- China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is being investigated.
- Some world leaders believe the country covered up the severity of the disease.
- China has denied any wrongdoing.
More world leaders are blaming China for its lackluster handling of the coronavirus crisis, which has led to over 3.5 million infections worldwide. It has been criticized for not being forthright with international health agencies, such as the World Health Organization, and the international community, especially during the early stages.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already called for an investigation into the East Asian nation’s role in the epidemic. China has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Many Americans are also blaming China for its handling of the crisis. According to a Harris Poll held in April, a majority of Democrats and Republicans believe China deliberately failed to reveal the severity of the epidemic.
Only 23 percent of those surveyed see China’s national leader, Xi Jinping, as trustworthy. While Republicans were harsher on measures that should be taken against the Chinese than their Democratic counterparts, anti-China sentiments were similar across the board.
The Trump administration has threatened to seek reparations from the Chinese government for the economic damage caused. CNBC’s Jim Cramer has, however, cautioned that the United States economy might be too fragile at the moment to weather another Sino-US trade war. He has drawn striking similarities to the Great Depression, and said that a tariff increase would accelerate an economic downturn and lead to consequences similar to those experienced in the 1930s when the Great Depression occurred.
“I think it’s really important to recognize that the president now seems to want to raise tariffs with 30 million people unemployed. So there we are: That is 1932. I listen to the president: He acts as if the economy is just doing great, or that it’s going to come right back. But we ought to be careful. There are historical paradigms that are very bad when your economy is doing poorly and you raise tariffs. And I think that the history books have to be open.”
His comments come after Trump, and his top advisors talked of a renewed trade war with China.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently claimed that there is significant evidence linking the coronavirus origin to a lab in Wuhan. Another administration official, Larry Kudlow, who serves as an economic advisor, has said that China will be held accountable for the epidemic. His statement came just a few days after Trump’s announcement indicating that he was debating a tariff imposition on China.
There are unconfirmed allegations that the White House is looking to turbocharge an initiative to take out global supply chains from China. This is in an effort to punish the leadership. “We’ve been working on [reducing the reliance of our supply chains in China] over the last few years but we are now turbo-charging that initiative,” Keith Krach, the undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment told Reuters.
US government agencies are looking to counter China’s dominance in sourcing and manufacturing. A slew of strategies that are currently being considered includes tax incentives.