Det är svårt att greppa hur oerhört primitiva ekonomiska föreställningar som vägleder Donald Trump och hans administration när det gäller handelspolitiken.
Den här artikeln av Daniel Griswold på George Mason University reder ut en del av missuppfattningarna:
”The bilateral deficit with China has always been a misleading measure of the trade relationship. The deficit is not driven by differing trade policies, but by such underlying factors as national rates of saving and investment, and the normal demand of consumers.
In China, national savings exceed total investment, so its surplus savings flow across the Pacific to invest in the United States. When the Chinese purchase U.S. Treasury bonds , -0.46% , it helps our federal government fund its military and other operations with lower borrowing costs. It also prevents the federal government’s insatiable appetite for debt from crowding out private domestic investment.
The bilateral deficit is also misleading because a large share of the value of goods we import from China actually originate in places other than China.
High-tech items such as the iPhone are assembled in China, but much of its total value is represented by components made in Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Yet under the U.S. government’s trade accounting system, the full value of the iPhone is classified as an “import” from China. When the components of imports from China are assigned to the country where the value was actually added, the bilateral trade deficit drops by an estimated 40%.
One other way the goods deficit is misleading is that it ignores trade in services.
In 2016, the United States ran a bilateral surplus with China in services trade of almost $40 billion. U.S. companies also sell their branded goods and services in China through their affiliate companies. According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S.-owned affiliates in China sold $294 billion in goods and $59 billion in services in 2015. When combined with the lower goods deficit in value-added, the total bilateral deficit with China shrinks considerably.
The right way to approach trade with China is not to provoke an unwinnable trade war, but to seek international cooperation to address issues of mutual interest. In cooperation with other advanced economies, the United States should seek to encourage reform in China to address issues of intellectual property and steel overcapacity.
Such cooperation can yield beneficial results without the mutually destructive effects of a trade war.”