Tag: Xi Jinping

Biden’s ‘Buy America’ policy affects US trade ties, Beijing hints at the possibility of new Cold War
Asia Pacific Focus

Biden’s ‘Buy America’ policy affects US trade ties, Beijing hints at the possibility of new Cold War

On Monday, US president Joe Biden signed a new executive order to focus on enhancing the US manufacturing and industrial sector. The Democratic president signed the executive order to promote the country’s long-standing ‘buy America’ policy. Biden used it to eliminate legal loopholes that limit the federal agencies in providing a favorable push to “Made in America” products. Biden’s order stands in line with his predecessor Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ policy.

While emphasizing about the existing ‘Buy American Act of 1933’, Biden said that the new order would make federal agencies to prioritize buying goods produced on US soil, but “these preferences have not always been implemented consistently or effectively”.

An official from the Biden administration said, “The dollars the federal government spends… are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers. Contracting alone accounts for nearly $600 billion in federal spending.”

“I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past,” Biden told reporters before signing the order. “American manufacturing was the arsenal of democracy in World War II and it must be part of the engine of American prosperity now.” But Biden’s vision for American domestic industry sparked conflict with one of its biggest trade rival, China.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping called out against Biden’s protectionist policies and warned against the emergence of a new ‘cold war’, if the trend continues. Speaking at the World Economic Forum event, Xi said that nations should adopt a multilateral approach to combat the ongoing economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of promoting reverse globalization, and favoring “decoupling and seclusion”.

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Though Xi avoided directly mentioning US or Biden’s executive order his words made it clear that his nation would not adhere to the dictates of the new administration in Washington. “To build small circles or start a new cold war, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to wilfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation” Xi said.

Xi added, “No global problem can be solved by any one country alone. There must be global action, global response, and global cooperation.” Besides, the Chinese President proposed the creation of an open world economy, which would “uphold the multilateral trading regime, discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and takedown barriers to trade, investment, and technological exchanges.”

The Chinese leader also condemned the bully behavior employed by one nation to take advantage of others, hinting at US formidable purchasing power. He said, “State-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules. The strong should not bully the weak. Decisions should not be made by simply showing off strong muscles or waving a big fist”.

Australia-China ties to grow tense, Canberra’s new law empowers PM to veto agreements with foreign nations
Asia Pacific Focus

Australia-China ties to grow tense, Canberra’s new law empowers PM to veto agreements with foreign nations

Australia-China ties to grow tense: Tensions between Australia and China are likely to grow further as Canberra passed a new law on Tuesday, which empowers Australian Prime Minister to invalidate the exiting agreements with different nations. Scott Morrison’s government introduced the new law in order to safe guard the country’s national interest and check foreign investment in specific sectors such as infrastructure, telecommunications, energy and technology.

The law is applicable on Australia’s eight states and territories, along with other bodies such as local authorities and universities. Under the new, overall 135 deals with 30 countries would be reviewed by the Morrison government.

Many observers believed that the first agreement which would be directly impacted by the new law would be China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Australia. The agreement was signed in 2018 between Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria and Beijing to build trade-related infrastructure. 

“We didn’t agree with it in the first place, still don’t agree with it, and no doubt decisions on that will be made in due course,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters, referring to the Victoria’s BRI deal.

A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Tuesday asked Australia to take “an objective and logical view on the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and refrain from creating obstacles that prevent fnormal communication between China and Australia.”

In August, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, emphasised that the BRI agreement be fitted both the nations. He said, “Australia should have an objective view of such cooperation and BRI, and not set up impediments for China-Australia cooperation.”

Bilateral ties between Canberra and Beijing have been spiralling downwards for sometime  but the latest incident took the relationship between the two to a new low. The slight Cold War between to the two began since April, when Morrison slammed China’s handling of coronavirus and supported US’ call for an independent probe into its origins. Besides, Beijing has been hitting back at Canberra with trade tariff on Australian barley and wine while completely blocking Australian coal shipments.

Even last week the two nations entered a row when Chinese diplomat shared on Twitter a fake photograph which showed an Australian soldier putting a blood dripping knife on the neck of an Afghan child. Morrison strongly condemned it as a repugnant act.

But there are ‘billions of dollars’ at stake here to get into an impulsive war of words. Australia, which is well aware of the fact that despite the diplomatic row, China is its biggest trading partner and any further escalation could impact the country’s trade. Hence, despite its fury, Canberra was still willing to let the matter be taken care of through diplomatic channels. 

But the new law might pull the stakes further up and trust far low. Morrison very well knows the sensitivity of the situation, especially when his government is being questioned over the latest report by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) which claimed that “credible information” supported that 25 Australian soldiers killed about 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013

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