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25 YEARS AFTER OSLO ACCORDS
A deepening catastrophe for the Palestinians

US President Bill Clinton (C) stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin (L) as they shake hands on September 13, 1993, at the White House in Washington DC. Rabin and Arafat shook hands for the first time after Israel and the PLO signed a historic agreement on Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories.

Bill Van Auken

SEPTEMBER 13 marked the 25th anniversary of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin adopting the Oslo Accords at a meeting in Washington, with US President Bill Clinton hosting the affair.
The accords were supposed to initiate a “peace process” that would result in a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, resolving such issues as the borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, the future of illegal Zionist settlements, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The deal was promoted as a path to the realization of the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” supposedly to be achieved by means of a “two-state solution,” creating a Palestinian national entity in the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
The anniversary was barely observed in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. A small meeting at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem addressed by Palestinian and Israeli officials who had backed the accord was broken up by a group of angry young Palestinian demonstrators.

Israeli aggression for over quarter century
Sections of the Israeli media published articles lamenting the “missed opportunities” of the so-called peace process, while even-handedly apportioning blame. In reality, Oslo served precisely the purpose for which it was intended, providing a cover for unrelenting Israeli aggression over the last quarter century.
US and Israeli officials have marked the anniversary with the aggressive pursuit of a policy that is unabashedly determined by the most right-wing elements within the Israeli state. It is dedicated to forcing Palestinian officials to carry out an unequivocal renunciation of all demands and rights of the Palestinian people, what President Donald Trump describes as his “deal of the century.”
On Monday, Trump ordered the shutdown of the de facto PLO embassy in Washington. This follows a series of escalating and increasingly punishing measures taken by Washington to back the Israeli regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and starve the Palestinians into submission.
These include the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in a repudiation of previous US policy and of Palestinian claims to the city. The State Department, meanwhile, has dropped the word “occupied” in its references to Palestinian territories.
More substantively, Washington has cut off nearly $600 million in aid for impoverished Palestinians in the West Bank,Gaza and refugee camps in the Arab world, while repudiating the very existence of Palestinian refugees as well as the UN agency that assists them, UNRWA. The US eliminated all its funding for UNRWA, which last year stood at $350 million, while scrapping another $200 million in aid funneled through USAID and, in a particularly petty and vindictive act, announced that it would end $25 million in assistance previously given to six hospitals that serve predominantly Palestinian populations in Jerusalem. The results will be felt in people going hungry, children being denied education and patients dying.
Trump has dispensed with the worn-out façade of the “peace process” that has been promoted by successive USadministrations since Clinton’s, even as negotiations proved more and more pointless and broke down irrevocably over a decade ago.

Washington’s unconditional backing for Israel
With the unconditional backing of Washington, the Netanyahu government recently pushed through a law declaring Israel to be the “nation-state of the Jewish people,” renouncing the formal recognition of equality of all the state’s citizens and raising apartheid to the level of a constitutional principle.
In the quarter century since Arafat, Rabin and Clinton stood in the White House Rose Garden, the conditions for the masses of the Palestinian people have deteriorated sharply. Meanwhile, Israel, backed by Washington, has utilized the so-called “peace process” as a smokescreen for its seizure of ever-greater amounts of Palestinian land, the vast expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and the consolidation of what amounts to an apartheid state.
The number of Israelis living in West Bank settlements nearly doubled by the end of the 1990s. Today their numbers are three times what they were in 1993, with nearly 700,000 living in the West Bank, with another 200,000 living on what had been Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.
These “facts on the ground” have been supplemented by the Israeli military separation of the West Bank from Gaza and Jerusalem and the carving up of the West Bank itself into a collection of discontiguous Bantustans by walls, security roads and hundreds of Israeli checkpoints.

Repeated Israeli military assaults
In Gaza, which is governed by the Islamist Hamas movement, conditions are “catastrophic” after 11 years of “economic siege,” in the words of a new report issued by a UN agency. This siege has included repeated Israeli military assaults that have destroyed thousands of lives and basic infrastructure.
The UN development agency UNCTAD blamed conditions on both the economic strangulation imposed by Israel’s occupation and blockade, as well as the sharp reduction in international aid, which fell by more than 10 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year—well before the massive cuts imposed by the Trump administration.
The population of the Gaza Strip, the report stated, had been “reduced to a humanitarian case of profound suffering and aid dependency.” It noted that the unemployment rate in the occupied Palestinian territories is the highest on the planet—over 27 percent overall and around 44 percent in Gaza. Fully half of Palestinians under the age of 30 have no work in the occupied territories.
The one enduring creation of the Oslo Accords is the monstrosity known as the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas, an unelected president who rules by decree. The PA has enriched a thin layer of the Palestinian bourgeoisie off of aid kickbacks, while serving to police the population of the West Bank in the interests of Israel and imperialism. The territory has the highest ratio of security forces to the population of any territory on the planet, and prisons are being built at a more rapid rate than schools.
Even as Trump made his demonstrative gestures of closing the PLO office in Washington and cutting off humanitarian assistance, US funding for the PA’s militarized police has continued uninterrupted and a delegation of PA security and intelligence officials traveled to Washington earlier this month for talks with the CIA.

Norwegian-brokered secret negotiations
The PLO’s road to the Oslo Accords included a series of Norwegian-brokered secret negotiations and the public declaration by Arafat in Geneva in 1988 that the PLO renounced terrorism and recognized the “right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security.”
Pressed by the Western media to go further and recognize Israel, Arafat replied bitterly, “Enough is enough. Do you want me to do a striptease? It would be unseemly.”
The striptease was ultimately consummated on the White House lawn five years later.
The heroism and self-sacrifice of the PLO’s fighters had inspired workers and youth throughout the Middle East. The PLO was, however, a movement that ultimately represented the nationalist aspirations of an exiled Palestinian bourgeoisie and was unable and unwilling to make a genuine appeal to the Arab working class and oppressed masses. It remained dependent upon the reactionary regimes in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere, even as they collaborated in Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians and carried out direct attacks against them, including the 1970 “Black September” massacre of Palestinians by Jordan, and Syria’s complicity in the Lebanese Falangist slaughter of Palestinians at the Karantina and Tel al Zaatar camps in 1975.
In the end, there was an inexorable logic to the PLO’s capitulation to imperialism and its transformation— which included the enforced isolation and unexplained death of Arafat in 2004—into an open instrument of oppression of the very people that it claimed it would liberate. Its evolution followed a well-worn path traveled by other movements that had promised national liberation through armed struggle, including the African National Congress in South Africa, the Sandinistas inNicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador and others.
The PLO had sought to maintain its survival by means of maneuvers between the various Arab regimes and by exploiting the Cold War conflict between Washington and Moscow’s Stalinist bureaucracy. Part of this Faustian bargain was an explicitly stated neutrality in relation to the class struggle within the Arab states.
By the end of the 1980s, the wages of this bargain came due, as profound changes in world capitalism based on the ever-increasing global integration of production undermined the very forces upon which the PLO had depended. The Stalinist bureaucracy’s turn to the restoration of capitalism and liquidation of the Soviet Union was accompanied by the turn by supposedly nationalist Arab regimes toward ever closer collaboration with imperialism.
Within the Palestinian territories themselves, this process was accompanied by the first intifada. This spontaneous rebellion erupted among workers and youth independently of and ultimately against the opposition of the PLO leadership, which feared that this struggle from below threatened its project of establishing an independent bourgeois state.
The undeniable impasse and degeneration that confronts this nationalist project, 25 years after the Oslo Accords, has provided fresh confirmation of the theory of Permanent Revolution developed by Leon Trotsky. In the oppressed countries, the democratic and national tasks that in an earlier historical period were associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie can, in the epoch of imperialism, be achieved only through the independent revolutionary mobilization of the working class based on a socialist and internationalist perspective.
The liberation of the Palestinian people will never be achieved through imperialist brokered negotiations for a “two-state solution.” Putting an end to decades of oppression, poverty and violence can be realized only by means of uniting the Jewish and Arab working class in the struggle for a Socialist Federation of the Middle East as part of the struggle to put an end to capitalism all over the world.
— WSWS

Comment

US President Bill Clinton (C) stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin (L) as they shake hands on September 13, 1993, at the White House in Washington DC. Rabin and Arafat shook hands for the first time after Israel and the PLO signed a historic agreement on Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories.

Bill Van Auken

SEPTEMBER 13 marked the 25th anniversary of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin adopting the Oslo Accords at a meeting in Washington, with US President Bill Clinton hosting the affair.
The accords were supposed to initiate a “peace process” that would result in a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, resolving such issues as the borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, the future of illegal Zionist settlements, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The deal was promoted as a path to the realization of the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” supposedly to be achieved by means of a “two-state solution,” creating a Palestinian national entity in the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
The anniversary was barely observed in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. A small meeting at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem addressed by Palestinian and Israeli officials who had backed the accord was broken up by a group of angry young Palestinian demonstrators.

Israeli aggression for over quarter century
Sections of the Israeli media published articles lamenting the “missed opportunities” of the so-called peace process, while even-handedly apportioning blame. In reality, Oslo served precisely the purpose for which it was intended, providing a cover for unrelenting Israeli aggression over the last quarter century.
US and Israeli officials have marked the anniversary with the aggressive pursuit of a policy that is unabashedly determined by the most right-wing elements within the Israeli state. It is dedicated to forcing Palestinian officials to carry out an unequivocal renunciation of all demands and rights of the Palestinian people, what President Donald Trump describes as his “deal of the century.”
On Monday, Trump ordered the shutdown of the de facto PLO embassy in Washington. This follows a series of escalating and increasingly punishing measures taken by Washington to back the Israeli regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and starve the Palestinians into submission.
These include the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in a repudiation of previous US policy and of Palestinian claims to the city. The State Department, meanwhile, has dropped the word “occupied” in its references to Palestinian territories.
More substantively, Washington has cut off nearly $600 million in aid for impoverished Palestinians in the West Bank,Gaza and refugee camps in the Arab world, while repudiating the very existence of Palestinian refugees as well as the UN agency that assists them, UNRWA. The US eliminated all its funding for UNRWA, which last year stood at $350 million, while scrapping another $200 million in aid funneled through USAID and, in a particularly petty and vindictive act, announced that it would end $25 million in assistance previously given to six hospitals that serve predominantly Palestinian populations in Jerusalem. The results will be felt in people going hungry, children being denied education and patients dying.
Trump has dispensed with the worn-out façade of the “peace process” that has been promoted by successive USadministrations since Clinton’s, even as negotiations proved more and more pointless and broke down irrevocably over a decade ago.

Washington’s unconditional backing for Israel
With the unconditional backing of Washington, the Netanyahu government recently pushed through a law declaring Israel to be the “nation-state of the Jewish people,” renouncing the formal recognition of equality of all the state’s citizens and raising apartheid to the level of a constitutional principle.
In the quarter century since Arafat, Rabin and Clinton stood in the White House Rose Garden, the conditions for the masses of the Palestinian people have deteriorated sharply. Meanwhile, Israel, backed by Washington, has utilized the so-called “peace process” as a smokescreen for its seizure of ever-greater amounts of Palestinian land, the vast expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and the consolidation of what amounts to an apartheid state.
The number of Israelis living in West Bank settlements nearly doubled by the end of the 1990s. Today their numbers are three times what they were in 1993, with nearly 700,000 living in the West Bank, with another 200,000 living on what had been Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.
These “facts on the ground” have been supplemented by the Israeli military separation of the West Bank from Gaza and Jerusalem and the carving up of the West Bank itself into a collection of discontiguous Bantustans by walls, security roads and hundreds of Israeli checkpoints.

Repeated Israeli military assaults
In Gaza, which is governed by the Islamist Hamas movement, conditions are “catastrophic” after 11 years of “economic siege,” in the words of a new report issued by a UN agency. This siege has included repeated Israeli military assaults that have destroyed thousands of lives and basic infrastructure.
The UN development agency UNCTAD blamed conditions on both the economic strangulation imposed by Israel’s occupation and blockade, as well as the sharp reduction in international aid, which fell by more than 10 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year—well before the massive cuts imposed by the Trump administration.
The population of the Gaza Strip, the report stated, had been “reduced to a humanitarian case of profound suffering and aid dependency.” It noted that the unemployment rate in the occupied Palestinian territories is the highest on the planet—over 27 percent overall and around 44 percent in Gaza. Fully half of Palestinians under the age of 30 have no work in the occupied territories.
The one enduring creation of the Oslo Accords is the monstrosity known as the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas, an unelected president who rules by decree. The PA has enriched a thin layer of the Palestinian bourgeoisie off of aid kickbacks, while serving to police the population of the West Bank in the interests of Israel and imperialism. The territory has the highest ratio of security forces to the population of any territory on the planet, and prisons are being built at a more rapid rate than schools.
Even as Trump made his demonstrative gestures of closing the PLO office in Washington and cutting off humanitarian assistance, US funding for the PA’s militarized police has continued uninterrupted and a delegation of PA security and intelligence officials traveled to Washington earlier this month for talks with the CIA.

Norwegian-brokered secret negotiations
The PLO’s road to the Oslo Accords included a series of Norwegian-brokered secret negotiations and the public declaration by Arafat in Geneva in 1988 that the PLO renounced terrorism and recognized the “right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security.”
Pressed by the Western media to go further and recognize Israel, Arafat replied bitterly, “Enough is enough. Do you want me to do a striptease? It would be unseemly.”
The striptease was ultimately consummated on the White House lawn five years later.
The heroism and self-sacrifice of the PLO’s fighters had inspired workers and youth throughout the Middle East. The PLO was, however, a movement that ultimately represented the nationalist aspirations of an exiled Palestinian bourgeoisie and was unable and unwilling to make a genuine appeal to the Arab working class and oppressed masses. It remained dependent upon the reactionary regimes in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere, even as they collaborated in Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians and carried out direct attacks against them, including the 1970 “Black September” massacre of Palestinians by Jordan, and Syria’s complicity in the Lebanese Falangist slaughter of Palestinians at the Karantina and Tel al Zaatar camps in 1975.
In the end, there was an inexorable logic to the PLO’s capitulation to imperialism and its transformation— which included the enforced isolation and unexplained death of Arafat in 2004—into an open instrument of oppression of the very people that it claimed it would liberate. Its evolution followed a well-worn path traveled by other movements that had promised national liberation through armed struggle, including the African National Congress in South Africa, the Sandinistas inNicaragua, the FMLN in El Salvador and others.
The PLO had sought to maintain its survival by means of maneuvers between the various Arab regimes and by exploiting the Cold War conflict between Washington and Moscow’s Stalinist bureaucracy. Part of this Faustian bargain was an explicitly stated neutrality in relation to the class struggle within the Arab states.
By the end of the 1980s, the wages of this bargain came due, as profound changes in world capitalism based on the ever-increasing global integration of production undermined the very forces upon which the PLO had depended. The Stalinist bureaucracy’s turn to the restoration of capitalism and liquidation of the Soviet Union was accompanied by the turn by supposedly nationalist Arab regimes toward ever closer collaboration with imperialism.
Within the Palestinian territories themselves, this process was accompanied by the first intifada. This spontaneous rebellion erupted among workers and youth independently of and ultimately against the opposition of the PLO leadership, which feared that this struggle from below threatened its project of establishing an independent bourgeois state.
The undeniable impasse and degeneration that confronts this nationalist project, 25 years after the Oslo Accords, has provided fresh confirmation of the theory of Permanent Revolution developed by Leon Trotsky. In the oppressed countries, the democratic and national tasks that in an earlier historical period were associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie can, in the epoch of imperialism, be achieved only through the independent revolutionary mobilization of the working class based on a socialist and internationalist perspective.
The liberation of the Palestinian people will never be achieved through imperialist brokered negotiations for a “two-state solution.” Putting an end to decades of oppression, poverty and violence can be realized only by means of uniting the Jewish and Arab working class in the struggle for a Socialist Federation of the Middle East as part of the struggle to put an end to capitalism all over the world.
— WSWS


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US set to escalate trade war against China

Nick Beams

AS THE office of the US Trade Representative prepares the final details for the imposition of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, President Trump has threatened imposts on an additional $267 billion.
Speaking to reporters on 7 September, Trump said: “The $200 billion we’re talking about could take place very soon, depending on what happens with them. To a certain extent it’s going to be up to China. I hate to say that, but behind that, there’s another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”
Trump’s threat of further increases means that all Chinese goods coming into the US would be subject to tariff hikes ifChina carries through on its threat to take retaliatory measures. The latest US measures come on top of the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods now in effect.
Reports indicate that administration officials are considering how the new round of tariffs should be imposed—whether in one hit or in stages and the level of the impost that could go as high as 25 percent. They are also seeking to ensure that the measures are not threatened by legal challenges.

Overwhelming majority were opposed
The preparations by the Trump administration follow a series of public hearings in which businesses made submissions on the tariff plan. The overwhelming majority were opposed, with a wide range of firms saying their costs and global supply chains would be severely impacted.
Four major technology firms—Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Juniper Networks—weighed in with a joint letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warning that tariffs on networking equipment would increase costs for consumers and possibly cause job losses.
“If USTR were to impose a 10-25 percent additional duty on networking products and accessories, it would cause broad, disproportionate economic harm to US interests, including our companies and US workers, our customers, US consumers, and broader US economic and strategic priorities,” the letter stated.
The companies said the imposition of tariffs would adversely affect the roll-out of G5 technology for mobile phones whenChina is seeking to enhance its position in this area. It warned that “foreign competitors in third country markets” would gain an advantage if tariffs were imposed, cutting the profits for US firms and possibly bringing hiring freezes and job losses as well as impacting on investors through reduced dividends and erosion of shareholder value.

Apple’s iPhone and other products
In a separate submission to the USTR, Apple said the proposed tariffs would affect its watch, wireless headphones and other products. Apple assembles the iPhone and most of its other products in China. It said the tariffs would “divert our resources and disadvantage Apple compared to foreign competitors.” It would also lead to higher consumer prices “lower overall US economic growth, and other unintended consequences.”
However, these submissions have cut no ice with the administration. Responding to the Apple submission, Trump tweeted: “Apple prices may increase because of the massive tariffs we may be imposing on China—but there is an easy solution where there would be zero tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead ofChina.”
The opposition among business groups is not to tariffs against China as such. Their criticism centres on the way the administration is going about it, warning that the Trump measures are putting the US at a disadvantage with respect to its competitors. At the same time, other tariffs, such as those imposed on steel and aluminium and the threatened imposts on cars and auto products, are alienating potential allies in the push against China.
Seeking to allay business concerns, the head of Trump’s National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, said in an interview on the business channel CNBC last Friday that talks with China on trade would “continue to go on” and that the US was looking for a deal. But there are no prospects for talks—the latest round between middle-range officials 10 days ago broke up without any agreement—and no more are scheduled. China is determined to proceed with retaliatory measures if the US tariffs go ahead.
“Our view, the president’s view, is not to destroy the Chinese economy. We are not trying to put them out of business,” Kudlow said. “We are trying to get them to join the international trading nations’ world, and be a citizen, and abide by the rules for the first time in some 20-odd years.”
However, the assertion that the US is not trying to destroy China is contradicted by a number of facts. In support of his trade war measures and claims that he is “winning” the conflict, Trump has frequently tweeted that the US economy is “strong” in contrast to the growing problems of China, marked by its falling stock market.
Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are of the view that the US should push for a reduction in the US trade deficit with China and claim victory on that basis. Last May after talks with Chinese Vice-Premier Lui He, the country’s chief trade negotiator, resulted in an agreement for China to purchase an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods, Mnuchin said the deal had put the trade war “on hold.”
This was countermanded within a few days by Trump who said negotiations would have to take place on a different basis.
The dominant position in the administration is that of Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Peter Navarro who, while they demand that the trade deficit should be cut, do not see this is as the main question. They regard China’s efforts to develop its industrial and technological base as an existential threat to the economic, and ultimately military dominance, of the US that must be stopped at all costs.
In their view, for China to become what Kudlow calls a “citizen” in the “international trading nations’ world” means that it must cease state subsidies to what it regards as key industries. China must also end its push to acquire new technologies through the alleged theft of intellectual property, and through technology transfers from US firms operating in China. In other words, in its drive for greater technology, China must eschew all the methods previously used by other nations, including the US, to advance its technological base.
The US demands were issued in the initial statement issued by the White House at the beginning of May. In the words of the Financial Times at the time, they amounted to “a call for unilateral disarmament ahead of a potential trade war and forBeijing to abandon key elements of its industrial policy.”
For Beijing, the essential US demands are non-negotiable because they amount to the reduction of China and its economy to a semi-colonial status.
The underlying US drive was highlighted in an interview on Australian television with one-time Trump adviser Steven Bannon, one of the key right-wing nationalist ideologues in the US, whose views on China are reflected in the positions of Lighthizer and Navarro.
Questioned as to whether the US was in a “trade war” with China, he “corrected” the interviewer saying it was an “economic war.” The implications of that assessment were not canvassed but its inherent logic is military conflict. That outcome is set to come closer with the new tariffs measures about to be imposed by the US. - WSWS

Comment

Nick Beams

AS THE office of the US Trade Representative prepares the final details for the imposition of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, President Trump has threatened imposts on an additional $267 billion.
Speaking to reporters on 7 September, Trump said: “The $200 billion we’re talking about could take place very soon, depending on what happens with them. To a certain extent it’s going to be up to China. I hate to say that, but behind that, there’s another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want. That totally changes the equation.”
Trump’s threat of further increases means that all Chinese goods coming into the US would be subject to tariff hikes ifChina carries through on its threat to take retaliatory measures. The latest US measures come on top of the tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods now in effect.
Reports indicate that administration officials are considering how the new round of tariffs should be imposed—whether in one hit or in stages and the level of the impost that could go as high as 25 percent. They are also seeking to ensure that the measures are not threatened by legal challenges.

Overwhelming majority were opposed
The preparations by the Trump administration follow a series of public hearings in which businesses made submissions on the tariff plan. The overwhelming majority were opposed, with a wide range of firms saying their costs and global supply chains would be severely impacted.
Four major technology firms—Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Juniper Networks—weighed in with a joint letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warning that tariffs on networking equipment would increase costs for consumers and possibly cause job losses.
“If USTR were to impose a 10-25 percent additional duty on networking products and accessories, it would cause broad, disproportionate economic harm to US interests, including our companies and US workers, our customers, US consumers, and broader US economic and strategic priorities,” the letter stated.
The companies said the imposition of tariffs would adversely affect the roll-out of G5 technology for mobile phones whenChina is seeking to enhance its position in this area. It warned that “foreign competitors in third country markets” would gain an advantage if tariffs were imposed, cutting the profits for US firms and possibly bringing hiring freezes and job losses as well as impacting on investors through reduced dividends and erosion of shareholder value.

Apple’s iPhone and other products
In a separate submission to the USTR, Apple said the proposed tariffs would affect its watch, wireless headphones and other products. Apple assembles the iPhone and most of its other products in China. It said the tariffs would “divert our resources and disadvantage Apple compared to foreign competitors.” It would also lead to higher consumer prices “lower overall US economic growth, and other unintended consequences.”
However, these submissions have cut no ice with the administration. Responding to the Apple submission, Trump tweeted: “Apple prices may increase because of the massive tariffs we may be imposing on China—but there is an easy solution where there would be zero tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead ofChina.”
The opposition among business groups is not to tariffs against China as such. Their criticism centres on the way the administration is going about it, warning that the Trump measures are putting the US at a disadvantage with respect to its competitors. At the same time, other tariffs, such as those imposed on steel and aluminium and the threatened imposts on cars and auto products, are alienating potential allies in the push against China.
Seeking to allay business concerns, the head of Trump’s National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, said in an interview on the business channel CNBC last Friday that talks with China on trade would “continue to go on” and that the US was looking for a deal. But there are no prospects for talks—the latest round between middle-range officials 10 days ago broke up without any agreement—and no more are scheduled. China is determined to proceed with retaliatory measures if the US tariffs go ahead.
“Our view, the president’s view, is not to destroy the Chinese economy. We are not trying to put them out of business,” Kudlow said. “We are trying to get them to join the international trading nations’ world, and be a citizen, and abide by the rules for the first time in some 20-odd years.”
However, the assertion that the US is not trying to destroy China is contradicted by a number of facts. In support of his trade war measures and claims that he is “winning” the conflict, Trump has frequently tweeted that the US economy is “strong” in contrast to the growing problems of China, marked by its falling stock market.
Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are of the view that the US should push for a reduction in the US trade deficit with China and claim victory on that basis. Last May after talks with Chinese Vice-Premier Lui He, the country’s chief trade negotiator, resulted in an agreement for China to purchase an additional $100 billion of Chinese goods, Mnuchin said the deal had put the trade war “on hold.”
This was countermanded within a few days by Trump who said negotiations would have to take place on a different basis.
The dominant position in the administration is that of Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Peter Navarro who, while they demand that the trade deficit should be cut, do not see this is as the main question. They regard China’s efforts to develop its industrial and technological base as an existential threat to the economic, and ultimately military dominance, of the US that must be stopped at all costs.
In their view, for China to become what Kudlow calls a “citizen” in the “international trading nations’ world” means that it must cease state subsidies to what it regards as key industries. China must also end its push to acquire new technologies through the alleged theft of intellectual property, and through technology transfers from US firms operating in China. In other words, in its drive for greater technology, China must eschew all the methods previously used by other nations, including the US, to advance its technological base.
The US demands were issued in the initial statement issued by the White House at the beginning of May. In the words of the Financial Times at the time, they amounted to “a call for unilateral disarmament ahead of a potential trade war and forBeijing to abandon key elements of its industrial policy.”
For Beijing, the essential US demands are non-negotiable because they amount to the reduction of China and its economy to a semi-colonial status.
The underlying US drive was highlighted in an interview on Australian television with one-time Trump adviser Steven Bannon, one of the key right-wing nationalist ideologues in the US, whose views on China are reflected in the positions of Lighthizer and Navarro.
Questioned as to whether the US was in a “trade war” with China, he “corrected” the interviewer saying it was an “economic war.” The implications of that assessment were not canvassed but its inherent logic is military conflict. That outcome is set to come closer with the new tariffs measures about to be imposed by the US. - WSWS


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