- Created: Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:32
- Written by Trevor Rayne
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on 17 January 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping warned that ‘no one will emerge as a winner from a trade war’. He was responding to the then President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to impose a 45% tariff on US imports from China and a 35% ‘border tax’ on Mexico’s exports to the US. Trump’s declaration of ‘America First’ signals a willingness to wreck the post-Second World War economic order imposed by a dominant US imperialism, and to unleash inter-imperialist rivalries not seen since the economic devastation of the 1930s, through which marched the forces that led to world war. Trevor Rayne reports.
‘But what the hell? I’ll wing it and things will work out.’ – Trump
In his inaugural address on 20 January President Trump said, ‘Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.’ Three days later Trump withdrew the US from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and said he intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, signed in 1993. One Chinese economics professor said before the Davos summit, ‘The US is declining and China is rising. China will defend the international system as the US, under Trump, goes in the opposite direction.’ A section of the US ruling class believes that by turning to protectionism it can reverse the relative economic decline of the US in the world. This will not happen nor will manufacturing jobs return to an imperialist US. However, the US and China are the world’s two biggest economies and increasing tensions between them means peril: economically and militarily.