Is an era of de-globalization on the horizon?

It is not unusual during the campaign season to hear tough rhetoric with regard to relations with China. It is all the more common when the election is being held in a time of slow economic growth and high unemployment. But could the chilly relations between China and the US be a harbinger of de-globalization?

Weekly Standard columnist Irwin Stelzer believes it could be.

One reason to think US-China relations will not heal after November is that American businessmen – who have towed a softer line toward their Asian competitor – are growing weary of what they see as China’s unfair trade practices. Stelzer writes that they are “fed up with restrictions on American companies’ ability to sell their goods in China, and with the persistent theft of their intellectual property—what Bloomberg Businessweek calls “The Great Brain Robbery.” So it has gone virtually silent, removing a key brake on the willingness of any American administration to retaliate.”

Furthermore, the US is no longer the primary agitant as other nations voice their own frustrations.

“Germany has two new reasons for concern. The Chinese government has ordered its bureaucrats to stop buying foreign—mostly German—cars and spend their $13 billion annually on made in China vehicles. This has German auto makers, especially Volkswagen, unhappy, since Audis are the bureaucrats’ vehicle of choice, and they buy 6.5 million vehicles annually,” he writes.

As all three nations face concerns in their respective manufacturing sectors and with demographic challenges, namely the cost of caring for the elderly, tensions will remain raw. But, one wonders, the globalization barn door has been opened and there are few countries who would benefit from trying to shut it.

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