back to article Last week's US export controls could mark start of trade war

Nvidia believes it will not be affected by the latest US controls on technology, if only because it is already under similar restrictions. However, the effects on Chinese companies could be dramatic amid fears of a protracted trade war. The sweeping new measures covering technology exports to China announced on Friday appear …

  1. VoiceOfTruth

    The trade war is just the start

    There have been a couple of hundred or so empires throughout history. It's a useful statistic to know, because all of them came to an end sooner or later. While past history is no prediction for the future, if 200 empires have collapsed, it is not unlikely that number 201 will do the same. No doubt each one thought it was unique. This is the same conceit that America has when it uses the word "exceptionalism" to describe itself.

    We are in the latter stages of the American empire. The American empire was already building before WW2 and expanded very rapidly afterwards. The USA is now trying to prevent a competitor from rising. It has tried arguing, it has tried propaganda (the CIA has a program to insert pro-American stories in the "free" press throughout the world), it has tried restricting trade, it has tried sanctions. We know what comes next. It is trying to sow discord in China's neighbours.

    But the USA will collapse by itself. It doesn't need a peer competitor. The thing that will destroy the USA is debt. Some lunatics think they can print money forever, that the economy will only grow, that the American "exceptionalism" will always prevail. Sooner or later the bill comes in. The party will come to an end and there will be a huge headache.

    The sanctions that the USA already has in place against whoever it feels like, and so called secondary sanctions (AKA threats), have directly harmed other so-called allied countries' economies. We know what it is like to be in the American camp. Many countries, friendly towards the USA, are not following these sanctions with glee as it is harms them. These countries have no particular quarrel with America's "enemies".

    The USA will not go down without a fight, and it will fight dirty. But it will go down like the other empires. It will remain powerful but not what it once was.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The trade war is just the start

      Nonsense.

      The US's debt is denominated in...US dollars.

      Take it back to the fundamental roots of what FIAT money actually means.

      The US has effectively said to China "Hey, send us stuff, and you can have this piece of paper that we'll honour at some point in the future. Oh and by honour it, we mean we'll give you another piece of paper that you can use only in the US".

      Their loans are denominated in dollars. The US can print as many dollars as it damned well pleases. They only way the US can't pay that debt is if it chooses not to. And if the US gives china loads of dollars, what re they going to buy with them? Either products denominated in dollars or stuff from the US.

      So the US absolutely CAN print its way out of debt. That creates a totally different problem, inflation.

      Inflation can be managed. It can be difficult, but it definitely isn't civilisation defining.

      Rome had about 15,000% inflation between 200 and 300AD (and 1,000,000% in Egypt), but the empire lasted another 175/1250 years, depending on whether or not you count the Byzantines. Egypt stayed under Roman/Byzantine control until 641AD.

      So yeah, don't accept that argument at all.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: The trade war is just the start

        >Inflation can be managed. It can be difficult, but it definitely isn't civilisation defining.

        If by 'managed' you mean 'scraping around to see who's assets you can rob' then it might work. Except that the rest of the world seems to be on to us --- dollar hegemony means you lot pay our debts (thank you very much). So we resort to squeezing the population, a process that's likely to enhance the already burgenoning political instability (we've already had a bunch of belt tightening and that plus a generation of "the government's the problem rhetoric isn't endearing the government to the population).

        So yes, we'll contain inflation. It might cost us our society but the money's got their walled communites and private islands so not much of a problem.

        Personally I think all these tariffs and entity lists are self-defeating. They just give the Chinese a clear set of national goals and make it a matter of national pride to achieve them. (I know that if I were Chinese I'd be working my tail off just to give the US the finger.) Its only hubris that makes us thing that they can't live without our permission. Its going to be rude awakening.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      China doesn't hold all that much US debt

      They hold around $1 trillion in US debt, which (unfortunately) is a small percentage of the total. That's about as much as Japan holds, as a point of comparison.

      More importantly the fate of the dollar and the fate of the yuan are one in the same, due to China's linkage between the two. It isn't a hard peg, but it is only allowed to float within a narrow range. China has not had the option of breaking that link without crushing their economy from making the yuan too strong (i.e. their exports become expensive for the rest of the world) Lately their economy has been going in the other direction, and they've actually been defending the yuan on the downside as the dollar gains strength against currencies worldwide. That's a problem for them too, as letting the yuan dip too low makes the inflation they're experiencing worse (yes they buy much of their oil in yuan now instead of dollars, but those contracts require China maintain the peg otherwise the oil is re-priced in dollars...which is why they've been defending that peg on the lower side for months now)

      The US and China have fairly limited options in how they handle each other, and cannot declare an all out economic war because it would be like declaring war on themselves. The US can't sanction China in the way they did Russia for many many reasons, but the biggest is that it would crater the US economy. Likewise China can't hit the US with a trade embargo without sending its own economy into a deep recession - which would almost certainly cost Xi his rule he has been hoping/planning to keep for life.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: China doesn't hold all that much US debt

        Yes, but I upvoted VoiceOfTruth because the only mistake in that post is the comment about debt. Deficit financing and Keynesian policies are mighty fine, much better than the supply-side voodoo economics favoured by right wingers ever since Reagan and Thatcher. None of that is the reason why the US Empire is in decline. Now the China has a modern economy, their size "trumps" the USA. That's all.

  2. Duncan Macdonald

    What a surprise

    The US is trying to cripple other countries to give its own inefficient companies an advantage.

    Not content with there being one potential source of world conflict (Putin) the US is doing its best to create another.

    1. jansaigon
      Go

      Re: What a surprise

      Hi there,

      Obviously the US has a long history of military adventurism, but are you really blaming them for Putins war? He's grabbing oil (or trying to) plain & simple.

      But I opened this comment to ask you about your comment on China actually....

      Yes its true that American Co's are inefficient, as is late stage capitalism (hello Boeing) - Surely Huawei was making gear cheaper than any western counter part.

      Its also been fairly well established that much of the Huawei empire has been built on stolen IP, China having a 'different' view on these things.

      Similar to the difference in how they deal with spies (which every country has) killing 18 of them extra-judiciously during the Obama tenure, while we afford people due process.

      Starting to see a difference? China plays hard ball, and are not some innocent victim.

      Are you going to tell us that the US is 'forcing' China to invade Taiwan? Cause that is the strong implication. Taiwan is doing just fine, and has no interest in being 'reunited'. China could ask their people if they cared to.

      1. commentate2000

        Re: What a surprise

        "Fairly well established" that Huawei stole IP? Maybe 15-20 years ago when they were starting out, but you can't seriously claim they became a global leader in 5G by stealing, because when you're the leader, who do you steal from? Nobody. If anything, other people were probably trying to steal from them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a surprise

          They stole Cisco IOS to became a powerhouse in Network Routers. The heart of the business model is, "steal, copy, plagiarize, pickpocket, and pilfer".

          I am certain the CEO has called a meeting of his top executives telling all of them their their THEFT QUOTAS are now DOUBLED. Anyone found not to be meeting their theft quota will be summarily fired!

          I know many people who had those 1-year jobs at Huawei where they learn everything you know and then fire you the day after! Well the new reality is that these 1-year pump&dump jobs are now going to last only 6 months! Either that or they pump the hapless employees twice as hard to get twice as many trade-secrets per year as they used to get! Yeah, it's that bad.

          Don't for a minute think they earned their position in the market. They stole it, with the help of government subsidies for the spyware CPUs they put on the wire traces of all the circuit boards they manufacture ...

  3. DS999 Silver badge

    Mark the start?

    Pretty sure it started a few years ago when Trump put up some tariffs on Chinese imports.

    This latest action by Biden just marks another stepwise escalation in that ongoing trade war, and Xi is probably trying to calculate what he could do that would hurt the US more than it would hurt his own nation. Sure he has the US economy by the balls due to how much of the worldwide supply chains run through China, and US companies that manufacture their products there. If he squeezes he'd make us squeal.

    The problem for him is that it would hurt his own economy to an even greater extent (percentage wise) during a time when he can ill afford it if he wants to maintain power. China is struggling with below par (for them) economic growth for many reasons - covid lockouts, the same inflation that's everywhere in the world now due to supply chain issues and energy prices, and a real estate debt crisis brewing from all the bad loans local governments have issued - resulting in more and more Chinese citizens refusing to pay their mortgages which will only exacerbate the problem.

    And slowly marching towards him is China's upcoming demographic catastrophe, where the "one child" policy comes home to roost with a massive imbalance in the number of retirees versus working people by 2040.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mark the start?

      It started before - when China entered WTO without actually abiding to its rules fully. China has been hindering competition in China since then.

      USA (not alone, Germany comes to mind too...) waited for far too long because some entities made a lot of money regardless of the foreseeable consequences. Now with Xi Jinping steering fully into authoritarian mode it would be quite silly to give China easy access to all your technology.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Xi is probably trying to calculate what he could do that would hurt ...

      Which would be his basic problem, i.e. "calculate what he could do that would hurt".

      Imagine what China could do if our friend of Tigger instead turned it into a fairly free and more-or-less democratic country ... wins all round, I would think, but almost certainly with China - given its size - at the top of the heap in the not so distant future.

      But then maybe a win for China-actual is not what Tigger's friend really wants or cares about.

    3. BOFH in Training

      Re: Mark the start?

      Exactly, trade war was declared a few years back under Trump and Biden hasn't stopped it since he came into power. So this isn't exactly new. It's just that the screws are being tightened abit more now.

      Anyway seems Nvidia has till Sept 2023 before it has to fully stop selling the sanctioned gear.

      https://techcrunch.com/2022/09/02/china-us-nvidia-export-ban/

      So presumably Nvidia is pumping in as much product as possible for the forseeable future before they can't anymore.

      And probably around Sept 2023 or just soon after, Nvidia will be releasing new gen products again.

    4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Mark the start?

      and a real estate debt crisis brewing from all the bad loans local governments have issued - resulting in more and more Chinese citizens refusing to pay their mortgages which will only exacerbate the problem. ... DS999

      There is a similar brewing problem certainly in the UKGBNI with citizens unable to pay their mortgages rather than refusing to pay but whenever national governments guarantee to underwrite bad loan practices in efforts to stimulate and kick start a moribund market and inequitable product, one can only expect the likes of Troubles ahead ....... :-) which The Bank of England governor will usually invariably tell you are just choppy waters to be calmed with temporary measures and snake oil such as further QE and Money Market/Gilt Interventions where one is forced to buy one’s own ruinous debt at failed international auctions to supply the illusion of wealth and success with the delivery of what is in reality just an Incestuous Ponzi Growth, Growth, Growth Scam.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Prepare for Unprecedented Storms and Almighty Floods

        The following Main Stream News report does nothing but support all of the dire straits views aired on this thread today. What does that tell you about what you are being told and learning?

        Bank of England expands bond buying to avoid ‘fire sale’ Central bank was forced to act to protect pension funds after Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget ..... https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/11/bank-of-england-bond-buying-pension-funds-kwasi-kwarteng

        The abiding terrified and rightly justified Establishment fear is that such unusual interventions counter-productively indicate that fire sales are imminent and necessarily inevitable because of a lack of future national 00mph being available with any hastily presented and teleprompted government rhetoric being desperate vapourware and toxic.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Americans sure are terrified of losing their hegemony of power at the top of the world's fiscal feeding chain, but no one stays #1 forever...

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When Advanced Intelligence is MIA/AWOL, All is Quickly Easily Lost to Opposing Competition

    Who else realises US and allied Western government sanctions and critical hardware and proprietary intellectual property transfer weaponisation are SWIFTly guaranteeing the demise of the Western based, monopolistic dollar hegemony via the present rapidly worsening economic situation with overpriced unaffordable basic assets, runaway inflation and soaring crippling interest rate hikes feeding the need for the Magic Money Machine to renew and speed up and spew out more debt to be pumped into the system under the false guise of new rounds of Quantitatively Eased credit for kick-the-can-down-the-road future generational non repayment.

    What's the point of thinking yourself filthy rich and powerful holding sway with billions of dollars if the only product you can purchase is that which you may design but cannot manufacture for affordable home sale oneself, nor sell elsewhere foreign in a ready made rich alien marketplace. It's a Reverse Ponzi and equally as devastatingly destructive as the other Magic Money Machine, the perverse obverse Madoff Mandated Model.

    That is the reality being live broadbandcasted today for further suffering and clown clone drone reinforcement tomorrow. How very odd and sad that you do not or cannot or will not or dare not see it as it crashes into and destroys all that you have earned and learned.

  6. PhilipN Silver badge

    China must be chuffed

    Obviously doing something right.

    And this is how Uncle Sam treats its friends (nuclear weaponry - cough! cough!) so how do you expect them to treat others?

    Exports of the Power Mac G4 to 50 countries was banned more than a couple of decades ago. So what else is new?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like