The International Monetary Fund projected a deep recession in 2020 in its latest World Economic Outlook, saying the growing restrictions on trade and investment and rising geopolitical uncertainty could harm the recovery.
However, even at such a critical moment, the US is still arbitrarily waving the big stick of sanctions to invoke trade protectionism and unilateralism, severely threatening the security of the global economy.
In recent years, Washington has frequently provoked and escalated trade frictions, weaponized its tariffs, and undermined the process of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, giving a heavy blow to the world economy.
About 3,400 US enterprises, including electric vehicle maker Tesla, recently sued the US government over its tariffs on China. They said the White House's capricious tariff policy has increased enterprises' cost and led to huge economic losses, demanding repayment of taxes paid. The lawsuit reflected the US government's practices which only hurt others without necessarily benefiting itself. Facts proved that the so-called decoupling proposed by the White House, as well its high tariff barriers, violate economic laws and hinder the recovery of the world economy. According to World Trade Organization (WTO) statistics, world merchandise trade contracted by 0.1% in volume terms in 2019, and trade tensions were one of the major reasons for the decline.
The US has long imposed unilateral sanctions and applied so-called long-arm jurisdiction on other countries based on its domestic laws. Even enterprises like Japan's Toshiba, Germany's Siemens and France's Alston, all from the so-called allies of the US, have been the targets of the White House's modern piracy.
High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell recently voiced his concerns in a recent statement over the growing use of sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, by the US against gas projects, including the Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream. As a matter of principle the EU opposes the use of sanctions by third countries on European companies carrying out legitimate business, he said, adding such measures go against the international law.
At present, Washington is exploiting so-called "national security" to launch a technology Cold War, abusing its state power to suppress other countries' tech firms. Washington even took away the successes of other countries by force, which seriously threatens the role of innovation - the biggest engine for development.
What is alarming is that the US going against the principles of a market economy and the open, transparent, and non-discriminatory rules of the WTO is insanely oppressing specific Chinese enterprises to cut off the international flow of capital, technologies, products, industries, and personnel, which has seriously undermined the stability of global supply and industrial chains.
The US Federal Communications Commission estimated that replacing Chinese equipment manufactured by Huawei and ZTE will cost small American carriers as much as $1.8 billion.
Exerting political pressure on other countries, the US is demanding other countries stop using Chinese equipment, even sacrificing their own 5G and economic development. Obviously, what the US is doing hurts itself and other countries, and the country has not taken global economic security into consideration.
As the largest economy in the world and a country that controls the world currency, the US should have demonstrated due responsibility. However, it is repeatedly resorting to its economic dominance and dollar supremacy to unilaterally launch economic blockades and impose financial sanctions on other countries, which has severely undermined the ability of other countries to develop their economies and improve livelihoods.
Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez recently said the US trade embargo against Cuba has caused more than $144 billion in losses for the island nation's economy in the past six decades. Taking into account the devaluation of the dollar against the price of gold, accumulated damages have reached the extraordinary figure of $1 trillion. Even after the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington has still maintained its unilateral sanctions against Syria, Cuba and Iran. As witnessed by all, the US is addicted to sanctions, becoming a prominent threat against global economic security.
It is noteworthy that the current pandemic is causing severe challenges for the world economy, and countries must work in solidarity and coordinate their efforts. Zero-sum games have no way out, and neither does hegemonic thinking. The US anti-globalization practices, which are hindering global economic development and threatening global economic security, are a shame. Those who go against justice will lose support, and those who bully others will meet bad ends.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)