Decades of economic growth and government prioritization have enabled China to position itself at the nexus of global maritime trade. Beijing is pushing to leverage the nation’s resources to further strengthen connectivity, with a key emphasis on enhancing port infrastructure.
In this episode, Dr. Jeffrey Wilson joins us to discuss China’s expanding trade restrictions against Australia. Dr. Wilson analyzes China’s trade strategy of targeted geoeconomic sanctions and argues that Beijing’s goal is to maximize economic pain without hurting its own welfare. When considering whether China’s trade coercion against Australia is a violation of international law, Dr. Wilson contends that many of China’s actions fall into the grey zone. He discusses Canberra’s decision to file a case against China in the World Trade Organization and contends that Australia will be better positioned to fight the case if it has support from the international community. Finally, Dr. Wilson asserts that the future of China-Australia trade tensions may depend on how U.S.-China relations develop, since China views Australia as an ideal proxy for sending a message to the United States.
China’s accession to the World Trade Organization was heralded by the international community as a victory for free trade and economic liberalization. While China has been one of the organization’s most active members, Beijing has not instituted deep, systemic reforms and its compliance with WTO rulings has been mixed.
In 2017, China exported $2.3 trillion and imported $1.8 trillion in goods. This amounted to 12.4 percent of global trade and left China with a trade surplus of over $400 billion. Learn more about international trade with this ChinaPower exclusive.
As a vital artery of trade for many of the world’s largest economies, the South China Sea has garnered significant attention. Reports on the South China Sea frequently misrepresent the value of trade that annually transits the waterway. Learn more about trade flows in the region with this ChinaPower exclusive.