O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida

Mostrando postagens com marcador relações China-EUA. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador relações China-EUA. Mostrar todas as postagens

terça-feira, 13 de agosto de 2019

A nova Guerra Fria Economica: EUA (ou Trump) contra a China - Eswar Prasad (Brookings Institution)

Which country is better equipped to win a US-China trade war?

Soybean farmer Raymond Schexnayder Jr. holds soybeans from his farm outside Baton Rouge, in Erwinville, Louisiana, U.S., July 9,2018.   Picture taken July 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Aleksandra Michalska - RC1BAC1CF2F0
The United States and China are clearly on a collision course. Chinese companies abscond with intellectual property, and President Trump introduces tariffs on Chinese goods; President Xi Jinping responds with his own levies, so Trump adds more. China allows the value of its currency to fall, and the United States brands it a currency manipulator. We are now on the verge of all-out economic warfare.
These are the world’s two largest economies, and the collapse of trade between them would hardly bring either one to a grinding halt. But the combatants are not evenly matched. China might seem in a better position to cope with a trade war, since it is a heavily managed economy and the government squashes political resistance. Yet its every maneuver carries enormous risks. Meanwhile, Trump, who manages a durable and flexible economy, is not exactly seeking victory for the American way of doing business. His approach, in some ways right out of Beijing’s playbook, would make our economy quite a bit more like China’s.
The breakdown in trade between the two countries is already causing pain in both economies, as soybean farmers in the Midwest and Chinese textile exporters in Guangzhou can attest. The battle will intensify if rising tensions close off investment flows and dampen the movement of tourists and students between two countries. But the U.S. economy is about 50 percent larger than China’s, and is less dependent on trade, so its prospects look better. And China exports more to the United States than it imports from the United States (a fact that clearly riles up Trump and was a key instigator for the trade war). So the near-term pain will be greater for China.
But Beijing does have some advantages. One is the structure of its (mostly) command economy, which is dominated by state enterprises. The majority of banks in China are also state-owned, making it easy for the government to generate a surge of cheap credit—and the subsequent investment that boosts growth. The second advantage is the structure of China’s political system, in which dissent is easier to shut down and bad news about the trade war can be filtered out.
Still, even a state-dominated economy with many economic weapons has to be cautious about which ones it uses; some of them could backfire badly.
One of China’s greatest weapons in a trade war is its ability to disrupt the work of American companies that want to sell into China’s enormous and fast-growing markets or that use China as part of their global supply chains. But other foreign companies and investors could also begin to see China as an unpredictable and volatile business environment, unconstrained by the rule of law. This would hurt China’s plans for modernizing its economy with the help of foreign investments and foreign technological and managerial expertise.
China could also further cheapen the value of its currency, the renminbi, to offset U.S. tariffs. Here, too, the government faces constraints. Fear of a major devaluation could cause foreign investors to pull their money out of China, and domestic investors might follow. This happened in 2014-15, when a modest government-orchestrated devaluation set off panic-driven capital outflows in anticipation of further depreciation.
Moreover, even an autocratic government cannot count on getting carte blanche from its people. Xi is not immune to domestic political pressures and must carefully manage the tricky balance between using nationalist sentiments as a rallying cry and actually delivering good economic performance.
Theoretically, China can stimulate a flagging economy by ordering a burst of investment that boosts gross domestic product growth in the short term. But this would probably generate more bad loans in an already fragile banking system. A protracted trade war would also halt even modest momentum toward market-oriented reforms, a putative objective of the Chinese government. This would hurt the economy’s long-term growth prospects. And China’s plan to shift the focus of its economy from staid and inefficient state enterprises to high-productivity and high-value industries will fall short if it loses access to technology from the United States and other Western nations.
In some ways, Trump seems more constrained than Xi because of America’s democratic political system, its more laissez-faire economy and the limits on his executive power. But he, too, has some elements in his favor as he does battle with China. Trump has the advantage of managing an economy that is enormously flexible and resilient. And getting tough on China resonates not just with his political base but even with Democrats, many of whom have long called for aggressive U.S. action against Chinese trade and currency practices, even if they disagree with Trump on tactics.
Yet in exercising his power, he could end up making America’s economy a bit more like the state-dominated one operated by Beijing—and, in so doing, permanently damage the U.S. free market. To rescue the agricultural sector from the consequences of the trade war, Trump has already dispatched $28 billion in government subsidies. He has also jawboned American companies to move their production bases back to U.S. shores, rather than letting them make their own commercial decisions. Trump has even pressured the Federal Reserve, whose independence is seen as sacrosanct, to lower interest rates and suggested that the Fed should help drive down the value of the dollar. With such moves, he risks undermining the true strengths of the United States: the institutions that make the U.S. dollar and the American financial system so dominant.
What’s worse, Trump suggests that the rule of law is up for negotiation. After imposing sanctions on Chinese technology companies such as ZTE and Huawei for running afoul of U.S. rules, he hinted that those sanctions could be negotiated away as part of a trade deal. He is fighting a Pentagon process that could award a defense contract to Amazon, whose CEO (who owns The Washington Post) has criticized him.
China has made its lack of independent institutions a source of strength in dealing with external economic aggression. In that model, Trump sees something Washington should copy—and seems ready to abandon what makes the United States special. This truly is a trade war with no winners.

domingo, 16 de junho de 2019

Editorial do Washington Post sobre as relações EUA-China

Um editorial de um grande jornal, como o Washington Post, representa algo sério, de significado nacional, ou estratégico.
Não sei se é o caso de "relações EUA-China", ou apenas "Trump-China"", o que tem outra dimensão.
Mas vale ler, pois pode estar transmitindo as posições de gente mais sensata de Washington, como o establishment militar, por exemplo (ainda assim, extremamente paranoico, como compete ao Pentágono).
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

The grave consequences of a U.S.-China schism

THE UNITED STATES and China are at a hinge point in the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century. What started last year as a trade dispute, one that just last month seemed close to settlement, threatens to escalate into a new Cold War with potentially devastating consequences for both countries — and the world. Now substantially integrated, the two largest economies could unwind from each other; a technological schism could create separate platforms for communications and other high-tech systems. Flows of students and scientists and venture capital could dry up. Cooperation on strategic problems of mutual interest, such as North Korea and climate change, could cease. And countries from Southeast Asia to Latin America could be forced to pick sides.
This is an outcome that both the Trump administration and the Chinese regime of Xi Jinping should be seeking to avoid. Instead, both appear to be pursuing policies that make it more likely. In the case of the Trump administration, the slide toward confrontation is being driven by reckless and sometimes senseless measures ungoverned by a coherent strategy.
To be sure, there is a consensus in Washington that policy toward China needs to change from that of recent decades. Successive U.S. presidents bet that growing trade and investment between the two countries and steady diplomatic engagement could coax the Communist Party regime into becoming a responsible global player that respected the U.S.-backed international order and gradually became more free at home. Mr. Xi’s regime has shattered that hopeful vision.
It is not just that this Chinese ruler has concentrated personal power and shut down all hints of pluralism in the political system. His regime is pioneering a new, high-tech form of totalitarianism, in which human lives will be controlled by omniscient databases and ubiquitous surveillance systems — and it is offering this as a model of governance for the rest of the world. China would foster societies where the Internet is a tool for state power rather than personal freedom. Its technology companies are already marketing the systems that have enabled a vast gulag of concentration camps in the Xinjiang region to authoritarian regimes in Africa.
Mr. Xi is flouting international law and treaties in the South China Sea, where the Chinese military is building a string of bases aimed at establishing Beijing’s hegemony over vital shipping lanes. A Chinese arms buildup appears designed to enable the subjugation of Taiwan and the expulsion of U.S. forces from the Western Pacific. Meanwhile, Beijing is still seeking unfair advantage for Chinese companies by trying to force multilateral firms to hand over their technology in exchange for access to its market. Promises by Mr. Xi to cease the stealing of technology through cyberoperations have been brazenly violated.
The United States has little choice but to push back against these aggressions and Mr. Xi’s disturbing ideological model. But the Trump administration has gone about it in the wrong way. It has largely ignored the most reprehensible and dangerous Chinese behavior, including its genocidal campaign in Xinjiangand takeover of the South China Sea, while launching a tariff war in pursuit of an improvised and shifting mix of economic concessions. President Trump wants to force a reduction in the U.S.-China trade deficit, a pointless goal that reflects his ignorance of basic economics. While some of his advisers seek an end to unfair Chinese treatment of U.S. companies, others appear bent on blocking China’s attempt to develop high-tech industries or destroying the ones it has.
A turning point came last month after Mr. Xi abruptly retreated from a tentative agreement resolving the trade dispute. Mr. Trump reacted not just by moving to expand tariffs on Chinese goods but also by restricting sales by U.S. companies to Huawei, China’s telecommunications champion. There are legitimate concerns about Huawei’s connections to the Chinese government, and a good argument for excluding its products from sensitive communications networks in the United States and its allies — though U.S. agencies have yet to back up their warnings with clear evidence. But Mr. Trump’s measure threatens to destroy the company, or else force it to develop its own versions of chips and operating systems it now obtains from the West. If the ban is fully enacted and China retaliates against U.S. tech companies, as it has threatened to do, the decoupling of the two countries’ tech supply chains, as well as other parts of their economies, could begin in earnest.
That would be a bad outcome for both Americans and Chinese. It would make both countries poorer while sharply raising the odds that they will slide toward a larger conflict. Competition between the United States and China should not become a zero-sum game, as it was with the Soviet Union. Rather, the United States should seek to maintain flows of trade, investment, people and expertise between the two economies, while working patiently to establish fairer and more equitable terms for that interchange. Where it should be uncompromising is in challenging China’s military expansionism and its attempt to create and export technologies of repression. A productive economic relationship would provide leverage and make it more likely that China’s malign regional and global ambitions can be contained.
To pursue those policies, the United States needs its allies. Many nations in Europe and Asia share Washington’s concerns about the Xi regime. Yet Mr. Trump has pursued his trade war with Beijing unilaterally, while threatening to launch new tariff attacks against key partners, such as Japan and Germany. He walked away from what could have been one of the most powerful tools to contain Beijing, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mr. Trump’s tactics have failed to accomplish even his narrowest economic aims. Now he risks triggering a larger conflict whose dimensions and potential consequences ought to alarm Americans who hope for a peaceful and prosperous 21st century.