The United States has long set the rules for world trade. When it stops playing by those rules, it is time for others to correct the course.
According to a Reuters report, China is trying to pull the EU to its side against US President Donald Trump's trade policies ahead of the China-EU Summit in Beijing on July 16-17. This, however, raises fear that China plans to form an anti-US alliance with the EU.
The US and Europe have been allies for the past 70-plus years and will continue to be so. In his interview with CNN, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that the traditional value-driven alliance between Europe and the US will remain strong, despite all the divergences between the two over a slew of issues such as monetary policy and migration. Indeed, the transatlantic allies have different dreams, but still, they are in the same bed.
China understands this. But this does not mean China and Europe cannot strengthen cooperation on safeguarding international orders.
Because of the US, the interests of China and Europe are more intertwined than ever, especially when uncertainties loom over the world thanks to a capricious US president. Both China and Europe believe that free trade is the locomotive of global economic growth and that trade protectionism will trigger chaos and recession.
Now that the two are deeply hurt by Trump's impulsive trade policies - he has imposed steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from the EU and sharply escalated a confrontation with China over trade by slapping punitive tariffs on Chinese goods taking effect on July 6 - there is no reason for China and the EU to sit still.
The US has indulged in imposing rules for other countries. Trump has stuck to his "America First" agenda when dealing with his country's foreign relations. His predecessor, Barack Obama, once said that it is the US that must write trade rules.
However, the precondition for a country to make rules is that it has enough strength and can serve as a role model for other countries. It should not exploit its status as a rule-maker to threaten the interests of others. But that is exactly what the US is doing.
This provides room for China and Europe to coordinate and cooperate on reforming existing international rules and norms. Trump has reportedly suggested that he wants to pull the US out of the WTO, a move that would wreck the world trade system. It is time to make the US realize that in a multipolar world, it is not the only one that writes the rules. The US will only suffer more losses from jeopardizing international order on its own free will.