The Square one.
As the US President Trump declares new tariffs on Chinese imports, the trade war between China and the USA seems to escalate further.
It has been almost a year that Trump announces more tariffs every week and China retaliates by substituting the goods China imports from the USA. Besides the USA has done its utmost to reduce the market of Huawai cell phones made by China across the globe, which is already the biggest selling cell phone brand and has surged far ahead of Samsung and Apple in unit sales. In spite of it the market is such that the profits of Huawai have steadily risen.
Also it vehemently denies the charge leveled on it by the USA of spying on its customers.
It is important to note that besides high tech products, the major trading items between these two biggest economies of the world are agri products like Soy and corn and also garments and leather article. In the meanwhile a country like Brazil has benefitted when China bought millions of tons of soy from it last summer to substitute the US import.
The rhetoric of free trade is almost dead by now, which dominated headlines in the newspapers across the world two decades back.
It went up to a grotesque limit when conferences took places in the famous cities of the world where the champions of free world trade produced spectacular speeches to promote it.
It was a fine ideal for which no country around the world seem to live for by now.
On the contrary, now the world seems to have retreated into its shell, assiduously seeking self-interest, as tenaciously as ever.
Also the various regional grouping of nations like SAARC are losing their relevance as they were based on big words only and no substance. Trump has almost renegotiated the NAFTA under the slogan 'America first', and is in the process of almost undoing EU by openly supporting Brexit, which has put the West-Minister style democracy of Britain under a serious stress when the incumbent Prime Minister suspended the parliament recently.
It is a far more realistic world now.
Here every country like every individual is self-seeking.
There is nothing wrong with it.
It is fine for the leadership to ensure profitable deals for a country and enter only in the alliances which help in that.
There is no point in sacrificing your interests when there are no gains as a quid pro quo. Sandwitched between two Asian giants, for Nepal it is more so. For both its neighbors are illiberal and have trade policies far more conservative than Nepal.
The trade deficit Nepal has with them clearly reflects it. Besides both China and India are hyper-nations in their ambitions and want to have a say in global political affairs too. So it is always an uphill battle for Nepal to protect and further its relations with its neighbours. Hopefully, the trade war between China and the USA continues and Nepal has something to sell to either of the countries. If they negotiate a deal, as they have been often hinting all the way, than that opportunity too is lost and it is back to square one.
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|Publication:||People's Review (Kathmandu, Nepal)|
|Date:||Sep 6, 2019|
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