Author Gordon Chang told Newsmax TV that China has recently been flexing its military and economic muscles against the United States because they know President-elect Donald Trump isn’t going to be like any other American leader in recent memory.
China recently fined U.S. automaker General Motors Co.'s joint venture 201 million yuan ($29 million) for monopolistic pricing, China’s state television reported on Friday, ending speculation after an official warned of penalties against a U.S. carmaker, Reuters reported.
The fine follows comments by Trump questioning the "One China" policy and his naming of Peter Navarro, a hardliner on trade with China, as a trade adviser, although there is no evidence that the penalty is a form of retaliation. China’s has raised fears that China could be seizing on the case to send a shot across the bow of the incoming U.S. administration.
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“They're trying to make as much advance as they can before Trump takes over on Jan. 20 because he is going to change things in ways that they don't like," he told Bill Tucker on “The Steve Malzberg Show.”
"We've had this current approach to China, which has been the one we've employed for the last four decades and recently hasn't been serving the international community or the United States well and the Chinese I think are very concerned that there's going to be this new sheriff in town,” said Chang, author of "The Coming Collapse of China."
The GM fine also highlights strained China-U.S. relations that have gotten tense after Trump proposed placing tariffs on Chinese goods. A Communist Party newspaper last month said a “tit for tat” retaliation could follow proposals by Trump for tariffs on the world’s largest trading nation, which had $627 billion in U.S. trade in 2015.
Chang thought China’s move against GM was puzzling.
“The last thing that China should be doing is trying to make itself an unreliable members of global supply chains, especially with all the money flowing out of the country, perhaps a trillion dollars in 2015, according to Blomberg, and perhaps almost as much this year. China is just not getting foreign investment,” he said.
“They're doing a number of things like restricting outbound payments. So people are not going to want to put their money in, so the last thing they should be doing is finding American or any company, for that matter, and especially you've got remember hi was a fine for anti-monopolistic practices, specifically setting minimum prices for cars.”
For his part, Trump said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview earlier this month that the One-China policy regarding Taiwan will hinge on cutting a better deal on trade. He told a crowd in Iowa last week that China would soon have to “play by the rules.”
Chang explained that China has much more to lose than America.
“It's got an economy that's not growing at the 6.7 percent that they claim, it's probably half that. But the real issue here is they're creating debt. Even if it's growing 6.7 percent, which is not, it's creating debt five times faster than incremental GDP, which means now they need somebody to blame and as we've seen, General Motors is their most recent target," Chang said.
"But they're trying to close up their economy, they're trying to kick out the foreigners, and you know Donald Trump is not going to let them do that. One of the first things that he did was appoint Peter Navarro to be the first head of his National Trade Council and they're going to go after China,” Chang said.
“China really needs the U.S. market, much more than we need them. We can buy our shoes, our toys, our everything from Guatemala but they can't replace the U.S. market. They understand that. They're going to huff and puff and that means Donald Trump really has a lot of cards in his hands when he wants to play it," Chang said. "Up to now, American presidents haven't wanted to do that but Trump is very different. He's breaking the molds in all different directions. He's going to break this one as well,” Chang predicted.
“What we have to be concerned is the trajectory of Chinese actions, which over the last five, six years have become more aggressive, more provocative, more belligerent and there's been relatively little push back," he said. "There wasn't much push back from the Bush administration, there wasn't enough push back from the current one, and so the Chinese think they can do anything that they want and that's why we've had much more troubled relations with Beijing recently,” he said.
“Trump I think is going to change that. I can't guarantee that he'll make things better, but if you were to continue the current approaches, we'd be guaranteed to failure so at least change is the precondition, the one necessary precondition for a better relationship with Beijing.”
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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