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A high-profile United States trade delegation appears to have returned empty-handed from its mission in China.The Americans pushed for a wholesale remaking of China's industrial policies and intellectual property rules, while asking China's government to refrain from any action against Trump's proposed unilateral tariffs against Chinese exports.China, in particular, would become more "Western" in the way that it manages its economy.There are good reasons for China – and other economies – to resist the pressure to conform to a mold imposed on them by U.S. export lobbies. Those who derisively call China a "trade cheat" should ponder whether China would have been able to diversify its economy and grow as rapidly if it had become a member of the WTO before 2001, or if it had slavishly applied WTO rules since then.In the 19th century, the U.S. was in the same position in relation to the technological leader of the time, Britain, as China is today vis-a-vis the U.S. And the U.S. had as much regard for British industrialists' trade secrets as China has today for American intellectual property rights.
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