A Simple Solution

Even if it might be politically difficult and short-term expensive.

Recall that EU member Lithuania expressed support for the Republic of China and in naked retaliation, the People’s Republic of China imposed a nearly complete trade embargo on Lithuania and blocked import of any other EU member’s products that contained Lithuania-originated parts.

Now, a year later, the EU is haling the PRC into the WTO in a suit over that embargo. Be still, my heart.

There’s a better and more effective and permanent solution to this sort of behavior from the PRC.

A year later, Lithuania has learned that it can get along without trade with the PRC, and by that example, so has the EU (and so have the US and non-PRC Asia, come to that).

The solution includes these straightforward steps.

  • The rest of us increase our trade with Lithuania
  • The EU in particular, and the rest of us as well, stop trading with the PRC
  • All of us increase our trade with the RoC

Sadly, the parties involved make such moves politically difficult with their own fear of PRC retaliations. And certainly, through the middle-term, it would be economically expensive to locate and develop alternative markets and to move supply chain steps—from dirt in the ground to component parts to finished products—completely out of the PRC. However, once those transfers are completed, we’d all be better off politically and economically from no longer having our economies dependent on the good offices of an aggressive and acquisitive enemy nation.

The PRC’s behavior toward Lithuania and its attempt to extort Japan through withholding shipments of rare earths to that nation are just two examples of that benefit.

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