America’s Global Relations in the Time of COVID-19

America’s international relationships are always fluctuating.  But perhaps now more than ever due to the impacts on globalization from COVID-19.  China – until now has had very strong relationships with America, albeit strained.  But what impact has COVID-19 had on that and will have on that for the future.  In a recent Economic Times article, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said:

“For a very long time, there had been a desire to extend to China special privileges and benefits, and even the benefit of the doubt among them, to bring China into a more modern and prosperous future. Twenty years ago when that initiative was launched in earnest with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, the bet by most policymakers was that eventually, the weight of the institutions that China was joining would slowly redirect the Chinese political system and Chinese interests to a point where China would become much more invested in a rules-based order.”

And what about the rest of Asia?  Japan has had diplomatic ties with the western giant since the late 1950s.  But now – even without adding coronavirus to the mix – there is the departure of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  According to an official statement, Abe has: “made the U.S.-Japan alliance, and our overall relationship, the strongest it has ever been.”

For close to 10 years, Abe has been a staunch friend of America.  Once that partnership is gone, and give the issues China is now facing with America, this could severely impact the entire east-west alliance.  

In addition, over the years America has become more dependent on Asian relations, especially Chinese ones, most notably in pharmaceutical and other related-health industries.  But the pandemic is negatively effecting that now.

Tariff Collection Bolstering Economy

September figures for US import tariffs reached $7 billion. This marked a 9 percent hike from the month before and 59% jump year on year.  Trade Partnership – in conjunction with the Commerce Department – compiled the data which was released by the business/agricultural group collation, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.

Tariffs have been collected by America historically but not on all items.  Now they are even heavier though.  Trump’s argument is that they are needed to get China to curtail the practices it is engaged in with its tariffs that excoriate companies in America.

Earlier this month, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson, Gao Feng said:

“Over the past two weeks, the two negotiating teams had serious and constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional duties imposed on each other’s products in different phases after they make progress in reaching a deal. Both sides should simultaneously undo existing additional tariffs in the same proportion to reach phase one deal, and that is an important condition for signing a preliminary agreement. As for how much of the tariffs should be removed, the two countries can negotiate based on the content of the phase-one deal.”

It has also been reported from the White House that there is optimism surrounding the likelihood of the two sides “reaching an agreement soon.”

US-Foreign Relations: A Snippet of 3 Regions

US-foreign relations are continually in flux as different regions change expectations and US policy is subject to change. Here, we take a look at three different regions today and how American relations with those nations are faring:  Portugal, Malaysia and Canada.

New Bedford and the South Coast have been hosting excellent Portuguese-US relations as of late.  In recognition of this, various companies were nominated for the Portuguese-American Business Recognition Awards and later this month will appear for an honor on Good Morning, SouthCoast Breakfast.  These are:

Antonio’s Restaurant, Azores Airlines/SATA, Castelo Group, Club Madeirense S.S.Sacramento, DeMello International Center, DeMello’s Furniture, Fernandes Masonry, Hair In Motion, Horacios Inc., Luso-American Financial, Luzo Auto, No Problemo, Places to Go Transportation, Sagres Vacations and WJFD 97.3.

Malaysia’s US relations could have been described as strained since the May elections.  With Mahathir Mahamad’s visit to the US at the end of September, that might now be changing.  Mahathir doesn’t have the best track record with American relations sinceduring his tenure back in the 1980s, “U.S.-Malaysia relations were especially fraught with tensions over a range of issues even as aspects of cooperation continued at the working level, including on the defense side.”  Things improved thereafter, especially over the last ten years when Najib Razak was in power.  Now Mahathir has come back, the situation is once again a cause of concern.  But this visit could help and it should be remembered that it is unlikely Mahathir will remain in power for long since there is talk of Anwar Ibrahim taking over soon.

Even though tensions have been escalating between Canada and America’s governments, Justin Trudeau insisted the “relationship [between the two regions] will endure.”

The Canada-U.S. relationship will endure despite any possible friction between the two governments, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he faces a looming deadline in trade talks:

“The relationship between Canada and the United States is far deeper than between the Canadian government and the U.S. administration. There will be moments where there is better alignment or worse alignment between our two governments, and the relationship will just continue to create, frankly, prosperity and opportunity and security for our citizens.”