Asia Global Institute, The University of Hong Kong
The rise in trade tensions between the US and China may be due to the American side’s failure to appreciate the implications of China’s not being a rule-of-law country – that administrative action, not laws on the books, get things done in China, writes Zhiwu Chen, Director of the Asia Global Institute (AGI) and Victor and William Fung Professor in Economics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
The governance gap between the US and China - the former focuses on the rule of law, the latter on the rule by the Communist Party - suggests differences in their perceptions of what a rules-based international order should be. This disconnect is better understood by looking at how, at the beginning of the 20th century, lawyer-diplomats took over from military generals in negotiating international treaties, writes Zhiwu Chen, Director of the Asia Global Institute.
While the US president may want to forge an agreement soon to boost his re-election hopes, Xi Jinping is in no rush.
Such interventions only serve to worsen wealth inequality and, as a result, could fuel anti-globalization sentiment.