Skip to main content

ghosh9_Frédéric Soltan Corbis via Getty Images_bangladeshfactoryworkers Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images

The Real Victims of China’s Trade Patterns

Many in the West, especially US President Donald Trump, have railed against China’s massive trade surpluses, which emerged after the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001. But China’s developing-country neighbors have far more reason to be worried.

NEW DELHI – Much has been written about the consequences of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), especially for the developing countries of Asia. Yet another, equally consequential phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed: China’s upending of trade relationships with those countries.

Many in the West, especially US President Donald Trump, have railed against China’s massive trade surpluses, which emerged after the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001. But China’s developing-country neighbors have far more reason to be worried.

Since peaking in 2015 – when the surplus in merchandise trade reached nearly $680 billion – China’s trade imbalance has been shrinking. But its surpluses remain very large in absolute terms, and in developing Asia, they continue to grow.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/9sgCiFL;
  1. reinhart39_ Sha HantingChina News ServiceVisual China Group via Getty Images_jerome powell Sha Hanting/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images

    Jerome Powell’s Dilemma

    Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart

    There is a reason that the US Federal Reserve chair often has a haunted look. Probably to his deep and never-to-be-expressed frustration, the Fed is setting monetary policy in a way that increases the likelihood that President Donald Trump will be reelected next year.

    1
  2. mallochbrown10_ANDREW MILLIGANAFPGetty Images_boris johnson cow Andrew Milligan/AFP/Getty Images

    Brexit House of Cards

    Mark Malloch-Brown

    Following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament, and an appeals court ruling declaring that act unlawful, the United Kingdom finds itself in a state of political frenzy. With rational decision-making having become all but impossible, any new political agreement that emerges is likely to be both temporary and deeply flawed.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions