Selective Engagement? Future Path for US-China Economic Relations and Its Implications
Journal of World Trade, Volume 55, Issue 2 (April 2021, Forthcoming)
21 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 6, 2020
The US-China economic interactions will have profound ramifications for the world. The article explores the following questions: what is the path forward for US-China economic interactions? What are its implications? It argues that selective engagement is the possible future path for US-China economic interactions. Selective engagement involves selective focuses, which currently are an unprecedented emphasis on market access, and delegalized implementation. Selective engagement contrasts sharply with deep free trade agreements that focus on regulatory disciplines and legalized dispute settlement. Selective engagement carries profound implications, ranging from rule vacuum and inconsistency, increased protection and economic disintegration, to the marginalization of multilateralism. Essentially, selective engagement is a “different animal” from previous trade practices, and could be a game changer in international economic order. The US-China interaction is highly mutable, and selective engagement may change over time.
Keywords: selective engagement, trade war, US-China Phase One agreement, free trade agreements, the Belt and Road Initiative
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