China Says India’s FDI Policy Is Discriminatory; Here’s Why Its Claim Is Hypocritical

Karan Bhasin

Apr 20, 2020, 07:03 PM | Updated Apr 21, 2020, 11:42 AM IST

 Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • China calling India’s FDI policy as discriminatory reeks of hypocrisy and legitimises the action taken by the Indian government to protect its interests.
  • The rules of the game have changed substantially ever since the world started the process of global integration. Tariff walls were brought down, global trade emerged and global inequality (and prosperity) started to reduce.

    Indeed, in the initial years, it appeared that we had found a solution – or rather the evidence of poor countries catching up to richer ones and that there was hope of eradication of poverty. But, then things changed as some countries started to manipulate the system and follow a policy of shifting growth rather than one of creating growth.

    China has slammed India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to be discriminatory after India restricted investment by neighbours that shared a land border with India.

    However, such a statement reeks of hypocrisy and legitimises the action taken by the Indian government to protect its interests, both strategic and economic.

    The approach to profit from a calamity that was a direct consequence of a failure of a non-transparent regime to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic or at the least, warn the global community should indeed result in global powers recognising the approach adopted by them in the past.

    As far as discrimination is concerned, China has been termed as a currency manipulator by several countries, including the United States.

    The approach to manipulate their currency is discriminatory as it artificially makes their products affordable and this comes at the cost of other countries.

    Indeed, there are few rules, including the ones set by World Trade Organization (WTO) that have been complied by the country which is single-handedly responsible for breaking the global order of liberalisation and globalisation.

    The recent trade war was a direct outcome of the trade policies practised by China that led to a situation where several supply chains got monopolised by the country.

    The prospects of limiting access to their market for US (or even Indian) tech companies by China is also discriminatory along with their excessive use of non-tariff barriers to follow a brute form of mercantilism.

    Moreover, the unequal access that China grants to other countries is also equally discriminatory in nature and the extent of information flow it enjoys by controlling media platforms is also alarming.

    The worst is the degree of openness to foreign capital and it is there where the asymmetries become huge as Chinese continue to invest in other firms even as US firms have limited access to their Chinese counterparts.

    The irony was when Twitter had deleted a Chinese twitter handle and the regime came out criticising the platform for stifling free speech even as China revoked visas of foreign journalists with the intention of containing bad press on the failures of their regime in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The present crisis and some of the actions taken by the non-transparent regime point at the need for the world to take strong cognisance of the policy adopted by them over the last couple of decades.

    Global order can only be stable when every country complies with the rules that have been collectively framed and to enforce them, we need a system of strict penalties on any such violations.

    It is, therefore, not surprising why some companies have filed petitions seeking damages from China due to the economic hardship that the country has brought on to the world.

    There is no political correctness in trying to defend their actions. Definitely not after they have the moral repugnance to take objection to a policy enacted by India, a sovereign state, to protect its interests. Especially when this objection comes from a regime that has consistently discriminated against nearly every country of the world.

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