Friday, December 02, 2005

U.S. Trade With China

Please check out an Op Ed I wrote in today's Jackson Clarion-Ledger about U.S. trade with China. Too much of our national discussion on this topic involves the dueling assumptions that China is either (a) a nefarious troublemaker that must be controlled or (b) a potential panacea for the U.S. economy (since trade with China will help create jobs and so on). These editorials were no exception, so I could not resist responding. For one thing, I do not like Crossfire-style "is not/is too" debate--you lose nuance in your analysis and discussion. And you often miss the bigger point, which is what happened here. We can argue over whether China is good or bad in its trade policy, but what we really need to keep in mind is that the U.S. has far less influence over China than it thinks.

Yes, China recently joined the WTO, and it has opened its markets substantially. But why did China do this? Because of U.S. cajoling? No. It did so because it saw that it was in its best interests to attract investment and create closer economic ties with other nations. The U.S. played a part, of course, but it was a multilateral effort. Suggesting that the U.S. can directly affect Chinese trade policy just because of who we are smacks of enormous hubris.

Also, please check out my colleague Michael McCann's Sports Law Blog, which is excellent. Mike posted on how my Op Ed ties into sports law (which does!), so kudos to him for broad and creative thinking.

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