The Announced Trade Match Between The United States And China Must Not Take Place

26 June 2020
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AllAfrica InfoWire (Washington, DC)

In the recent months, an increasing number of decisions by the Trump government have explicitly targeted the Huawei Group in order to contain its technological leadership and growing market power. Recently, it was Attorney General William Barr who came out in support of the U.S. government's strategy to try to bring down the Chinese giant. According to him, the West must choose a competitor for Huawei to invest in and prevent the natural growth of the Chinese group. For the Attorney General, the Swedish company Ericsson and the Finnish Nokia would be best placed to compete with Huawei.

Through one of their own, the Republicans seem to be playing their last card, panicked by the growth and technologic innovations developed by the Chinese company, even during the covid-19 pandemic.

The United States is thus trying by various means, more or less fair play, to maintain its status as a world power, and let us say most directly, as a hegemonic power. Whether we are Americans, Chinese, Europeans or Africans, this must raise several questions for us as citizens of the world, a world that we want to be globalized and open. The United States preaches the merits of free trade to us, it has used it as a geopolitical and soft-power strategy for more than 50 years, only now to rewrite the rules of the game when the results do not suit them.

Beyond a relationship of trust that has been weakened, this raises a key question for us: why is the US administration seeking to exclude Huawei from international markets and supply chains? We cannot believe the single argument put forward, namely that national security is threatened. It must be seen as a deeper crisis, that of a political administration that builds on fear and confrontation alone, and uses the Chinese giant as a scapegoat, the same one that dares to challenge US technological hegemony. And it is indeed China that is targeted behind this vast operation, in a Cold War 2.0 revival, where the commercial competitor necessarily becomes a political enemy.

Seeking to slow down or undermine China's technological rise involves decoupling the American and Chinese economies. This is a more than worrying signal for international trade, but it is also very bad news for progress in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. This sector will be one of the gateways out of the covid-19 crisis we are currently experiencing, its impact on our well-being, our prosperity and the transformation of our societies will be valuable.

In Africa, Huawei has become a key actor in more than 20 years of presence on the continent thanks to its competitive prices, adapted to consumers in search of constant innovation, and a strong commitment to people and institutions, which is reflected in numerous investments in sectors such as education, health and transport.

This two-decade relationship is set to intensify as the African telecommunications market matures and African economies develop. Huawei's activities in Africa are helping to support the emergence of a middle class whose new needs - consumption, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, market - are increasingly based on digital technology.

These characteristics make it a market of particular importance for the Group in terms of its contribution to the general interest. In African countries, already impacted by the health crisis, the consequences of Sino-American tensions can be felt at several levels, one strictly commercial and the other economic and social.

That is why this war between the United States and China must not take place, whether the Attorney General likes it or not.

That is why this emerging trade and technology war concerns us all, and why the announced trade match between the United States and China must not take place, for the sake of us all, no matter what the Attorney General may say.

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