Bashing China won't fix US economy: US expert

Updated: 2012-07-07 11:36


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WASHINGTON - Most of the economic woes the United States is currently facing are of its own making, and bashing China by US politicians can not fix the US economy, a US expert said on Friday.

"Both ends of the political spectrum seem to be competing to be tougher on China economic issues. They're both wrong," wrote Derek Scissors, senior research fellow of the Asian Studies Center at the US think tank Heritage Foundation, in a blog post on the Foundation's website.

Scissors was commenting on the move taken by Washington on Thursday to request dispute settlement consultations with China at the World Trade Organization on automobiles duties imposed by China, a move regarded as mainly politically motivated at the year of elections.

This is the second time in the year that the US government has confronted China at the WTO since March, when Washington made the similar request at the WTO over China's control over export of rare earths due to environmental concerns.

Since last year, the United States has accelerated its pace of taking tough actions on China by imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on a number of Chinese imports.

But Scissors pointed out that some of those US moves against China are minor in impact, while others are "outright harmful."

Both the campaigns of US President Barack Obama, who is seeking reelection, and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have repeatedly pointed a finger at China for the US economic woes, including the sluggish recovery and high unemployment.

The Republican National Committee's research arm even published a list of Obama administration's supposed failures in confronting China. The list relies on a number of protectionists and repeats the false claim, made by China-bashers of all stripes, that Chinese currency policy costs American jobs.

Scissors refuted the protectionist view that a weak Chinese currency costs American jobs. "The facts say that a weaker RMB is associated with low American unemployment and a stronger RMB is associated with high American unemployment," he said, citing the figures of US unemployment and RMB's value during the 1991 to 2010.

"The US creates jobs when we handle our own economy properly, and it loses them when we don't; what China does is almost irrelevant," he added.

Scissors advised US politicians shift focus away from China to their own efforts to fix American policy that can really help the economy.

"This is the real lesson of the political back and forth. If you're talking a lot about China , you're not talking enough about how to fix American policy and really help the economy. That's a mistake no matter who's making it," he said.