Teacher Taught by Disciple
-China vs. the US on free trade
Long Yongtu, former deputy trade minister who led China into the WTO, in a May speech to the Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. made the following comments, “Ironically, now our teachers are getting worried because, we, the students, followed your advice so faithfully and became so successful. As the students, we believe that our teachers should not be worried about that.”
In 1997, when I was still a college student, in our international trade class, one of my classmates stood up (I don’t know if the students are still required to stand up today when asking questions) and asked the following question, “Why China still doesn’t have anti-dumping law?” She was asking this question because we all got so frustrated by the practice of the US using anti-dumping law to protect their industries and we just wanted to use the same protectionist measure to realease our anger.
Now China made its way to the WTO and expects a more fair treatment in bilateral trade, but still the US government are using various protectionist measures. The recent textile dispute is an example.
After this, the disciple will only get smarter. Next time, when the U.S. is preaching something, such as flexible exchange rate, free flow of capital account, or even democracy that is so dear to the American people, the disciple will tell his citizens it’s a lie. I wonder how the Clinton administration and its trade representative will feel about this when they promised a more democratic China to the American people.