US President Joe Biden proposed to create in alliance with the “democratic countries” an analogue of the Chinese infrastructure project “One Belt – One Road”. The politician said this during a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Earlier, the head of the White House also emphasized that he would not allow China to overtake the United States in terms of influence and welfare. Analysts point out that Biden is actually continuing Trump’s course, seeking to contain the economic expansion of the Asian power. His initiative to create an analogue of the Chinese project is designed to consolidate US partners and limit their ties with China, experts say.
“I proposed the idea that we should have, in fact, a similar initiative: to attract the resources of democratic states, to send aid to those areas around the world in which it is really needed,” Biden told reporters.
Earlier, on March 25, the American leader also said that he would not allow China to become the most powerful country in the world.
“China has a common goal … to become the leading country in the world, the richest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world. This will not happen in my presence, because the United States will continue to grow, ”Biden said, speaking to reporters at the White House.
Meanwhile, as experts remind, the United States wanted to get ahead of China in the trade sphere during the years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
“Then Washington announced the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which the United States was assigned a leading role. But Trump pulled the United States out of that deal. And now it is unclear whether Biden will be able to return the country to this project, “said Yuri Rogulyov, director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States at Moscow State University, in an interview with RT.
“It is unlikely that America will be able to create a seriously competing structure with China and stop its economic expansion. Washington is making belated efforts, ”the expert added.
He suggested that the Biden administration would try to create regional blocs.
“Already now we see a desire to include New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea, Canada and Great Britain in a single block. This could lead to a major trade and economic confrontation. But the United States is still unlikely to be able to copy the PRC’s approach, ”Rogulyov says.
A similar point of view is shared by Vasily Kashin, a senior research fellow at the Higher School of Economics. In his opinion, if Washington really starts work on a kind of Chinese project “One Belt – One Road”, it will build its initiative on different grounds.
“The US has different advantages than the PRC. Beijing focuses on trade and investment in industry, which is why it is today the main trading partner in most regions of the world. Washington, in turn, has an advantage in technology and control over financial infrastructure. That is why Biden will offer some alternative ideas, ”Kashin said.
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The open trade confrontation between the United States and China escalated during the presidency of Donald Trump, who made the fight against the economic dominance of the Asian country an important part of his course. The American administration was particularly displeased with the large trade deficit between the United States and China.
The Trump administration has tried to turn the tide in its favor. In 2018, import duties were raised to 25% on more than 800 items of Chinese products worth $ 34 billion a year.
The trade imbalance narrowed, but Chinese imports still continued to dominate the supply of American goods to the Asian power.
In early 2020, Beijing and Washington agreed on a trade deal, as a result of which the Chinese side pledged to increase imports of American goods by $ 200 billion over two years.
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However, geopolitical and economic contradictions between the two states persisted. The coronavirus pandemic has become another reason for accusations. Donald Trump has repeatedly publicly declared China’s alleged responsibility for the current situation.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, did not abolish the duties imposed by his predecessor and took up anti-Chinese rhetoric. The 46th President’s Administration’s Trade Policy Program accuses Beijing of using “coercion and bad faith” methods in trade. The White House is confident that by its actions the Chinese side is causing “harm to the American workers” and threatening the “technical advantage” of the United States.
“Solving the Chinese issue will require a comprehensive strategy and a more systematic approach than the isolated measures taken in the recent past,” the document said.
According to Vasily Kashin, in developing a comprehensive strategy for “solving the Chinese question,” the White House administration will try to focus on the advantages that the United States has.
“Given the trend towards de-industrialization, which has long been noted in the United States, the country has a relatively small industrial base. And if America starts to fight China in its field, it will immediately lose, ”the expert said.
The idea of creating a Eurasian “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) was first formulated by the leader of the PRC Xi Jinping in 2013 during a visit to Kazakhstan. Later, he also suggested that ASEAN countries jointly create a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
Together, these two branches of the investment and transport infrastructure should form a trade and economic project “One Belt – One Road”. The prototype of the initiative was the Great Silk Road – caravan marruts, which in ancient times and in the Middle Ages connected East Asia with the Mediterranean.
© Noel Celis
The SREB will pass by land and will reduce the delivery of goods from China to Europe to 10 days from 45-60 days – this is how much time is now required to deliver goods along traditional sea routes. The project includes not only the creation of transport infrastructure, but also the expansion of customs partnerships, cross-border financial transactions, as well as the creation of financial institutions under regional cooperation organizations.
The MSB will be laid through the Indian Ocean, the Red and Mediterranean Seas. In addition, in recent years, the use of the Northern Sea Route within the framework of the project has been actively discussed.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not disrupt Beijing’s plans, as stated in an article by Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui published in January. The diplomat said that 138 countries and 31 international organizations have already signed documents on cooperation with China in the framework of the One Belt – One Road project.
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At the same time, the trade turnover between China and its project partners from 2012 to 2019 increased from $ 1.04 trillion to $ 1.34 trillion.
Among the countries that have shown interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, there are also European states. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in March 2019, the Silk Road is an important project, and the EU would like to play an active role in it.
The Italian authorities went even further. In March 2019, the Prime Minister of Italy (then this post was held by Giuseppe Conte. – RT) and Xi Jinping signed a memorandum of understanding. The document confirmed the support of Rome for the “One Belt – One Road” project.
London also showed serious interest in the Chinese initiative, as announced in April 2019 by the British Treasury Secretary (then Philip Hammond held this post. – RT), calling it a project “with truly ambitious goals.”
“The Belt and Road Initiative has tremendous potential in terms of promoting prosperity and sustainable development, it can affect 70% of the world’s population,” the minister said at a summit in China.
He also stressed that “the UK is committed to helping to realize the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative and to ensure that it works for everyone affected by the project.”
Recently, however, relations between London and Beijing are in crisis – the British authorities imposed sanctions against the PRC in March 2021, accusing its authorities of violating the rights of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
© Hannah McKay
Analysts state that now Washington is putting pressure on its allies, forcing them to refuse to cooperate with China.
“In order for this policy to be effective, it is necessary that the United States first stop cooperating with China. Considering that many American firms operate in China and produce products there for the American market, and in general, the US dependence on China is quite high, it will be extremely difficult for Biden to take this step, ”explained Yuri Rogulyov.
Vasily Kashin adheres to a similar point of view.
“Now there is a struggle for Europe. Last year, Beijing managed to conclude a comprehensive investment cooperation agreement with the EU, and the UK, despite US calls, previously joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Therefore, now the goal of American diplomacy is to upset the cooperation of the Europeans with the PRC and to involve their allies in a united “front” against Beijing. This motive dictated the statements of the head of the White House, ”Kashin summed up.
Source site russian.rt.com