As the world is undergoing the greatest changes in a century, China needs to work with other countries to explore a broader space for cooperation and deepen cooperation with each other. To this end, China actively promotes the construction of free trade agreements. However, the so-called “China Threat Theory” and “China’s Neo-colonialism Theory” have been widely heard. Based on Marx’s international axiology, this paper selects the panel data of 134 countries or regions in the world from 2000 to 2018 and builds an index of international unequal exchange between countries and China, to test the impact of signing free trade agreements with China on international unequal exchange. Then, compared with the United States, Japan, Brazil and Russia, this paper refutes the above-mentioned adverse remarks against China.
The results show that the signing of free trade agreements with China significantly reduces the degree of international unequal exchange with China. Specifically, compared to countries or regions that have not signed free trade agreements with China, the index of international unequal exchange between countries or regions that have signed free trade agreements with China has decreased by 23.07%. This effect is mainly reflected in countries that have less labor time per unit value commodity than China. The result is still robust after changing the measurement method of core variables, adopting weak endogenous samples, and conducting the parallel trend test and placebo test. In terms of the mechanism, this effect is due to the fact that signing free trade agreements with China can significantly improve the trade scale between the country and China, and reduce the difference in the types of import and export goods between the country and China. Further, this paper compares the effect of China with that of the United States, Japan, Brazil and Russia, and finds that the effect of free trade agreements on alleviating the degree of international unequal exchange is not universal and varies from country to country. The effect of signing free trade agreements with China on alleviating the degree of international unequal exchange is greater than that of other four countries. The findings of this paper effectively refute the viewpoints of “China Threat Theory” and “China’s Neo-colonialism Theory”.
Therefore, in the context of opening to the outside world and deepening international cooperation in the future, China needs to do the following aspects:（1）Strengthen the communication with other countries in concept and cognition, and actively transmit the Chinese voice to the world.（2）Actively explore win-win cooperation schemes and promote the construction of high-level free trade agreements.（3）Strengthen technical cooperation and promote coordinated development with trading partners.