This, of course, is a coincidence – when the American “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act ” (in Xinjiang, China) came into force on Tuesday, and in a couple of days the same China will organize the next, 14th BRICS summit, from which quite a lot is expected.
That is, someone could assume that it is now beneficial for the United States to make a couple of enticing gestures towards Beijing in order to prevent it from getting even closer to Russia and to dissuade it from breaking a few more elements of the sanctions regime against our country. But where is it. It seems that America is deliberately bringing Moscow and Beijing closer, forcing them to actively create an alternative world economy, and even involving the largest countries – the leaders of the developing world.
We are talking about the BRICS members ( Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). About them and about what kind of summit is planned for this week – a little later. First, about what US sanctions have just been put in place against China.
The act (that is, the law passed by Congress) was signed by President Joe Biden on December 23 last year, its entry into force today is an automatic thing. Meanwhile, a strategy (instruction) for its implementation, developed by the Department of Homeland Security, appeared. So the overall picture of how things will look is pretty clear today.
Namely: the customs authorities must proceed from the presumption that any goods imported into the United States, wholly or partially manufactured in Xinjiang, are created using forced labor. The importer will have to prove that this is not the case in this case. Otherwise, the goods will be taken away, arrested, at best, returned back. And note this “in whole or in part”: the product can be from any province of China, but it does have components or raw materials.
We are talking primarily about cotton and solar panels. As for the first, estimates are different, up to the fact that 80 percent of Chinese cotton products contain yarn from Xinjiang, this climatic analogue of Uzbekistan or Egypt. Solar panels – there is no such monopoly, but something close can be traced. And let’s not forget that Xinjiang produces many other things, and of the highest technological level.
We have said time and again that the horror story about the “slave labor” of the Uyghurs – a Chinese national minority – does not even try to be plausible. This is a phantom that has nothing to do with reality at all. But let’s look at the first and obvious possible outcome of this package of sanctions against China. The result could have turned out (if the sanctions had worked) as follows: it was the Uyghur population of Xinjiang that would have been its first victim, having lost an important source of income. And then this population could, in desperation, begin to listen again to the preachers of jihad and terror, which Xinjiang seemed to get rid of a few years ago. One can imagine the reaction of the Chinese majority in Xinjiang, as well as other Chinese throughout the country.
That is, we have before us the American villainy aimed at undermining China. But it’s also American stupidity. The fact is that at the same time America’s economic rulers, such as Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, started talking about the need to abolish the customs tariffs imposed by the previous administration on imports of Chinese goods. For a simple reason: they are not undermining China, but America, contributing to the frenzied growth of inflation there. Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have been talking about lowering these tariffs for some time.
You and I are used to talking about how endless packages of sanctions against Russia turned out to be our most terrible weapon against the United States and other Western countries. And we know less that China has exactly the same situation, sanctions against which – without plausible reasons – were introduced almost more than against Russia. And the Chinese are also well aware that these sanctions are their strongest weapon against the West. We hear that “Putin’s inflation” is choking America, while the Chinese hear that it did not start in 2022 and is called China’s.
But when the American authorities try to remove some of the sanctions with one hand, and introduce new ones with the other, this is already a severe case of a split personality. Collective, in this case. And there is no point in seriously hoping for the awakening of the Western mind. Moreover, many other countries are also observing this collapse of logic, hoping that it is possible to build collective mechanisms to counter the sanctions idiocy. From which prices are rising all over the world for oil and gas, grain, and after them for everything else – yes, at least for cotton clothes (about 20 percent of which in the world are produced in China). That is, with each new attack of sanctions, America breeds its opponents around the world and cannot help itself.
And here we have the plot of the upcoming BRICS summit. It can get pretty interesting. Its organizers – the chairing country, that is, China – greatly expanded the program, having preceded the summit as such with a business forum and after the summit also arranged a “high-level dialogue on global development.” This means that there will be many more participants in the discussions than the top five leaders of the participating countries. The question is what will be discussed and what will be decided.
It is known that the main merit of the BRICS is the long and gradual building of an alternative financial system to the Western one. It seems that now this system has a chance to pass the test in combat. The fact is that it is needed not by itself, but as a way to permanently break the mechanism of Western sanctions, or rather, their impact on the rest of the world. Dollar or euro settlements allow the West to control the flow of goods and sometimes even block them, you need to get away from them, but even settlements in national currencies solve only part of the problem.
The main problem is, of course, “secondary sanctions”, when a company from any country that buys, say, the mentioned Xinjiang cotton, can be subjected to repression if it also does business with the West. Then her assets in the US or another Western country can simply be legally stolen. As a result, a situation has been created where the whole world hates sanctions (against Russia, China, whatever), because they lead, as they do today, to hunger and inflation. It remains to figure out how to break them.
From year to year, BRICS members adopt declarations where any sanctions other than those imposed by the UN are designated as illegal. But then, we repeat, declarations – but what about actions? It remains to be seen what will happen on this part at the upcoming Beijing summit, which will include – as participants or guests – countries that have long dreamed that sanctions would remain the crazy fun of only a small group of states that decided to commit economic suicide.