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Tensions Rise as US Raises Concerns Over Chinese Trade Practices

Amid ongoing tensions between China and the US, trade and economic domains have become the focal point of heightened concern in Washington DC. During his visit to East Asia from April 24 to 26, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed apprehensions regarding the influx of Chinese products, particularly steel and aluminum, into the American market.

US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, cited by Reuters, noted that Blinken, in discussions with Chinese officials, highlighted “concerns” regarding China’s trade policies and non-economic practices. This marks the second instance in a month where a senior official from the Biden administration has addressed the issue of dumping with Chinese authorities.

Previously, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, during her official trip to China from April 3 to 9, expressed concerns about Chinese overproduction and the flooding of the American market with heavily subsidized products. The US is keen on curbing the surge in exports from China, fearing adverse effects on American jobs and businesses. On April 17, President Joe Biden called for a potential tripling of tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports into the US, alarmed by China’s persistent dumping practices.

The Biden administration has largely maintained tariffs imposed by the previous administration against Chinese imports. Presently, the US imposes an average tariff of 7.5% on certain steel and aluminum products. The White House emphasized the challenges faced by American workers due to Chinese exports, which often undercut high-quality US products with artificially low prices.

Recent data indicates a significant increase in China’s steel and aluminum exports to the US, fueling concerns among analysts. China’s surplus in goods trade has more than doubled since the pandemic, with its exports reaching over $1 trillion this year. However, China defends its trade approach, dismissing accusations of dumping as “protectionism.”

Nevertheless, tensions persist, particularly regarding China’s dominance in industries like shipbuilding. The US has initiated an investigation into China’s unfair practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. Analysts view this investigation as having substantial global implications, especially given China’s growing military and commercial shipping capabilities.

Chinese companies, often state-backed, have made significant inroads into global port operations, raising economic and security concerns worldwide. This control over logistics grants China strategic advantages, intensifying concerns among strategic thinkers, especially amid escalating tensions in the Indo-Pacific region due to China’s aggressive military activities.

The evolving trade dynamics between China and the US underscore the complexities and challenges inherent in their relationship, with broader implications for global trade and security.

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