SubscribeSign in
How Not to Win Allies and Influence Geopolitics
China’s Self-Defeating Economic Statecraft
By
Audrye Wong

May/June 2021
Dan Bejar
China, it is often said, has mastered the art of economic statecraft. Observers routinely worry that by throwing around its ever-growing economic weight, the country is managing to buy goodwill and influence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has exploited its dominance of manufacturing supply chains to win favor by donating masks and now vaccines to foreign countries. And it has long used unfair state subsidies to tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies.
Beijing has also weaponized its expanding trade relations. China overtook the United States as the top global trader in 2013, and it is now the leading source of imports for about 35 countries and the top destination of exports for about 25 countries. The Chinese government has not hesitated to leverage access to its consumer market to pressure foreign governments and firms to obey its wishes. In 2019, for example, it canceled the visit of a trade delegation to Sweden after a Swedish literary association awarded a prize to a detained Chinese-born bookseller. The following year, China retaliated against Australia’s calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic by imposing tariffs on a range of Australian products. Many fear that such gambits are only
Finish reading this article for free.
Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.
In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.
Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.
Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.
AUDRYE WONG is Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.
MORE BY AUDRYE WONG
More:China Globalization Political EconomyTrade
Recommended Articles
How the WTO Changed China
The Mixed Legacy of Economic Engagement
Yeling Tan
The World China Wants
How Power Will—and Won’t—Reshape Chinese Ambitions
Rana Mitter
GET THE MAGAZINE
Save up to 55%
on Foreign Affairs magazine!
Subscribe
FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Weekly Newsletter
Get in-depth analysis delivered right to your inbox
ABOUT
CONTACT
SUBSCRIPTION
FOLLOW
GRADUATE SCHOOL FORUM
From the
publishers of
Foreign Affairs
The Most:
RecentSharedViewed
Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial Turns Up Pressure on Nigerian Government
Spotlight on Japan Fall 2020
by Author:Sheila A. Smith
Maybe Tunisians Never Wanted Democracy
by Steven A. Cook
Published by the Council on Foreign Relations
Privacy Policy Terms of Use
©2021 Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.
Subscribe for unrestricted access.
Explore Current Issue Archive Books & Reviews Anthologies Newsletters Search Subscribe
Trade Wars May/June 2021 01 Globalization’s Coming Golden Age 02 Can Trade Work for Workers? 03 The Price of Nostalgia 04 How Not to Win Allies and Influence Geopolitics 05 Data Is Power