With China's economic clout growing rapidly, Americans are accusing Beijing of every offense from currency manipulation to crooked trade policies. None of these charges has much merit, but they have increased the probability of a U.S.-Chinese trade war that would do considerable damage to both sides.
Washington need not worry about China's economic boom, much less respond with protectionism. Although China controls more of the world's exports than ever before, its high-return high-tech industries are dominated by foreign companies. And Chinese firms will not displace them any time soon: Beijing's one-party politics have bred a timid business culture that prevents domestic firms from developing key technologies and keeps them dependent on the West.
In a bid to end its dependence on foreign intellectual property and become a global power in science and technology, China is attempting to foster indigenous innovation. Are the U.S. government and business community right to be worried about threats to free trade and intellectual property rights?