Washington's pursuit of hegemony will never make global supply chains resilient: China Daily editorial



US President Joe Biden speaks about efforts to strengthen supply chains at the White House complex in Washington DC, US, Nov 27, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

At the inaugural convening of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience on Monday, US President Joe Biden announced 30 new actions supposedly intended "to strengthen supply chains critical to America's economic and national security".

He also revealed that he had directed his Cabinet to create an early-warning system that uses data "to spot subsidies", which he quickly amended to "supply chains risks to our economic security, our national security, our energy security, and our climate security".

Given that his administration continually accuses China of providing subsidies and that much of his remarks were about semiconductor supply chains, it is clear that these moves are targeted at China.

The White House noted in its Fact Sheet accompanying the announcement, "When supply chains are smooth, prices fall for goods, food, and equipment, putting more money in the pockets of American families, workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs."

That also applies beyond the United States, which is why industry and supply chains have been globalized.

But the unfair distribution of the fruits of globalization — the majority of the wealth produced by the behemoth multinationals swelling the coffers of the wealthy — along with the production and logistics challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic that highlighted the need to make supply chains resilient, has provided the opportunity for the US to exploit the concerns in pursuit of supply chain hegemony.

In doing so, it is asserting its narcissistic exceptionalism at the expense of the world, ignoring the fact that in doing so it is actually hurting its own interests, too. By failing to address the unfair wealth distribution, the measures will do nothing to mitigate the social pressures in the US, however entertaining Biden's homely anecdotes may be.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the first China International Supply Chain Expo and the Global Supply Chain Innovation and Development Forum on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang stressed that maintaining the resilience and stability of global industry and supply chains is an important guarantee for the promotion of global economic growth.

Noting that both history and reality have proven that the whole world benefits from the shared dividends of stable global industry and supply chains, he emphasized that China is willing to work with all parties to make them more resilient, efficient and dynamic.

The sharp contrast between the remarks of Li and Biden underscores the different world views and approaches of China and the US. For the US the key word is "America", for China it is "global".

Anyone familiar with the semiconductor industry and its history knows why its 40 percent share of the world market dropped to 10 percent: It was US capital, seeking higher profits that gave up the manufacturing of chips in the country to focus on the higher end of the value chain. That's how TSMC and Samsung grew. And that's how Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD have prospered. It is also the reason for the loss of manufacturing jobs in the chip sector in the US.

Reportedly, about one in four of the foreign companies participating in the CISCE are from the US. They know that in this interconnected age the gains and losses of supply chains are not zero-sum.