Negotiation is an integral part of all aspects of a person’s life, from buying a car from someone to international diplomatic affairs. Certainly, the responsibility for unsuccessful negotiation strategies may be high at the international level. It can weaken the country’s position in the market, and in the worst case, it can even lead to war if using too forceful comments.
Since 2018, the trade war between the United States and China has escalated, including mutual taxation, increased duties, and deterioration of market relations. There is a negotiation model (DNA negotiation), which includes six main elements. I believe that it would be effective and interesting to consider this trade conflict in terms of the three elements of the model, namely reciprocity, trust, and power.
For effective international negotiations, one needs to know not only negotiation strategies but also the tendencies and trends of relations and politics. International negotiations are characterized by uncertainty and dynamics, with a constantly changing climate. It also applies to the principle of reciprocity as one of the six elements of the DNA of the negotiation model. Indeed, what was convenient for one side today may become catastrophically unprofitable tomorrow.
In this case, the party will do everything to prevent such a development of events, which may lead to a conflict of interest. A similar thing happened between the United States and China when the first assignments of duties on the parties’ goods took place. No wonder they were based on the principle of reciprocity, though in a negative sense: the other side has to respond to sanctions to avoid an imbalance in market positions.
As one of the DNA negotiation model elements, trust includes the confidence that one side will pursue beneficial rather than exploitative policies toward the other. In my opinion, in this situation, at some point, the substitution of concepts took place. Namely, it seemed to one of the parties that an unfair and expressive policy was being applied towards it. Surely, it is only a small part of the reasons for the conflict, but trust is the main foundation of any relationship and negotiation.
Certainly, after the first actions to aggravate the conflict made by the parties, confidence was undermined. It is well known that the foundation of trust is difficult and time-consuming to build; however, it is easy to destroy. Respectively, trade relations between the United States and China must be based on transparent and honest principles according to the elements of the DNA model.
Power is the third significant element of the DNA concept, through which I would like to consider the conflict between the United States and China. It may seem that the winning party in any negotiations will be the one that has the most power. It is partly true since force is a means by which one can achieve the results of negotiations in any other way except negotiations. In other words, if one side has more power, it may not even negotiate if it does not want to. It can easily use the means with which it operates, such as threats, pressure, blackmail, etc. Naturally, it happens in disguise at the international level, allegedly referring to certain laws and regulations.
A similar problem happened between the United States and China: having the power to enforce duties, taxes, and regulations, countries mutually used force without considering the consequences. In this case, power was used to put pressure on the markets and force the side to make a profitable decision.