“Made in China 2025” at centre of US-China economic war
19 January 2019
The current negotiations between the US and China over a deal to end the Trump administration’s escalating trade war measures confront a major stumbling block—Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” program, which aims to elevate Chinese competitiveness in key hi-tech industries. The US regards the initiative as a major threat to its own global economic and strategic domination.
China’s meteoric rise has been based on the gross exploitation of hundreds of millions of workers. Shenzhen, the prized miracle of China’s economic “reform,” is the greatest sweatshop in history. The larger Pearl River Delta area, which includes Hong Kong, contains 120 million people. Many of them rural migrants, these workers have been stuffed into factories, assembling and producing goods in some of the world’s most difficult and demeaning conditions.
The Chinese Communist Party bureaucrats, and the oligarchs for whom the CCP speaks, have grown enormously wealthy by providing cheap labour to major global corporations. The Chinese state banks sit on an estimated $3 trillion of foreign reserves. Chinese capitalism, however, has reached a crucial juncture. Either the country remains stuck assembling and producing the world’s goods, in what economists call the “middle income trap,” or it can try to become an owner and designer of leading global commodities.
For the Chinese ruling class this is a life or death question. Amid mounting economic problems, it has no alternative but to take part in the highly profitable but cutthroat global competition to develop and sell high end goods. It is not surprising therefore that the US is determined to prevent such a challenge through all available…