stories describing US families who are trying to live an entire year without buying anything produced in China.
Some made-in-China products hold a large market share in the US, so US consumers may have to endure the rise in prices because production capacity in other countries cannot be expanded overnight.
A majority of all microwave ovens in the world are produced in China, while made-in-China items such as drinking straws have dominated the global market.
This is not a new idea.
“Why should any nation emulate the U.S. trade policy of the Bush-Clinton-Bush era that has stripped us of a third of our manufacturing jobs and made us dependent on China and the world for the needs of our national life and the borrowed money to pay for them?” Pat Buchanan, the founding father of America’s economic nationalist revival, asked in a column in 2011.
It’s a view with a perch inside the Trump administration. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s 2013 book Death by China describes the perilous dependency of the U.S. economy’s supply chain on Chinese made goods.
All the way back in 1992, former Senator Eugene McCarthy–once the darling of the American left but who has mostly been forgotten in today’s political scene–warned that America’s dependency on foreign trade was reverting it back to the status of a colony rather than an independent nationa.
“A mark of a country’s colonial dependence,” McCarthy wrote, “is lack of control over its own borders… [and] lack of control over who or what crosses those borders.”