The implementation of an entry ban for China is part of President Trump’s strategy to help renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, there have been questions raised as to the legality of such a ban. Is it appropriate to ban all goods coming from or going to China? Is the United States taking sides in favor of specific industries in China?
There were reports that the United States and other western countries imposed some sort of trade restrictions on China long before the country started to open up its economy more. Some of these restrictions included a ban on goods that having components made in other countries. Such limitations were imposed on food products, particularly beef, wheat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and infant formula. The United States didn’t impose any restrictions on goods coming from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
On March 29, the European Commission notified the European Union’s external trade chief that its member states imposing travel restrictions on China should remove those restrictions. The commission also recommended that member states not to participate in bilateral agreements with China that infringe on international freedom of action. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Bulgaria are the EU member states imposing travel restrictions on China. The commission did not specify how it would get the governments to remove these restrictions.
According to Chinese state-owned media, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on August 4, asserting that all flights to and from China would resume after a day of confusion caused by media reports on China’s banning of all flights to Pakistan. The ministry claimed that the ban on flights to Pakistan was a reciprocal measure. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Jiajiao told reporters that, “Zhang Yilai, secretary general of the communist party of China, unexpectedly banned all flights to Pakistan.”
The spokesperson did not mention the names of the airlines or the countries involved. This is contradictory to the claim that the ban was imposed on a “remedy” for the current global economic slowdown. The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia are three of the biggest contributors to the global economy. The downgrading of the China-Korea relations is an attack on the free market and a serious blow to South Korea’s economy.
The move comes just days before the deadline for South Korea’s unification day. The United Nations (UN) released a report that strongly condemned the Chinese government’s move. The report said that the reclusive country is acting like a “powerful military” to intimidate its neighbors. “The repeated announcements of Chinese citizens to seize foreign interests and interfere in sovereign South Korean affairs is inconsistent with the United Nations Charter, the basic principles of international relations and the security interests of its neighbors and the international community at large,” the UN said in a statement. “This shows the Chinese leadership’s continued unwillingness to live up to its obligations and challenge the security consensus on these issues.”
The Chinese government released a strongly worded statement on its website denying any connection between the current dispute and its handling of the airlines. “All flights to China will be suspended until further notice,” the site said. The statement did not address whether the Chinese government ordered the state-owned airline to suspend flights to South Korea. The statement also did not immediately release the names of the airlines, but referred only to the report by the United Nations that described the measures taken by Chinese authorities to prevent the passengers from accessing the Chinese territory.
Travel to China has increased in popularity over the past several years due to the opening of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the growth of cheap flights into Beijing. Travel to China remains a popular choice, especially now that both the United States and European Union have agreed to normalize their trade with China, which is currently the largest trading partner for the US in the world. However, travelers must be aware of potential risks and restrictions related to travel to China.