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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


A New Era for World Trade

by John Maryon

WE LIVE IN the age of State Monopoly Capitalism in which large corporations, with a monopoly position across a wide range of markets, have become directly connected with government apparatus. Their aim is to use the state and its elected representatives to provide the legal and political frameworks that will enable them to increase their profits. A notable sign of the potential chaos and disorder can be seen in the challenge that exists to capitalist state power by the monopoly capitalists.

Globalisation, the internationalism of the division of Labour, has developed rapidly since the turn of the millennium. It is the product of science, technology and the development of productive forces, and should be at the service of humankind. Everyone should be able to increase their skills, talents and knowledge. But globalisation when put to work by monopoly capitalism is nothing but raw imperialism. Imperialism, through its institutions, has attempted to tighten its grip on the economies of all countries, in particular those of the developing world and others they see as competitive.

Imperialists will attempt to use extra-governmental organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to their advantage. They may be able to remove protective restrictions that would limit imports and deregulate internal markets in terms of trade and services. By removing any restrictions on the movement of capital and eliminating export subsidies together with import tariffs that protect the home markets, a strategy of domination becomes effective. Small, poor countries, which are not capable of competing with the rich states, are confined to becoming suppliers of cheap commodities whilst being forced to import expensive manufactured products.

opposed

Imperialist policies have been opposed by larger developing countries such as India and Brazil – at least when their progressive governments have not been replaced by ones that are allies of the USA. The establishment of regional free-trade areas can have the effect of converting groups of countries into mere satellites of primarily US imperialism. It has not only been the developing nations that have been affected but also inter-imperialist rivalry. Japan could have produced a serious challenge to Boeing with civil aircraft and attempts are now being made to prevent Germany buying cheap gas via Nord Stream 2.

Secret negotiations started in 2014 between the European Union and USA to form the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Provisions would have allowed for full privatisation of the NHS and a reduction in food safety standards to US levels.

resistance

Also the greater use of pesticides and genetically modified foods would be approved, along with increased monitoring of the Internet. Fortunately, following consumer resistance and strong opposition negotiations came to an end in 2016 and no agreement was signed.

The suffocating agenda of blatant interference in the affairs of sovereign nations has been condemned by People’s China and Russia. An event of major importance that will have a very dramatic impact on international trade and relations was the adoption by the Chinese Government in 2013 of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This global infrastructure development strategy will boost sustainable world trade, raise nations from poverty and increase international co-operation to a new high level unseen in the past.

The BRI was put forward by President Xi Jinping just over eight years ago. An initiative that aims to build a trade, investment and infrastructure network connecting Asia with other parts of the world, initially along the ancient Silk Road trade route. Since its inception, a total of over 173 countries and international organisations have signed more than 200 co-operative agreements with China under the BRI. Cumulative trade between China and its partners exceeds $9.2 trillion and direct investment more than $130 billion.

Beneficial

The scope of the mutually beneficial initiative extends far and wide. In addition to its transcontinental route, a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road includes sea lanes linking China to SE Asia, the South Pacific region, the Middle East and the east coast of Africa.

Further afield, a number of countries in South America, including Argentina, have signed memorandums of intent. The socialist countries are partners in the project. The BRI aims to improve co-ordination, expand economic development, extend infrastructure connectivity and strengthen financial strategies. Importantly, it will connect more people and build trust, understanding and friendship. A typical project has been the recently opened China–Laos high speed railway. An important transport artery that will provide direct links between the land-locked country and Chinese cities and ports, including the opportunity to run goods trains to Europe. The impact of the BRI has been to provide opportunities in many areas including, the Middle East and Africa, which have until recently been regarded as suppliers of commodities. They are empowered to embark upon independent development, free from US diktat.

Rebuild

Syria has now joined the BRI and will have a chance to rebuild itself amidst continued aggression and sanctions from greedy immoral Western States. Syria was in ancient times a part of the original Silk Road.Another new and important development is the close partnership established between China and Russia. It is a win–win situation for both countries. Russia will have a guaranteed market for its oil and gas, plus important opportunities to sell high-tech products. China will be able to invest in Russia and export manufactured goods.

Russia has given full support to the One China policy, and China fully supports Russian efforts to halt the eastward expansion of NATO.

The socialist countries have been in the front-line of US interference and aggression as they resist attempts to undermine them. Countries such as Cuba have been able to avoid the capitalist crisis but have to suffer economic sanctions from the USA at a time when they are battling COVID‑19 and a loss of tourist trade. But they have a very good friend in China.

DPRK

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), in particular, has shown the possibility of building an advanced socialist economy in the face of US-inspired sanctions.

It caters for the economic, social and cultural needs of its people on the basis of self-reliance with no concessions to capitalist institutions.

China’s trade initiatives, along with mutual assistance, will play an important role in increasing the GDPs of the developing world and overcoming the effects of the Covid pandemic. The days of imperialist exploitation are surely numbered.

It is the socialist countries that will be able to help the world recover, with fair trade and respect based upon full socialist principles.