The world is in an economic war. Norway has chosen the wrong side, the professor said.
It is a poor and isolated country. But after the economic reforms of 1978, China has grown into a great power with the second largest economy in the world. 45 years ago, US GDPGDPThe value of all goods and services produced in a country, usually measured annually 15 times bigger than China. Now only 1.4 times bigger. Until Donald Trump came to power in the United States, the Chinese were rarely challenged.
Some of the steps that have contributed to China’s adventurous growth are hotly contested. Professor Kåre Dahl Martinsen at the Norwegian Defense Academy lists several things that have been pointed at China in recent decades:
- dumping heavily subsidized products on Western markets to stop competition.
- industrial espionage.
- forced transfer of technology from Western companies to Chinese “partners”.
- threats of retaliation against those who make dumping accusations against China.
- complaint training i World Trade OrganizationWorld Trade OrganizationAn international organization for the regulation of trade between countries. (WTO).
- placement of Chinese or pro-Chinese in strategically important positions in international bodies.
China’s incorporation into the WTO should promote democracy in China, the West believes.
It didn’t work like that.
Break the rules to achieve your own goals
Trade is power. Especially if you make someone dependent on you. In the book “Economic war”, Martinsen paints a picture of a great power that is settling. The great power he believes in has been and is willing to break the rules of the game to achieve his goals.
And not least: He criticizes how Norwegian politicians use a very central pillar of Norway’s foreign policy.
WTO on low heat
Kåre Dahl Martinsen believes that trade organization has become a critical battleground in the economic war and that Norway has chosen the wrong side.
In 2019, the US stopped approving new judges in the WTO Court of Appeal. Thus, this appellate body ceases to function, because the appeals process stops. With that, an important tool for resolving conflicts stops working.
– Who is to blame for the fact that the courts did not function as they should after 2019?
– The Norwegian view is because Donald Trump withdrew support for it. I think that’s not true. Barack Obama would do the same. The reason is that the Court of Appeal is taking away a right it does not formally have. Americans reacted to it, quite rightly, believes Martinsen.
Years of waiting
According to the United States, the Court of Appeal is characterized by a lack of qualification requirements and impartiality in the panel of judges. It is also devoid of a system that can sift through cases that are clearly unfounded. For each complaint, a panel of experts is formed, which often takes a year to reach a conclusion. Overall, normally the entire appeals process takes three years.
Martinsen indicated that the US wanted to join Europe in reforms, but there was no response. And without a viable alternative to a weakened WTO, regionalization is intensifying at the expense of free world trade.
– The WTO was created to resolve trade disputes. It is based on the belief that the loser abides by the decision. China hasn’t done that. That is why they face case after case – often they remain silent, fail to implement decisions or appeal to the High Court.
Kåre Dahl Martinsen is concerned with the basis of political values.
– There is a gap between the official policy and what is happening on the ground. Values should guide analysis and guide how policies are implemented. China’s official declarations mean nothing until you see what they actually do.
Norway is also not free, he believes:
– What does the repeated statement mean that human rights are a pillar of Norway’s foreign policy? There isn’t anything. And it’s important that it doesn’t matter when you take a values-based view of politics. Because then you see the gap. If you’re only concerned with strength, that’s fine.
A new world order
– The regionalization of world trade raises questions of value. “Friend supports”“Friend supports”to strengthen trade and supply routes with “friendly” countries to reduce risks. is a new term, used by Janet YellenJanet YellenAmerican economist and professor (b. 1946). Secretary of the Treasury in the United States from 2021.United States Minister of Finance.
China and Russia want a new world order to replace the Western established rules and institutions for political and economic contact between the countries of the world.
Martinsen believes that trade creates interdependence Can promote peace and resolve conflict. But that only applies between countries with the same political foundation.
– There is a lot of negativity to be said about the Western world order, but it is based on several things: It is based on a transparent process, and that all countries are equal. In China’s and Russia’s new systems, that is not the case, he said.
With his head in the sand
– You explained in detail the economic war between the great powers – especially the US/Europe against China/Russia. Has the West woken up? Will the West win?
– The important thing is we don’t lose. The determining factor is whether one manages to maintain economic and industrial advantage. And then smaller countries, like Norway, also play a role, Kåre Dahl Martinsen believes.
He had a lot of Norwegian contact with Chinese business and interests as shortsighted. He blamed politicians.
– We are completely naive to China.
– In China, the Communist Party’s business controls have become so tight that everyone should be aware of what they are getting into. I don’t mean that we should stop doing business with China or dealing with China. But we have to be very aware of who we are dealing with. And it will be difficult if politicians are not open and clear about this, said Martinsen.
Become vulnerable to Chinese trade
Chinese scholar, writer and historian Torbjørn Færøvik believes that China has abused the trust of the international community and gone easy on itself.
– One of the most striking things about China is how small and vindictive it acts towards small countries, he said. Færøvik pointed out that China’s leaders cannot tolerate being challenged on human rights and are happy to respond with punitive economic measures.
– That’s why it’s so important to avoid the Norwegian economy being entwined into the Chinese economy. The more we trade with China, the more vulnerable we become. I believe that this view is now starting to gain traction domestically, and after much back and forth, the government has put the free trade negotiations on hold. It would be even better if the government ended the negotiations once and for all.
The Chinese embassy responds to “bias and misunderstanding” among professionals who comment about China. They categorically deny that China has violated any rules in its relationship with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“China respects and implements the decisions made by the WTO, and actively acts to defend its rules-based multilateral trading system and its authority,” the statement said.
At the same time, the embassy accused certain countries of clinging to Cold War thinking and provoking a “disconnection”. On the one hand, these countries call for fair competition at the same time as they use “extensive and discriminatory subsidies to ensure the competitive advantage of their domestic industries”, the embassy believes.
At the same time, Norway was invited to cooperate with China in the world economy to “protect free and fair trade, promote openness and cooperation”.
The article has been updated with comments from the Chinese Embassy.
This issue was updated on Tuesday January 31st at 12:57 pm
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