Beijing recently announced an anti-monopoly law which some observers say could work with rules on technology standards, procurement, taxes and patent transfer requirements to give Chinese firms an unfair boost over foreign competitors. It is part of the call by US and other lobbyists for China to open up but at the same time enforce “international” standards. Unfortunately, while improvement is good, the tactic of villifying China does not help. Most obviously it is difficult to call for improvements without being guilty of failures oneself (whether it be competition, trade, nuclear proliferation, energy abuse, …). And it also can make the job of internal advocates of improvement more difficult, as this insightful observation on a global trade forum shows. Commenting on the US criticism of the anti-monopoly law:
While the final draft is significantly less ambitious than previous drafts in introducing competition into the economy, it is only so because the draftsmen have realized that there is really no way any currently existing government entity has the means to tackle the powerful vested interests in the state-run sectors. Thus it reflects a realistic domestic political outlook, something that most western governments do not have in China. Most of the draftsmen are actually just as frustrated as the US is. The thing is that every time the US chides China on domestic reforms, it only makes it more difficult for pro-reform leaders to argue their case since they are branded as some sort of traitors.
It is long overdue that a softer, more conciliatory approach is taken by western nations and organisations in supporting economic and social evolution in China and elsewhere, whether in the field of competition, IP, energy policy, defence policy, agrucultural policy or trade.