US Probe of Chinese Trade Practices

America’s Undying Passion for Unilateralism

(Xinhua News Agency, Aug. 15, 2017. Complete text:) Beijing - In another show of his tougher trade stance, US President Donald Trump on Monday [Aug. 14] asked his top trade adviser to determine whether to start a so-called Section 301 investigation into China’s trade practices and policies.

Section 301, a trade tool frequently used by Washington before the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence, allows the US president to unilaterally impose hefty tariffs and other trade limits on partners deemed to possess unfair advantages.

While it is still too soon to say that the US intends a showdown with China on trade, it is no exaggeration that the latest baring of fangs on Washington’s part against China, like all the other unilateral moves by Washington, will hurt not only China, but the US itself in the long run.

As many pundits have observed, the US has long been a fan of unilateralism given its position as the world’s single most powerful country for decades.

Since the start of the Cold War, Washington has become increasingly adept at the use of unilateral sanctions in attempts to subdue countries that are not playing along with the US.

In the 1990s, at the heyday of US economic sanctions, the country accounted for some 70% of all global cases of sanctions, with nearly half of the world population living in the shadow of the US punitive measures.

In essence, arbitrary US sanctions during the period were a mirror of US supremacy.

The country seems to have a diminished appetite for sanctions in the 21th century, largely due to the fact that the world is rapidly moving toward a multi-polar order, and that there is growing awareness in Washington about the ineffectiveness of such sanctions.

Even worse, such penalties could ...

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