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What Americans Say about the U.S. Ultimatum Demanding China to Revaluate the Currency

27 March 2010
 

Democracyinamerica (民主美国网)
M.S.vwww.economist.com/blogs
:
/democracyinamerica/2010/03/china_tariffs
posted on Mar 25th 2010, 14:00

There's no way it would ever have been made in such terms when speaking of Japan. The Japanese were presumed to be equals who were capable of handling their own internal political affairs; tariffs were either a good idea or a bad one, but it was not considered to be the responsibility of Americans to manage a foreign government's relationship with its nationalist constituents. China's leadership, too, has become quite sophisticated in its understanding of foreign countries' internal political affairs over the past 30 years, and recognises that America's government operates within constraints imposed by constituent demands. With unemployment running at 10%, it is hard to tell laid-off manufacturing workers that America must tolerate Chinese currency manipulation that is effectively indistinguishable from export subsidies. The Chinese did not lose their cool over the (much less justifiable) tariffs on tyres that Barack Obama imposed last year; they are perfectly capable of recognising that America's tolerance for undervaluing the yuan has limits. But in any case, putting the crucial American-Chinese relationship on a sound footing requires that we treat them as equals, not as restive primitives easily swept away by their hatred of the "gwai lo" [western devils].

当初逼日元升值和现在逼人民币升值根本就是两码事。当时的日本政府和我们是平等的,也有能力管好他们自己的事,所以升值基本上是个经济议题,没人从政治层面和外交关系上讨论这个问题。

当然近三十年来中国政府也变得成熟了一点,懂得美国的对外政策受制于美国的民意。现在美国的失业率是百分之十,你让美国政府怎样让美国下岗工人接受人民币汇率过低这样一个事实?

去年中国表现得还不错,奥巴的轮胎税没让他们气急败坏,所以他们应该有能力明白美国对低汇率的容忍是有限度的。当然啦,要处理好极端重要的中美关系,我们也应该对他们平等相待,而不是把他们看做一堆极端仇外的不安分的野蛮人。

Central European:

Most of the Forbes 500 American giants are profitable just because of their Chinese branches. Quite concretely, GM was saved in the storm because of its profit-making Chinese branch. Punitive tax on Chnese goods? Check out McDonald's, Boeing, Apple, Microsoft, GM, Cisco, Intel and the rest in China. Who will be the beneficiaries of the trade war? Geely, Lenovo, Huawei, BYD and the rest of Chinese giants who can take the huge domestic and ever growing market over without their American rivals.

大多数在华美国500强都是盈利的。通用汽车就是因为中国子公司而躲过了这次金融风暴。想对中国进口货课以惩罚性重税?去问问麦当劳、波音、苹果、微软、通用汽车、思科,英特尔以及其他在华企业吧。他们能从中美贸易战中得到任何什么好处吗?吉利, 联想, 比亚迪以及其他中国本土品牌几乎会立即填补他们在越来越巨大的中国市场上留下的空白。没有美国人和他们竞争,他们的生意只会更兴旺。

Doug Pascover:

The arguments against protectionism have the rare virtue of truth and I'm a little puzzled that M.S. thinks the tire tariff went coolly. American exporters were harmed and it seems unlikely that an American got or kept a job as a consequence. Which is the best argument against taking a harder stand against China. Our leaders are no better than theirs for staying focused or serving the public good. From the current President to the congress, stupid ideas get a polish of zeal from foreign flags.

It's hard to make a case that China is importing U.S. jobs. They are beggaring Vietnam and Mexico and other low-cost manufacturers. Any politician who wants to campaign on protecting foreign low-wage workers from Chinese low-wage workers deserves credit. But anyone who claims to protect U.S. jobs from China by pressuring reminbi is being ignorant, mendacious or both.

我就不明白有人竟然真以为在轮胎税战争中我们赢了中国人一把。事实是美国出口业受到了很大的伤害,许多人因此而失业。还需要比这个更充足的反对贸易制裁中国的理由吗?说到保持头脑清醒、坚持为自己的民众谋福利,我们的领导并不比他们的领导高明。从本届总统到议员大佬们统统都被外部势力忽悠得团团转。

说中国人抢了美国人的工作就是个大忽悠。那些工作在美国根本找不到人干;中国人要不干,我们也只能找越南人或墨西哥人来干。若有政客为了保护薪水低得可怜的外籍工人而抵制中国,那还情有可原。要是有人说强迫人民币升值是为了保护美国人的饭碗,那他不是胡扯就是别有用心。

Dan Martin:

Explaining the intricacies of financial markets, indirect subsidies, and undervalued currencies will NEVER get you reelected. But, tell that same voter an easy, somewhat xenophobic story about why China is stealing his/her job, then you will earn their support. With such a stark contrast between reality and political expediency, there is bound to be bad legislation as a result.

In the end, any tiff with China, no matter how justified, will hurt American consumers. Trade wars only benefit politicians; unfortunately, that appears to be the road the American electorate have asked their representatives to follow. I don't have a solution myself, but one thing is for sure: no good can come of this.

要是这些政客不怕麻烦,向他们的选民们解释金融市场啊、财政补贴啊、货币价值啊等等等等,他们就等着落选吧。没人会对他们感兴趣的。要是他们简单地向选民们灌输排外思想,声称中国人抢了美国人的工作,他们立马就能召集到一大群粉丝。美国的现实和政治局面就是这样,你还能指望政府能捣鼓出什么高明的立法来吗?

说到底,无论关税合不合理,最后买单的是美国的消费者。能从贸易战中受益的只有那些政客们。遗憾的是,这就是美国的政治制度。我也想不出有什么办法来防止事态恶化,但我知道美国要是真的挑起这场争端,结局一定是两败俱伤。

alephknot:

In the 80s, I think in many ways Japan was viewed -- at least subconsciously -- by most Americans as a de facto suzerainty. We have the right to feel angry if they don't let us station troops on their soil, but not the other way around.

记得80年代的时候我们看日本人就像现在看中国人。我们会因为日本人反对我们在他们的土地上驻军而义愤填膺。当然我们是决不允许他们在我们的土地上驻扎一兵一卒的,呵呵。

iewgnem:

You can't have your cake and eat it too, while American trade policy is ultimately up to Americans to decide, it’s also ultimately up to them to face up to the consequences of their own decisions. Considering Japan, Germany, Brazil, South Korea all run a trade surplus with China and almost all are experiencing economic recovery on the back of Chinese orders, its highly unlikely they will sign up to join Washington in their trade war, and now considering those countries plus China make up almost all of the world's exports, should China's action lower American purchasing power for those countries' product in general, US might find itself fighting on more than one front.

想鱼和熊掌兼得是不行的。美国制订了这样的贸易政策,美国人就得忍受这样的结局。日本、德国、巴西、南朝鲜都是对华贸易顺差,都因为中国的大宗订单而得以走出金融危机的阴影。指望他们加入我们的反华贸易战联盟是没戏的了。它们和中国一样都是出口大国。中国的商品贵了,这些国家的商品相对就便宜了,马上就会溜进来填补中国留下的空白。到头来,美国只会发现自己的敌人越打越多。

Jaylat:

China's concerns are (1) stability and (2) continued employment in the exporting sector, which has seen massive losses. China was alone among Asian countries in avoiding the 1997 crisis because of its fixed currency. Opening the RMB up to outside influence is, to them, madness. Another revaluation will bankrupt thousands more factories.

中国考虑的第一是保持稳定,第二是保证就业。他们的出口业已经被重创了一次。由于汇率的稳定,中国得以在97年的亚洲金融风暴中独善其身,现在除非他们疯了才会任由人民币随外界影响浮动。再一次改变人民币汇率只会导致数以千计的企业倒闭。

iewgnem:

Congress is good at blaming others, but when that attitude turns into the mentality that US problems requires the actions of others to fix, then it becomes a problem for the US itself.

Starting a conflict, be it trade war or real war, to save an economy never worked in the past and never will, for the simple reason that if your economy needs saving, you probably can't afford a conflict. The same applies today.

美国国会最擅长的就是指责别人,哪怕在最需要别人帮忙的时候也是一副穷凶极恶的样子。被他们这么一搅和,没问题也被他们弄出了问题。

历史证明,无论是贸易战还是枪炮战,全都无助于帮助任何人真正摆脱经济困境。你已经穷的要命了,还经得起战争的折腾吗,只会越打越穷。

fundamentalist:

Econominer: "the most obvious evidence of RMB undervaluation - a large current-account surplus and a growing pile of FX reserves."

But as I wrote above, oil producing countries are accumulating huge piles of dollars and causing a large current-account imbalance. Does that mean the dollar is undervalued against the dollar?

经济学家:人民币汇率过低的最大证据是他们手里有大量美刀。

但问题是所有石油输出国手中都有大量的美刀啊。

Urgsmurgs:

American nationalists will always see China as geopolitical adversary over world hegemony, evil communist etc..... They dont see other countries with higher current account surpluses in that category.

美国沙文主义者把中国看做是他们统一世界的绊脚石,是邪恶的共党国家,这才是问题的关键。其他跟屁虫国家有大量美刀威胁不到我们啊。

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