As the Christmas season is approaching, people are busier with shopping. But there is a general common concern that the prices are rather high and beyond the reach of average middle-class Americans. The top grocery shops and leading chains of superstores, such as Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Aldi and Safeway, are witnessing a decline in their sales, reflecting the purchasing power of common US citizens.
The trade war initiated by the US with China has resulted in the imposition of extra tariffs on exports from both nations. China was exporting a large number of consumer products to the US. The prices of Chinese products were very reasonable and considered affordable by the majority of US citizens, with an average income or low income. But the imposition of the extra tariffs has made the lives of common people in the US rather difficult, reflected by this season’s shopping all over the US.
The most hard-hit segment of American society is the farmers, as they were exporting their agricultural products to China. Because of reciprocity by the Chinese, there were extra tariffs imposed on American products too. US agricultural products are longer competitive in Chinese markets and face tough challenges.
The most hard-hit products include soybeans, ginseng and pecans. Some agricultural businesses have invested heavily with the expectation of growing demand from China, which had been gradually increasing during the last several years. But due to tariffs, this year, there was a visible decrease in exports to China.
The trade war does not benefit either of the countries. China has also suffered, but Chinese entrepreneurs are versatile and trying to manage with alternative markets. China has launched the Belt and Road Initiative, which already involves 150 countries in huge development projects. Some of the nations are already beneficiaries of the BRI. Chinese entrepreneurs have explored new markets around the world and domestic demand growth has made them relax a bit.
But the trade war has a much farther reaching impact on American society. It has added additional burdens to common people’s lives and even more severely affected agricultural exporters. This may lead to political pressure on the US government, and could have an impact on the upcoming presidential elections in 2020.
It does not matter who suffers more or less, but why we should suffer. The US is the world’s biggest economy, followed by China. Both of them are major contributors to the global economy. Any harm to the US or the Chinese economy may ultimately harm the global economy.
Both sides should settle their disputes amicably to resume playing a positive role in global stability and developments. This would be for the good of people in the US and China as well as the whole global community.
The US and China could instead focus on global issues such as the environment, sustainable development, food security, energy security, the menace of terrorism and many other common issues faced by the world. Both nations have the technological and economic capacity to address global concerns. Let’s focus our energy on positive things and consider the welfare of humanity as our top priority.
Above all, we all have a responsibility to hand over a better world to our next generations, so they can breathe more comfortably and live a stable life without fear. It is the responsibility of each nation and individual. Let’s continue to make this world more peaceful and prosperous for the coming generations. Even though we have to sacrifice to some extent, we must ensure something better for those who follow us.
Zamir Ahmed Awan is a Sinologist and nonresident fellow at the Center for China and Globalization.The US Congress is preparing a report on the results of the investigation into the Trump’s impeachment