BEIJING (AP) — Pledging more than $100 billion in financing, Chinese President Xi Jinping called Sunday for closer cooperation across Asia and Europe in areas from anti-terrorism to investment as leaders from 29 countries gathered to promote a Chinese initiative that could increase Beijing's global influence.
Earlier this summer, the Trump administration took its first concrete step toward what some think could turn into an all-out trade war with China. The product that it put an import tax on? Like the Obama administration, which took action against China's subsidies to auto parts manufacturers and withholding of rare earth exports that are crucial to tech manufacturing, Trump seems focused on physical goods. But China's main trade barrier against the US isn't on manufactured or raw goods; rather, it targets Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the bulk of the multi-billion-dollar, fast-growing tech sector. Many of these companies have been facing market access issues in China for years due to the blocking or censoring of their digital content or tools, likely costing them billions in potential revenue.
DEC 3 marked the opening of the annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen. The global techfest was attended by the CEOs of some of the world's largest companies, including Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai, alongside Alibaba Group Holding's Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings' Pony Ma and Baidu's Robin Li, as well as the top names in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, digital payments and cybersecurity. The opening session on the first day was aptly titled "Artificial Intelligence: Smarter World, Better Life".
President Trump was right to call on U.S. companies Friday to begin looking for ways to gradually reduce their business ties and trade with China. He should make the same call to our allies at the Group of Seven summit now underway in France. "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA," Trump tweeted Friday. He also slapped new tariffs on products imported from China. OK, the president probably doesn't have the power to order U.S. companies to divest from China, but his call makes sense and he can be quite persuasive.