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Fragmented trade map

Editor's note: Looking back at 2018, when the stubborn Merkel paid the price for Germany's generosity, when the proud Teresa May paid the price for Britain's hasty, they discovered that the world is far from what they look like when they go to the peak of power. . This year, the trade networks that people have repeatedly negotiated have become fragmented, and the unicorns who are committed to science and technology to change the world are being supervised and locked into "cage." Globalization is against the wind, the populist rises, and protectionism is rampant. Perhaps this is the other side of the world of scenery. Perhaps this is just the true face of the world being hidden.

Trump, who was riding the "Dow Jones" hot air balloon, was ironically screaming that "the trade war is easy to win" but he pointed his gun at his "mountain." In the words of Western cartoonists, Trump ruined the 2018 World Trade Map in such a "stupid" way. For a time, the open arms of the countries slammed the door, and in this passively involved trade friction, too many people revealed the most primitive desires - trade protection is king.

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Trade falls apart

The countdown entered in 2018, but the trade tug-of-war that lasted for a whole year did not necessarily end. On the 21st local time, Reuters reported that the trade friction between China and the United States, the two largest economies in the world, has ushered in a three-month "close truce," but as the world's largest oil importer, China has planned to start in 2019. Significantly reduce or even "freeze" imports of crude oil from the United States.

In the face of the capricious Trump, no one can leave behind. Just last month, French President Mark Long delivered an amazing speech – hoping to “build a true European army”. Although in the next two months, Germany, Italy and other political leaders have come forward to extinguish the fire, but behind this subtle change, "the United States is no longer reliable" is self-evident.

Since he took office, Trump has punched NAPTA and kicked the TPP. The "Twisting the Country" alone put the barrel of the saliva in the door of the other side, not to mention the tariff on steel and aluminum to the world. Under the "universal priority" unilateralism policy, the EU countries have suffered successive losses in the political, economic, military and other fields to let them understand that there has never been an eternal ally in the world, only eternal interests.

Sun Lipeng, assistant researcher of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Beijing Business Daily that the current global trade pattern is in a state of turmoil and is undergoing a process of reshaping, and the source of the earthquake is the United States. The United States, which will lead the multilateral change in the future, will inevitably be the mainstay of the bilateral card. However, it is undeniable that the bilateral card has a certain momentum, but the risk has always followed. First of all, although the negotiations between China and the United States will be better next year, it will be difficult to maintain extreme asking prices or problems in other fields. Secondly, no one can guarantee where the "232 investigation" will go in the extreme negotiation style of Trump, and the automobile tariff is likely to become a new round of contest. Finally, the global industrial chain is also in jeopardy when trade protectionism is on the rise.

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Globalization "retrograde"

“In the past generation, the multilateral trading system has changed our world. It has halved the number of people living in extreme poverty around the world. It has reduced the cost of living and created millions of new jobs with higher salaries. Now, this rule and the system of shared responsibility are in danger of falling apart. If this danger becomes a reality, it will be an unforgivable collective policy failure.” Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) President Christina Lagarde said so in a speech.

CNBC quoted ECB economists as saying that changes in global tariffs could cause global trade to contract by as much as 3% and global economic growth to fall by as much as 1%. Earlier, Adams, president of the International Finance Association, also said that if the economic globalization is completely reversed, the choice of goods for residents of various countries will be reduced, the quality of goods will be reduced, and the economic production efficiency will be reduced, which will be an important factor leading to rising inflation.

Under various trade warnings, last month, the OECD did not accidentally downgrade its expectations for world economic growth next year. The report pointed out that due to the intensification of trade tensions, the tightening of the financial environment and the slowdown in the growth of emerging economies, the world economy is expected to grow by 3.7% this year, and will increase by 3.5% in both 2019 and 2020. Among them, the growth forecast for 2019 is 0.2 percentage points lower than the forecast for September this year.

Sun Lipeng believes that one of the reasons for the globalization countercurrent is the tearing of society. Whether it is the "yellow vest" spread by France or the extreme right of Europe, it is driven by nativism and protectionism. But the most important reason is the lack of global economic power. There are three reasons for the lack of long-term economic growth. The first is the global aging and labor shortage. Secondly, the issue of investment has also emerged. It is the investment in the real economy or the repurchase of stocks, and the role of technological innovation into new productivity has not yet emerged. In the end, although the economy is recovering, in fact, ordinary people in developed countries such as Japan, Europe, and the United States have no actual feelings about the economic recovery.

Self-sweeping snow

When world trade faced an unprecedented impact, the flames had already taken the lead in burning the WTO. In the middle of this month, the United States once again blocked the nomination of the new judge of the WTO Appellate Body, which means that the dispute resolution mechanism that has always been regarded as the "crown jewel in the WTO system" is also facing a crisis of collapse.

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In fact, when the international trading system has repeatedly been threatened by trade risks such as tariff escalation, the voice of reforming the WTO on a global scale has long been heard. Sun Lipeng believes that since the development of the WTO, there are indeed many places where the dissatisfaction should be in the form of an international economy. The main goals of the WTO's major member states are the same, but the demands of the parties are different.

Sun Lipeng explained that the United States mainly wants to break through the big responsibilities, get rid of international responsibilities, or push small circles to stand on the top of the mountain. However, Europe and China are more similar, and they are more esteemed in free trade and promote the gradual reform of the WTO. In any case, the WTO reform in 2019 is bound to become a battleground for the military. Once the emerging markets and developing countries "enter the WTO", the losses will be unimaginable.

CPTPP, which is barely supported by Japan, is also being plagued by the word "profit". Before the effective date of December 30, Malaysia, which was supposed to be the first to complete the approval, was delayed. According to Malaysian sources, they now need to assess whether the agreement has an interest in Malaysia before deciding whether to approve it. .

However, neither the applicability of the WTO nor the excessive standards of CPTPP is sufficient to fully explain this round of trade friction. In the past few years, the global economic development has indeed been unbalanced. With the rapid economic growth of emerging market countries, the developed capitalist countries led by the United States have generally experienced a slowing pace of growth. But it is undeniable that these developed countries are still the beneficiaries of the process of economic globalization. The huge trade deficit and the rise of rivals have made Trump choose a unilateral trade bullying behavior and forcibly become multilateral.

And when the "Trump effect" is incapable of parry, other people can choose only the snow before the door, or simply tear the face to be assimilated. When French President Mark Long was overwhelmed by the "yellow vest" crisis, the French far-right party "National League" and its leader Le Pen were eager to move, and Le Pen was the one who competed with Mark Long for the presidency last year. The sentence "French priority".

Beijing Business Daily reporter Tao Feng Yang Yuehan / Wen Li Wei / watchmaking