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Economic Crossfire: US-China Tensions and Pakistan’s Path


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The escalating trade tensions between the United States and China have cast a long shadow over global trade and investment, reshaping dynamics and prompting significant realignments. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricate implications of these tensions, with a specific focus on their impact on trade relocation, financial factors, investment, and the broader ramifications for Pakistan.


Trade Relocation Dynamics:

The imposition of tariffs by the US on a significant portion of its imports from China, peaking at over 60% with tariffs often set at 25%, marked a pivotal moment in trade relations.

Between 2017 and 2022, US imports from China in tariffed goods experienced a notable decline of 12.5%, while imports from alternative sources surged, particularly in sectors with high financial dependence.

Sectors heavily reliant on financial resources, such as technology and manufacturing, bore the brunt of the trade realignment.


Financial Factors at Play:

Seizing market share in sectors vacated by China necessitated ramping up production, entailing significant upfront costs, particularly in sectors with elevated financial dependence.

Countries endowed with robust financial development, such as the United States and European nations, gained a competitive edge in capturing market share, leveraging their comparative advantages in technology and innovation.

Financial frictions, including access to credit and capital, emerged as pivotal determinants influencing trade flows amidst the shifting dynamics, posing challenges for emerging economies like Pakistan.


Impact on Investment Landscape:

Beyond the direct impact of trade restrictions, policy uncertainty surrounding trade affairs impeded economic activity, prompting firms to adopt a cautious stance on hiring and investments.

New entrants into markets deferred their plans, exacerbating the slowdown in economic dynamism and hindering job creation.

The IMF’s analysis revealed a tangible reduction in investments by approximately 3.5% two years after the onset of the 2018 US-China trade tensions, posing challenges for emerging markets like Pakistan reliant on foreign investment for economic growth.

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Global Ramifications and Implications for Pakistan:

The IMF’s projections underscore the potential for global tensions to disrupt overseas investments, potentially culminating in a long-term erosion of approximately 2% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Pakistan, as a developing economy, is particularly vulnerable to the ripple effects of US-China trade tensions. The country’s export-oriented industries, such as textiles and manufacturing, face challenges due to disruptions in global supply chains and reduced demand from key trading partners.

Moreover, Pakistan’s reliance on foreign direct investment (FDI) to fuel economic growth and development could be hampered by the prevailing uncertainty and risk aversion in the global investment landscape.

In essence, the ramifications of the US-China tensions extend far beyond bilateral trade skirmishes, permeating into the realm of investment and engendering broader implications for global economic stability, with Pakistan navigating through the complexities as it strives for sustainable growth and prosperity.

By comprehensively understanding the multifaceted impact of these tensions, stakeholders in Pakistan can adopt proactive measures to mitigate risks and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the evolving economic landscape.

News Desk, where most of the News Item edit for THE THINK TANK JOURNAL

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