El problema de los "ataques a China"

No cabe duda de que las presiones que se ejercen en la actualidad sobre China para que revalorice el yuan frente al dólar son curiosamente similares a las que se ejercían sobre el Japón hace treinta años para que se apreciara el yen. En aquella época, los "ataques al Japón" llegaron a significar la amenaza de sanciones comerciales de los Estados Unidos, a no ser que el Japón suavizara su presión competitiva sobre las industrias americanas. En 1995, la economía japonesa había quedado tan deprimida por el valor excesivo del yen ( endaka fukyo ) que los americanos cedieron y anunciaron una nueva política de "un dólar fuerte". Ahora les han sucedido los "ataques a China" y el resultado podría ser igualmente malo, si no peor.

En 2000, el superávit de China en el comercio bilateral era tan importante como el del Japón; en 2004, era el doble. Mientras que los ataques al Japón entrañaron limitaciones "voluntarias" de las exportaciones que amenazaban a las industrias pesadas de los Estados Unidos, en las que estaban concentrados y eran políticamente poderosos los grupos de presión, las exportaciones chinas recientes han sido principalmente productos de la industria ligera con tecnología poco o medianamente compleja. Así, los ataques a China significan primordialmente presiones para reevaluar el yuan. Sin embargo, esa exigencia es tan injustificada ahora como lo fueron las presiones al Japón para que se apreciara el yen.

La prensa financiera y muchos economistas influyentes sostienen que una importante depreciación del dólar es necesaria para corregir el déficit exterior de los Estados Unidos, pero el déficit actual por cuenta corriente –que ascendió al seis por ciento, aproximadamente, del PIB en 2004 y 2005- refleja principalmente una nueva ronda de exceso de gasto público por parte del gobierno federal de los Estados Unidos y ahorros personales sorprendentemente bajos de los hogares americanos (tal vez por la burbuja inmobiliaria en los EE.UU.).

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