Will China’s trade war with the US end like that of Japan in the 1980s?

20世纪80年代的美日贸易战

2019/05/13 23:19
对照中文英文原文
预计中美贸易战的结果将与20世纪80年代和90年代日本的经历大不相同,因为中国对美国的依赖程度相对较低,并且从日本的经验中吸取了教训。

The outcome of the US-China trade war is anticipated to be quite different from the experience of Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, due to China’s relatively lower dependence on the US and having learned from the Japanese experience.

预计美中贸易战的结果将与20世纪80年代和90年代日本的经历大不相同,因为中国对美国的依赖程度相对较低,并且从日本的经验中吸取了教训。

The US has been criticising China for its unfair trade practices and currency manipulation, which are strikingly similar to the US-Japan disputes in the 1980s and 1990s. The US criticised Japan for its large current account surplus, which resulted in long intense trade negotiations between the two governments, and a broad range of economic policies to reduce Japan’s excess savings. With a bit of hindsight, the US arguably successfully contained Japan’s rising momentum, and adapted itself to the new economic environment. With this background, the important question is whether China will have a similar fate as Japan, once the US-China trade disputes are done. Our take is definitively no.

美国一直在批评中国的不公平贸易行为和货币操纵,这与1980年代和1990年代的美日争端非常相似。美国批评日本的巨额经常账户盈余,导致两国政府之间长期激烈的贸易谈判,以及旨在减少日本超额储蓄的广泛经济政策。通过一些事后的想法,美国可以说成功地遏制了日本的上升势头,并适应了新的经济环境。在此背景下,重要的问题是,一旦美中贸易争端完成,中国是否会有与日本相似的命运。我们的看法肯定是否定的。

In the big picture, Japan and China challenged the US hegemony at very different stages of their economic development. Arguably, Japan faced pressure from the US when it was close to its economic peak with an increasingly ageing population, and stagnant labour productivity. On the other hand, China’s GDP per capita was still small compared to the US, with a much younger population. Furthermore, China’s labour productivity has been improving rapidly, on the back of larger investments in manufacturing and infrastructure. In addition, while still at an early stage of economic development, China’s economic size is considerably larger than Japan at its peak, and takes up a significantly larger export share worldwide. Therefore, as China continues to climb up the technology ladder, its presence in the global economy is anticipated to increase, further challenging the US. In light of this, the outcome of the US-China trade war is anticipated to be quite different from the experience Japan had, not to mention China is less dependent on the US than Japan was, both politically and economically.

从总体上看,日本和中国在经济发展的不同阶段挑战美国的霸权。可以说,随着人口日益老龄化和劳动生产率停滞,日本接近经济高峰时,面临来自美国的压力。另一方面,与美国相比,中国的人均国内生产总值仍然很小,人口更年轻。此外,在制造业和基础设施投资增加的背景下,中国的劳动生产率一直在快速提高。此外,虽然仍处于经济发展的早期阶段,但中国的经济规模远远超过日本的峰值,并在全球范围内占据了更大的出口份额。因此,随着中国继续攀升技术阶梯,预计其在全球经济中的存在将增加,进一步挑战美国。有鉴于此,预计美中贸易战的结果将与日本的经历大不相同,更不用说中国在政治和经济上对日本的依赖程度低于日本。

Arguably, Japan was an easy target for US bashing. After the second world war, Japan has been both politically and economically dependent on the US, resulting in limited bargaining power to counteract the US. Being less dependent on the US, China is in a better position to resist US pressure to adjust its economic policies in order to create demand for US products. This was especially the case for the exchange rate (with a massive appreciation of the yen), and a lax monetary policy to create more import demand from Japan. We should not expect China to follow Japan’s ‘forced’ exchange rate and monetary policy, as a strong renminbi could be the nail in the coffin for China’s structurally weaker exports and rising wages. What’s more, while strong domestic demand could generate imports from the US, excessive policy measures to stimulate growth could lead to an overly lax monetary policy, potentially feeding an asset price bubble, easily aggravated by China’s ageing trends in major cities.

可以说,日本是美国抨击的轻松目标。第二次世界大战后,日本在政治上和经济上都依赖美国,导致对抗美国的议价能力有限。由于减少对美国的依赖,中国更有能力抵制美国调整经济政策的压力,以创造对美国产品的需求。尤其是汇率(日元大幅升值)和宽松的货币政策以增加日本的进口需求。我们不应指望中国遵循日本的“强制”汇率和货币政策,因为强大的人民币可能成为中国出口结构疲软和工资上涨的关键一击。更重要的是,虽然强劲的国内需求可能会从美国产生进口,但刺激经济增长的过度政策措施可能会导致过度宽松的货币政策,可能会助长资产价格泡沫,而中国主要城市的老龄化趋势也会轻易加剧。

Another important lesson relates to Japan’s downplaying of its strong industrial policy, by accepting an increase of US semiconductor imports, effectively reducing the competitiveness of Japan’s own semiconductor industry. Similar lessons can be learned from Japan’s auto industry. As the Chinese government has more control over its economy than the Japanese, the US could become more demanding of China under the Trump administration.

另一个重要的教训是日本淡化其强大的产业政策,接受美国半导体进口的增加,有效地降低了日本半导体产业的竞争力。从日本的汽车工业可以学到类似的经验教训。由于中国政府对经济的控制程度高于日本,因此特朗普政府对美国的要求可能会更高。

Government intervention in the economy is a double-edged sword, as the US-Japan trade dispute revealed. On the one hand, it can support the development of strategic sectors, such as semiconductors. On the other hand, numerical import targets could reduce the county’s competitiveness, as revealed by the dismal fate of the Japanese sector after the US-Japan Semiconductor Agreement in 1986. While the private sector could respond to the crisis more effectively, as the Japanese auto companies did by increasing foreign investments in the US, state ownership of Chinese companies could pose challenges for adapting to a changing economic environment.

美日贸易争端显示,政府对经济的干预是一把双刃剑。一方面,它可以支持半导体等战略部门的发展。另一方面,数字化进口目标可能会降低该县的竞争力,正如1986年美日半导体协议之后日本相关行业的惨淡命运所揭示的那样。虽然私营部门可以更有效地应对危机,但日本汽车公司通过增加在美国的外国投资来做到这一点,中国公司的国家所有权可能会对适应不断变化的经济环境构成挑战。

All in all, with less dependence on the US, China is in a better position than Japan to resist adjusting its economic policies to meet US demand, thereby avoiding Japan’s dismal economic performance. While the government can support strategically important sectors to win global market shares, it should avoid numerical import targets, as they effectively reduced the competitiveness of the Japanese semiconductor companies. Furthermore, China should not follow Japan’s ‘forced’ exchange rate and monetary policy. A stronger renminbi could reduce foreign direct investment into China, and policy measures to stimulate growth could lead to an overly lax monetary policy, potentially feeding an asset price bubble, as experienced in Japan.

总而言之,由于对美国的依赖程度较低,中国在抵制调整经济政策以满足美国需求方面处于比日本更有利的地位,从而避免了日本惨淡的经济表现。虽然政府可以支持具有战略意义的重要部门以赢得全球市场份额,但它应该避免数字化进口目标,因为它们曾经有效地降低了日本半导体公司的竞争力。此外,中国不应该遵循日本的“强制”汇率和货币政策。人民币升值可能会减少对中国的外国直接投资,刺激经济增长的政策措施可能会导致过度宽松的货币政策,这可能会助长资产价格泡沫,就像日本经历的那样。

Because China is at an earlier stage of economic development, it is expected to challenge the US hegemony for an extended period of time. Therefore, the US-China trade war could last longer than the one with Japan. With China’s growth prospects still relatively solid –  it will soon overtake the US economy in size and it does not depend on the US militarily – China will likely challenge US pressure in the ongoing negotiations for a settlement to the trade war. This also means that any deal will only be temporary, as the US will not be able to contain China as easily as it contained Japan.

由于中国处于经济发展的早期阶段,预计将在很长一段时间内挑战美国的霸权。因此,美中贸易战的持续时间可能超过日本的贸易战。随着中国的增长前景仍然相对稳固 - 它将很快超过美国经济规模而且不依赖于美国的军事力量 - 中国可能会在正在进行的贸易战解决谈判中挑战美国的压力。这也意味着任何交易都只是暂时的,因为美国不会像日本那样容易地控制中国。

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