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Washington's claims to champion free trade don't hold water | Updated: 2019-06-09 20:59
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US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, June 7, 2019, in Washington. [Photo/IC]

Editor's note: Some politicians in the United States condemn unfair economic practices and say they want to break down market barriers, but in fact, it is the policies and practices of the US that have become the biggest obstacle to the market economy. Zhong Sheng, a columnist for People's Daily, comments:

In the name of national security, the US government has added Chinese high-tech enterprises to its list of sanctioned entities. The enterprises or individuals on the list need to obtain relevant licenses to purchase or receive transfers of US technologies. Is targeting other countries' enterprises with state power in this way the "market economy" and "free competition" US politicians trumpet?

The US has got accustomed to presenting itself as a champion of the market economy, and pointing accusing fingers at other countries' development models. Yet it upholds international rules only when they are to its advantage and ignores them when they are to its disadvantage.

Over the past year, the US administration has frequently used the excuse of "national security" to set obstacles in the way of foreign investments in the US, including investment from Chinese companies, and successively foiled several acquisition and merger deals involving Chinese companies. Some US politicians also seek to persuade US consumers not to buy anything made in China.

The hegemonic logic of these politicians is: The world has to buy what the US can produce, while developing countries can only export low value-added products and services to the US. They must unconditionally give way to the "America First" strategy, become a dumping place for US products, and remain suppliers of low-end products.

According to a World Trade Organization study, the US is by far the biggest rule-breaker. Raising tariffs has become a tool for the US to clamp down on its trade partners. With the purpose of maintaining the US' technological hegemony and advantage, some actions of the US government have seriously undermined fair, open and cooperative market economic rules.

The US administration should understand how the market economy works. By trampling on the spirit of contract, undermining the rule of law, and distorting fair competition, the US is the one foiling its "America First" ambition.

In the age of economic globalization, all countries have become increasingly interdependent and intertwined. The US government's actions to undermine market economic rules will only increase the burden on US consumers and weaken the competitiveness of its enterprises.

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