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tv   Discussion Focuses on the U.S.- China Trade Relationship  CSPAN  April 14, 2017 10:25am-11:56am EDT

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with how to do that. it's not from a malintent. it's always from a good intent of believing fiercely that the right answer is what the country needs. and if you can start from there, you accept the logical answer that if it is a person of good will talking to you, there is something in what they're saying to you about their views, their needs, what is worrisome to them. that has justification. >> justice sotomayor spoke last month to law students at stanford university. see her remarks tonight at 8:00 eastern on cspan.
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trade and foreign policy experts talk about u.s./china relations reviewing the recent meeting between president trump and the chinese president. infrastructure investment and currency manipulation. good afternoon, everybody. welcome to the stimson center. it's a beautiful afternoon out there. we're glad you're in here for the time being. we're looking forward to a really good discussion today. i also want to start by sending a welcome to our audience on the live stream, as well as our audience on cspan. i'm ned oleson, i direct the
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center's trade in the 21st century program or trade 21. we established the program to help unpack how the global economy is increasingly the focal point a growing number of both challenges and opportunities on the international stage for countries, for the private sector, for the public interests at large. we also work to shape pathways for government and private sector action. to help trade and investments thrive alongside the public interests. we do this not least through collaboration with a superb group of colleagues here at the stimson center. today's events is really the second in a series we kicked off in february looking at the relationship between the u.s. and china and the asia pacific
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region more generally. then as now, i'll see on display again here today, our colleagues bring, really, a crucial set of complimentary expertise that enables us to take and all com. this work that we're doing, has certainly grown more complex, not to mention more urgent with the election of donald trump as president. nearly three months into his term, whether the quote unquote nationalist agenda will translate into policy remains unclear. now where are the stakes higher than the u.s./china relationship. donald trump and some of his key advisors have targeted china for a slew of what they characterize as unfair practices which they claim have stolen millions of
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u.s. jobs. the rhetoric took something of a turn for the more dramatic, particularly after his election when president elect trump tabled the so-called one china policy alongside trade issues saying it could be a bargaining chip as part of a larger trade and economic negotiation. after some weeks that very tense turn in the relations reached a sort of tenuous thaw, first with a call between president trump and president xi of china and most recently of course, there was the first encounter face to face between the presidents at mar-a-lago this past thursday and friday. we're speaking today right on the heels of that very important
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first meeting. of course, it was changed quite dramatically in its complexion by the u.s. action in syria last week. we'll talk about the effect that that had among other things. in short, i really want us to take up broadly speaking three main questions today. first, what exactly happened at the summit between president trump and president xi on thursday and friday. so far as we know at least. what was discussed and what emerged from those discussions. not to mention, how did that measure up to the expectations going in. second, the so what question, right? why does it matter? what does it mean? for instance, what are the implications for different domestic constituencies here in u.s. and in china. finally, what comes next. you'll notice that these are three sort of progressively more difficult questions to grapple
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with. so we'll let our panelists start with really the relatively easy ones and then venture further into analysis and some speculation as well. i'm happy to say, however, to tackle this we have, i dare say, the best tag team you could possibly put together to speak to these issues. first, to my immediate left, the senior associate with the east asia program here at stimson. she has deep expertise in chinese foreign policy, u.s./china relations generally. she brings us very valuable insights into the thinking of different constituencies within china's government and private sector, alike. incidentally speaking, she just returned on saturday from a short visit to beijing. we might hear a little bit about
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that later on. to her left, bill wrench is a distinguished fellow here, and the former president of the trade council from 2001 to 2016. bill also served as a member of the u.s./china review commission. he previously served as the undersecretary of commerce for export administration under president clinton. a fantastic tag team as i say i'm going to do my best to stay out of the way and see what i think is going to be an interesting discussion here. let's dive right into it. we'll come to the analysis and the sort of score cards in a moment. but to start, let's try to do some brief stock taking and put some facts together coming out of thursday and friday's meeting. we know that in the run up to the meeting, many analysts
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expected the meeting to produce some kind of framework for bilateral relations, u.s./china bilateral relations going forward. substantially speaking, the lead issues were principally north korea and trade and economic relations. let's start with you first if i may. on the institutional framework, what clarity did we get? >> we know that the frameworks that had been utilized in the past eight years under the obama administration seems to be no longer in place. replace that is a new u.s. china dialogue overseen by two presidents. this dialogue has four pillars. there's diplomatic and security
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dialogue, the law enforcement and separate security dialogue and a social dialogue. what has remained unchanged is an exchanges between u.s. and china. the security dialogue joined the chief of staff dialogue. those remain in place. >> a lot of interesting things we could unpack there. we might come back later on to some of the particular tracks within the newly established comprehensive dialogue. for now, let me ask you, actually, bill, just focusing briefly on the economic piece, the economic dialogue, what do we know about its scope? again, just in terms of what was actually, you know, reported publicly. >> well, the answer to that is not much. there don't seem to have been
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any measurable deliverables announced. secretary ross indicated that they had agreed on a 100 day action plan for further action on what appears to be the administration's prime goal here, which is reducing the bilateral deficit. secretary ross didn't provide any -- either any hints as to how they're going to do that or any indication that they had discussed in detail how to do that. but he indicated it will be weigh stations along the way of the 100 days to, i guess, indicate progress. and since 100 days would be, if you start counting on last friday, 100 days is july 16th. they're going to have to get moving pretty fast if they want to see an outcome. trade negotiations, historically take a long time. and i think secretary ross acknowledged that this is a departure from past practice in that it's got a very rapid
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suspense date on it. they haven't really defined the acceptable outcome, either. so it's not clear what they will -- what they -- what will be the satisfactory outcome. in terms of the administration's point of view. there have been some rumors about various specifics that were discussed, but i think i can probably save that for a little bit later. >> fair enough. returning to you, on the north korea issue, what do we understand or what do we know was addressed in that regard? >> well, the outcome on north korea assume also to be quite unclear and blurry to me. that the two sides both signals a search in positions like the u.s. signaled that its willingness to act on north korea which by inference toned down his earlier position to hold china completely responsible and accountable.
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so when u.s. says we understand it creates unique problem for china and challenges and that we would and are prepared to chart our own course, if it's something china has coordinated with us. i think what was signaled is that certain cooperations were certainly discussed during the meeting between xi and trump. there seems to be disagreement for how much china will do and how much cord nation china will be willing to conduct. it's worth important pointing out that xi is unsatisfied or angry with what north korea has b been doing. if you look at the rumored nuclear tests by north korea. if the tests is to happen it will put china in a difficult position. they are almost obligated to
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deliver cooperation on north korea. that brings a lot of uncertainty. >> that rumored test would, again, reportedly or hypothetically occur even in the coming days quite soon, is that right? >> april 15th is a widely speculated day that north korea could have a test. >> it's an anniversary, isn't it? >> it's an anniversary. >> we've moved to the realm of speculation. i'm guilty of crossing that line. that's good. i think we actually have already charned sort of the main points that emerged from the read outs. maybe interesting to note, as a process issue, that to my understanding as of now, there is yet to be any black and white fact sheet or communique or the like to have come out of this meeting either from the u.s.
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side or chinese side respectively or a joint statement. would either of you care to just make brief observations on the -- is that something that's unprecedented, particularly in this relationship, could that have been foreseen given the relative young -- early days of the u.s. administration? how did you find that? >> well, i was surprised. i think we've all been spoiled by the obama administration, which produced endless documents for one of these things, joint statements, separate statements, frequently asked questions. summaries, detailed documents for each of the subject areas that were discussed. and i think there's no reason why it has to be that way. it has been that way during the obama administration. and now it's not.
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one conclusion is they're not going to do that. i don't think there was a detailed fact chesheet on the a visit? the more cynical view would be there is no fact sheet because there's no facts. there's nothing to come out, or if it were it's paltry that people would chuckle. under the circumstances the best thing to do is not produce one. that would be cynical. >> hard not to be cynical. i think from the chinese perspective, since i was in beijing last week, i think the overall assessment in china about the summit is very positive. although, there were issues that the chinese were frowning upon like the announced trump announcement of the air strike against syria that was clearly something that the chinese were not prepared for. but overall, they see this
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summit as something that's aimed at building personal relations between the two leaders and the description of the dialogues were exceedingly positive. they were frank, they were candid. and they were open. and the -- i think from both sides, there is a consensus that the summit somehow set a very constructive tone going forward. and those meetings were positive and productive. but i agree with bill, the measurable concrete deliverables from the summit seems to be missing from the picture. which could be because things will be announced in the next 100 days on the trade front and the cooperation of issues cannot be publicly at nouncnnounced at summit is. >> that's an important observation, in a sense we don't want, i think, to move the goal
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posts here before the summit began there was a lot of speculation, of course, about what's going to happen. and i think both sides were clear in stating that the primary goal of the summit was to establish a good working relationship, good environment, and frank dialogue so that they could -- and establish a framework for further discussions to address more detailed issues that were not planning to address in the, well, roughly 24 hours that the two of them were together. that was stated beforehand very clearly. so what happened, well, that. it appears that they accomplished that. they established the framework. they created a relationship. they seemed to get along. they didn't yell at each other as far as we know. and they presumably had frank exchanges. and, of course, having done that, now of course, everyone is saying say why didn't they do anything real. the answer in part is they told you beforehand they weren't going to do anything real.
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we shouldn't be surprised. on the other hand, it is kind of traditional, particularly with chinese summits, for there to be some concrete deliverables that certainly american presidents look for. it's been generally true that chinese presidents tend to bring something with them. in their bag when they arrive. and this is a case where that seemed not to have happened. >> we want to come back to that in just one moment. let me back up a little bit first and ask before we evaluate the specific substantive items whether they actually, you know, came to fruition or not, how -- to both of you -- how cautious should we be in makie interpretations about these issues, whether it's the possible package of investments, whether it's any kind
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substantive cooperation with north korea. how cautious should we be given how dramatically the u.s. strike in syria changed the dynamic surrounding the meeting and how much it apparently came to the surprise of the chinese delegation? >> well, first of all to follow up on bill's assessment just now about the -- they told us there's not going to be much concrete coming out. that's different from the expectation, president trump has been saying he's going to negotiate with china to strike deals. and also after the meeting, during the first day, he said that i got nothing. absolutely nothing. that automatically almost increases the expectation he has to get something out of the chinese. otherwise how do you show for the -- his favoring negotiation, his ability to strike deals. so when people don't see those
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concrete deliverables, there is a question as for what has been negotiated, what has been agreed upon. how cautious should we be in making interpretations. i think the chinese will deliver in the next 100 days. the specific items remain to be seen. but the chinese understand very well that they need to strike some sort of deals with trump and they made their intention and willingness to work with president trump very clear during the summit. it's a good working relationship and they understand it needs to be substantiated by issues on trade and issues like north korea. >> i'm not sure i'm quite as optimistic about what what's going to happen in 100 days. you don't end up with zero after it. i was struck by the fact. it does seem to me if there had
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been anything delivered, there would have been a tweet. and there would have been a lot of bragging about, see, you know, we've already got it. whatever it is. and the fact that there was no tweet. along those lines and no bragging, i think, suggests that there was nothing delivered. now, my guess is the chinese have thought about this a good deal and there were probably multiple reasons for that, one of which is i think they probably had a discussion about whether trump is someone that the best way to deal with him is to make preemptive concessions. there are times when that's a good idea, it's an act of good faith, a bribe, any number of things. it appears this is a case where they may have decided that's not the right strategy and they didn't make any. will they make some going forward? well, they agreed to a plan.
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it would be unrealistic to assume that at the end of 100 days there would be nothing to report. the issue will be as it always with the chinese -- they're not the only ones, it's the same with the japanese and most people we negotiate with. the gap between the promise and the implementation. i don't have much doubt at the end of the 100 days there will be a plan and a bunch of commitments both sides to take various actions. and then the question will be, watching and waiting to see if anybody really followed up in the time that they're given. >> 100 day plan will produce a plan? >> well, this is trade. if you want to eliminate -- i think even one of the press minions -- one of -- i think secretary ross's policy advisor did a press conference call i
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think last week. maybe two weeks ago and said their goal was to eliminate the trade deficit. i think he was referring to all countries in two years. for those who do trade, the charitable thing to say that's an ambitious goal. if you look to china with $347 billion with goods deficit. less than that but over $300 billion total. two years is san ambitious goal. i don't think at the end of 100 days we can eliminate the deficit. we can have a discussion later if that's a good goal or not. let's assume that's a goal. or at least trim it. the best you're going to get in 100 days i think is some commitments on the chinese side. commitments to do certain actions that presumably will lead to deficit reduction. and there will be a discussion about what those will be.
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there are certain ironies if i could go on for a minute. that just have sort of got me chuckling. you know, in a sense the trump message is very simple to the chinese. sell less, buy more. and that will get the deficit down. how you do that is a complicated question. now the irony here, of course, if you're an authoritarian state in a non-market economy, you can buy less and sell -- you can't sell more, you can buy less because you order people to buy less. sell less. that would be kind of backwards. you can buy more by ordering people to buy more and you can tell your exporters to export somewhere else or not export. of course, the irony of that is this all happened at the very time that china's arguing it's a market economy. and that it's litigating that question in the w-20 against the e.u., that it's also made a complaint against us because we don't treat them as a non-market
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economy. it seems like what trump may be asking him to do is a bunch of things that would prove they're a non-market economy. and they may be reluctant to take argue instead that we ought to let normal macro economic policy run its course. that would suggest, though, there is not going to be a near-term solution for the problem. >> on the 100-day plan again, just -- in the same vein of expectations managements that you both were speaking to in the last few minutes, how advisable is it to announce such a plan without, at least, on the face of it any appearance deliverables or substantial deliverables within reach. maybe one or two expectations, we can note in a moment. but is the idea of announcing such a plan, particularly, you know in the u.s./china context,
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particularly at the rather fr d fraught moment in their relationship a risky proposition? >> well, it depends on what you see as as alternative. today nothing, to not even a plan coming out of the summit. that is certainly unacceptable. so they either have concrete deliverables or say we have a plan to deliver those deliverables. and saying they choose to have this 100-day plan to charter the course. which is a -- which is a pragmatic strategy moving forward. >> bill? >> there is an economist joke about that. says if you're going to announce your intentions, you can announce a date or you can announce a goal. never announce both. because if you announce both, you're doomed. in this case, they announced a date. and that was smart. >> so the early indications, i mentioned, there are some issues
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where agreements on issues related to trade and investment, where some kind of breakthrough might be at hand. yesterday the "financial times" reported that citing both chinese and u.s. officials, they reported that china had offered at the summit -- offered increase market access for first u.s. investments and china's financial services sector. and second, u.s. beef exports to china. it's not clear, at least in my mind, based on the reporting, it's not clear whether those concessions would come with any specific conditions yet. let me ask bill first. how significant would these particular concessions be. and also how surprised would you be if they were put forward by china outside the context of continued negotiations on a
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bilateral investment treaty? >> well, you have to divide them. the beef one -- i mean, they have given that one up before. and the chinese have made that concession last september, and there was no -- i'm not quite sure where the ball is in that particular game. but either they haven't followed up doing the things they said they were going to do or we haven't followed up or both. in other words, it hasn't amounted to anything, but they agreed to accept the beef. so basically, they're giving it away for the second time. and probably trying to get paid twice, which is fine. i mean, that's the standard negotiating tactic. and i think -- i think it's a meaningful -- let me say, that's a meaningful concession. they shut off our beef in '03, because of a mad cow scare. they have retained the ban long beyond there was any scientific basis or health basis for doing. it's been a so point in the relationship for a long time. and the concession comes at a
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time when it will mean a lot to our farmers when prices here are fairly low. so it's -- it's a lot of money and it's significant. the financial institutions one is more interesting. the report that i saw suggested that they -- that was a concession that they were prepared to make, and may have said they were prepared to make. in the context of the bilateral investment treaty negotiations that had been going on in the last administration which are now in limbo. the trump administration has not made a point whether they want to resume those or not. i think the significance of the concession depends a little bit on whether it's inside the context of a negotiation or outside. if it's just a unilateral concession, on its face, it's meaningful, i think. the reality of doing business in china is there's, you know, a whole bunch of ways they can limit your access to the market. and, you know, saying you'll get
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rid of one doesn't mean you're going to get rid of all of them. so it would be hard to say exactly how meaningful this would end up being because it depends on how many other things they're going to do at the same time. there is also the fact that, you know, over time they have had -- been able to develop, certainly on the insurance side, i think less so on the bank side, you know, competent, competitive companies of their own. so entering the insurance market now for foreigners is not -- would not be quite as easy as it would have been ten years ago, had they been able to do it. nevertheless, i think it's -- if it comes by itself, i think it's a significant gesture that clearly means something. and clearly means the chinese want to have a productive and constructive relationship. how much it means in material terms is harder to predict. if it is in the context of the bit, that's a little bit different. because it suggests that they'll
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agree to it only if we can reach agreement on a bit. and there is clearly things they want. they have been really the demanders in the bit, i think more than the americans have. they have a lot of concerns about their fdi coming here. and are concerned about potential restrictions on it. and they would like to see a bit to create, in their view, better rules on that point. in that context, it -- you know, it -- it's a lot less, because we would be giving up something, too, in order to -- in order to obtain it. >> so supposing for the moment that negotiations on the bit -- the bilaterally investment treaty were not to continue any time soon, whether they table them or not, do we have a sense yet of whether this new comprehensive dialogue, particularly the -- i would say both the economic track as well as maybe the cyber security track, would those step in and
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maybe serve as a new venue to take up some of the thorny issues that had stymied progress on the b.i.t.s in the past? for instance, chinese conditions on intellectual property oversights and stewardship, as well as the joint venture conditions? as best we understand, it's the new dialogue mechanism. could it be a new venue for actual meaningful discussions on those issues, as well? >> the door is certainly open. it's an economic dialogue. this is the place to do that. and these are serious issues we have had with the chinese for a long time. i think the uncertainty, in my mind, is what the trump administration objective is going to be. if you talk to the american
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business community about what their problems are in china, they won't tell you that their problems are the bilateral deficit. they'll tell you that their problem really is technology transfer. legal, illegal, licit, illicit, pressured or not. they're under all kinds of pressure of various sorts to surrender what they regard as the crown jewels of their competitiveness. that's what they're most upset about, along with restrictions on their ability to do business there in various forms and also restrictions on their ability to invest there, which is something presumably a b.i. it would address. what's not clear to me is whether this is -- these are going to end up being trump administration objectives in the 100-day plan. if they listen to the american business community, that should be their agenda. and it's not a new agenda. it's well-established. read anything the u.s. chamber of commerce has produced in the last five years, and you'll see
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a whole list of particulars. they're not the only people you can read. both beijing and shanghai have lists of obstacles doing business there. if the issue is just let's get the deficit down, that suggests potentially a different kind of focus in which those things might not happen. but i mean, the premise of your question is exactly right. you know, dialogue that they have -- they seem to envision would certainly allow for that to happen. and i hope it does. >> nevertheless, the u.s. administration during the readout on friday, they did say, as i think, bill, you pointed out earlier on. the high level goal of the 100-day action plan in particular is to -- is to drive up u.s. exports and reduce the bilateral deficit. so they might not be thinking on those terms, which wouldn't be all together surprising.
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eun, did you want to weigh in on the topic, as well? >> i'm fine. >> all right. i've got another one for you. sichuan reported i think on friday or saturday, that president xi had raised -- i'm not sure how best to characterize it. had raised a possible u.s. role in the one belt, one-road initiative. maybe if you want to tell us very briefly what that is first. and then does -- with such an offer or such a move at a state to state level, would it surprise you that that happened? and if it actually happened as reported, what are the prospects for any kind of u.s. role? >> related to what bill was just saying, i think the message that china is trying to send to the united states, we don't have to buy less, but we can certainly both sell more in the case of the initiative. so during the summit, apparently xi told president trump that
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china welcomes the u.s. to participate in the initiative. and we know that a bri -- bri is a massive campaign, composed of infrastructure development, trade facilitation, communications and transportation corridors that china is building all the way to central asia, south east asia, the middle east is another way to eastern europe and europe. so the chinese perception is that this campaign is going to create massive trade opportunities and business opportunities for infrastructure development, for example. this is one issue that the chinese side has emphasized greatly in the discussion where in the assessment about the summit. but it is also notable that the u.s. side has hardly mentioned this in public statements. so this raises interesting questions for what are the possible ways to increase u.s., for example, companies' participation, and related to --
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related export to the countries. but it's also worth noting that this is a proposal made by the chinese. i think the details also depend on the -- depends a lot on the negotiation about specifics. how it could happen. >> i would just remind those of you that follow this stuff probably noticed that larry summers has a column today that appeared in "the post" and other places that touches on this at the end. it's mostly a critique of a variety of practices. but at the end, really says that it's -- i mean, he says it's a mistake to focus on the deficit, which i think we can argue about. but he says, what really is the problem is the united states has sort of seated the soft power game. and he mentions the aaib, the asian infrastructure investment bank. and he mentions the one belt, one road initiative that -- only
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things he could have mentioned. but clearly, what may be going on here is the chinese are embarking on a global outreach campaign of the sort of use of soft power backed up by piles of rmb to try to not only promote economic activity. i think, of course, to their benefit. but also to project chinese power and certainly in the vicinity. they're doing this at the very time that the united states seems to be pulling back. i think the implication, of course, is tpp is a classic example of pullback. but in the president's rhetoric up until this point, you have seen that message conveyed in other areas, as well. so that may be an interesting issue going forward, whether we -- whether the trump administration cares about the use of soft power or not, whether it will -- whether it agrees and will be motivated to
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participate in these projects when they have the opportunity to do so. >> right. and if they -- if they put forward any kind of concerted, thoughtful strategy to engage on a regional basis, as opposed to particularly on the economic fronts, bilateral bye-bye lateral basis, which is the newest part, all we have seen yet, eun, i don't know if you have any followup on that. >> yeah, i think aib is a perfect example in this case. so u.s. has been criticized for not participating in the aib. but when aib was first formulated, there were a lot of questions as for what kind of regulations and what kind of government structures aib will be following and whether the bank will indeed be a -- another chinese policy bank funded primarily by the chinese budget. or it will be a multilateral development bank that follows the setup, international norms.
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so for those things that take time to see what the institution looks like. and for the projects aib has funded so far is probably not going to be a short-term observation. so i think bill is absolutely right. the u.s. faces a question that do you want to join without knowing what it is? and without knowing what is in play there? or do you want to join early on to also help to shape what the rules will look like. >> right. some might say the trump administration's tendency is more transactional. so they don't necessarily take that longer view and aren't willing to invest in the rule-building on a regional basis. bill, you mentioned the column by larry summers today, i think -- correct me if i am wrong. i think one of the issues that he flags as sort of one of the red herrings that the u.s. is pursuing to its detriment, as opposed to, for instance, more robust regional initiatives is
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currency practices. and starting to look ahead now. the u.s. treasury's semi annual currency report is due this friday. also this friday, april 15. secretary in mnuchin, pointed to the forthcoming treasury report. what, bill, do you expect to see in the report this friday, and also if i may, we have recently heard members of the trump cabinet emphasizing what they call currency miss alignment, which they distinguish from currency manipulation. what does currency alignment mean? what might be the administration's intent in adding that kind of concept to the fray? >> there has been a lot of attention focused on this upcoming report. partly or largely because the
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president said that on the first day he's in office, he's going to declare the currency manipulator is now today -- we're pushing day 80, not quite there yet. 77, 78. and that hasn't happened. and not only has it not happened, they have -- they have stopped talking about it. they have adopted the mantra of all preceding administrations, actually, which is any time anybody is asked a -- to comment on a currency issue, they say that's the province of the department of the treasury, go talk to them. and that's the end of the conversation. except minute usualin can't do that and what he's been saying is wait for the report. now it's less than a week away, so we will see. there have been a series of rumors about this. and they are just rumors. the first one was they were trying to figure out a way to change the criteria to allow them to declare china a manipulator and nobody else.
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that rumor faded a few weeks ago. i suspect because they discovered it's mathematically impossible to do that. so the new rumor is exactly what nate was talking about, which is the misalignment, rather than manipulation. i think the difference really is the question of intent. manipulation implies that you are deliberately doing something to maneuver the value of your currency in the direction that you want for whatever your policy purpose is. misalignment is sort of value-neutral. it suggests that currencies are miss aligned. that could be for any reason. it could be because they have manipulated. it could be because the market doesn't recognize the proper value or it could be whatever. so it's a more neutral term. from a legal perspective, of course, it doesn't have the implications that manipulation carries within the statute. if you find somebody a manipulator, then what the president is required to do is
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to seek to negotiate with that party to end the manipulation. now, of course, you can't by u.s. law order the other country to negotiate. so it really only applies to what the u.s. president is supposed to do. if you determine that misalignment is occurring, which i think one could do any time you feel like it, there's no -- there's not a statutory obligation to go seek to have a negotiation. that said, you know, the remedy for these things, you know -- the united states, it's hard for the united states to unilaterally get other countries to adjust the value of their currency. the other country can take steps of its own to influence the value of its own currency. and the obama administration spent a lot of time talking to the -- various -- the
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administration, the xi jinping administration, urging them to adopt macro economic policies, one of which would be to allow for rmb appreciation. i think a lot of economists would argue that to some extent that worked. but not as much as people would like. but that it had an effect. and that to the extent there has been manipulation on the part of china, and i think there was, it's at least manipulation to keep the currency undervalued. that happened a long time ago. and that is not going on now. if anything, if it's being manipulated now, it's to prop it up. not to keep it down. so in a bizarre way, they're doing us a favor. and if we urge them to stop manipulating, it might have not quite the consequence the president intends. i don't know what -- i don't know what they'll predict.
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i don't know what they'll say. they'll probably say misalignment. and there will be a big political hit that goes with it, because there's a lot of people in this country that are focused on the manipulation issue, and can't get beyond that. and then i think they just -- they just move on from there. i don't know. you had a better idea? >> nope. but i agree with you. i think if china gives out manipulations, rmb may as well just depreciate further. and it's exactly the result that we do not want to see. >> turning slightly to a different topic, president trump recently signed an executive order. well, he signed two executive orders related to trade recently. one mandated commerce and the u.s. trade representative's office to conduct a 90-day study of everybody's favorite topic now, bilateral trade deficits. bill, how does that,
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particularly the time line, just -- how does that square with this 100-day action plan? and also, just to throw another wrinkle in there, what about these rumors of another executive order that would target steel and aluminum-dumping? how are they going to put forward all these things and make them sync up together in a way that makes actual cooperation with the chinese side sustainable? >> well, i think the reaction -- the reaction of the one that's already appeared -- let's say the perspective one for a moment. the reaction to the one that's already appeared was largely this is -- this is the nte report. this is the national trade estimates report that coincidentally came out the same day he signed that executive order. for those of you that, you know, don't follow this, the national trade estimates report required by law is an annual report the u.s. trade representative produces that basically lists all the u.s. -- all the barriers
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to trade that the u.s. has identified globally. it's not just about china. it's about, you know, every country where we found a barrier. it comes out every late march, early april. i forget the exact date. there is invariably a rush from -- to acquire it from all the embassies who immediately turn to their country. and do two things. find out what was listed, if anything. and two, count the number of pages, because -- because the news story is always about who got the most ink, which is usually china. these days. it used to be japan. and then, you know, it really provides kind of a road map. if you want -- if you're serious about tackling barriers to trade, there is the road map. most people who have looked at the executive order are hard-pressed to figure out what it is going to come up with that will be different than what the nte report came up with. the difference may be that they probably -- or they seem to want
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to focus on the countries with whom we have the largest bilateral deficit. i think they listed ten. it was not in the order of -- i think secretary ross listed ten. the big four are china, japan, germany and mexico. and then they go on down from there. the nte report is i think -- everybody, or almost everybody. so, you know, it -- but there's the road map. you know, if you want to do something about the bilateral deficit with germany, usgr has already prepared a list of obstacles. so i'm not sure how much new is there. with respect to this prospective order, i think we have to wait and see what it says. one rumor was it's going to end up talking about, you know, finding -- investigating whether or not dumping is occurring. or subsidies are occurring. which they are.
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and then setting up a basis for the administration self-initiating. we have a process now in law for dealing with those problems. and i think people will identify particular things about the process they don't like. but on the whole, i think it functions fairly well and fairly efficiently. and, in fact, it includes a provision that allows the administration to self-initiate cases. so ordering them to do that more is not -- novel. and therefore, it is possible that what you're going to see is another one of these executive orders that will get a lot of pressure -- press attention, but won't actually make any difference from existing authority. focus on steel and aluminum is sensible -- well, from another perspective, because these are areas where there is clearly global overcapacity. and there are areas where not only is there clearly global
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capacity, but it is clearly to china. chinese capacity and steel, for example, is about equal to all of the rest of the world combined. and that's a development that's happened only in the last ten years. it's not -- it's not something that's been building up slowly. there has been a huge increase in capacity, in china and steel. also, in aluminum. i don't think it's quite half the world yet. i don't have that data. we have attempted to tackle the steel problem by -- through getting through the g20, getting a committee set up to deal with overcapacity. which the oecd is running. in fact, they're having a meeting -- either they just had one or are about to have one. this is, i think, a good idea. good for china, actually. and good for us. it puts the problem into a multilateral framework. it's not just about china. it's about everybody. and so the solution won't be just about china. it will be about everybody. that makes it i think easier for
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china to go -- to tell its people, well, yeah. we're going to do something to rationalize our industry, which they know they have to do anyway. but other people are doing the same thing. so we're not -- it's not all about us. it's a nifty way to do it if they can do the same thing in aluminum, that would be a good thing. if your order goes in that direction, i think that would be very constructive. if it looks -- if it just focuses on dumping the subsidies, there is already a ton -- no pun intended -- of steel-dumping and in cases filed -- the firm where i spend the rest of my time, kelly, dry and warren, has filed a number of those. we're familiar with those. and there are also aluminum cases or an aluminum case. so that road has been well -- is being well-traveled already. and i'm not sure how much another executive order would be able to add to it. >> do you have anything to add
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on this one? >> no. >> i want to point out that in a moment i'm going to turn to the audience for questions. so please prepare accordingly, and we'll have a mic -- >> test. >> that's right. you test us, we'll test you. let me ask one or two more, if i may. you and president trump accepted an invitation for president xi to visit china later this -- do i have this right? later this year? did they say later this year? yeah. no dates were announced, though. do you see any chance that could happen before the national congress? >> it -- well, first of all, it depends on when -- not the national congress, but the party's congress is going to happen. october, late october, or early november. so depending on when it happens. in november leaves very little time to prepare for such a
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high-level visit before the end of the year. and december is a very slow time in the united states. christmas. so if it is going to happen, more than likely, it will be before the party's congress. but then that adds to the uncertainty that china will be -- the chinese government will become completely geared up to prepare for the party congress. but other than that, we know that there are multilateral occasions that most likely presidency and president trump will immediate. like the g20 summit. and china will also host a road summit in beijing in may. i don't think anyone anticipated president trump to attend that meeting. so that pretty much leaves time between may and november for such a high-level visit to happen. if it is going to happen. >> do you think they'll do it before the party congress? >> that's what she just said. >> yeah, the party congress -- >> afraid of rocking the boat?
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>> based on the record of this summit, probably not going to rock the boat, right? >> you can't have two in a row where nothing happens. it seems to me, there is going to be genuinely higher expectations for the next one, don't you think? especially if it's after the 100 days. >> especially after the 100 days. but if the party congress happens early, say in early october, then that will leave enough time for october for -- a november visit. which is what i believe the president obama back in 2009 did during the first year of his time. >> interesting. >> i think time has come to go ahead and pivot to some audience questions. if you wouldn't mind, first raise your hand, and then we'll have someone bring a microphone to you. i would ask you first identify yourself and please try to keep your question relatively brief. first, let's start with this gentleman here. >>. >> i'm bill jones from the executive intelligence review. i would like to ask a question.
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the wong ye in his press conference a few days ago indicated that the talks dealt with cooperation on trade, investment and infrastructure. and looking at the infrastructure bit of that, i have seen it in the press, reports during the meeting, that obviously that was touched upon. and, of course, president trump has his $1 trillion that he's trying to get together for infrastructure investment here in the united states. and he recently said people should borrow money now, because interest rates are so low. but i don't think he's going to get to $1 trillion any time soon that way. the chinese, however, have tremendous capacity for infrastructure investment, and a tremendous capability in doing it, as we know, through the beltton road process. the question is, are there too many restrictions? is there a way that they could do that, given the sievous
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issues, given the concerns about state-controlled enterprises. the head of the china investment corporation had said maybe a fund could be set up that we could take some of the money we're putting into treasuries and invest it in an infrastructure fund, which, of course, wouldn't require chinese ownership of that, but simply lending for a certain rate of interest. do you see any possibility? because it seems to me, given all the difficulties with trade, which are not going to be resolved any time soon, as yourself had indicated, this might be a way of creating some kind of a rapport on the economic level, which would allow them more easily to deal with some of the other problems. >> yeah. eun and i were talking about that beforehand. i think we have to kind of different ideas about -- i'm not sure how different they are. we have kind of come from a slightly different perspective. i don't think that -- the short answer is, sure, there are a number of ways to do it.
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sievous is really about ack which combinations. if you're not going to require controlling interest in a company, at least at this point, you don't really have a -- you know, a sievous issue. and if you're building -- even if you -- even if that came up, if you're building infrastructure, which i think of -- i think of as -- i mean, you can define that term multiple ways. but i'm thinking bridges, roads, airports, you know, the usual stuff that people think about. railroads. i -- i'm not sure there is a lot of national security implications there, anyway. i mean, i can -- i can, you know -- i can dream up scenarios where there would be. i mean, this is the same issue, you know, where we're still arguing. thanks to the smithfield acquisition. if bacon is a threat to our security, so could a road be. but you know, i think it's --
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sure. instead of treasuries, they could create -- they could create a fund. and if it were a government fund, i think if -- you know, basically, if the arrangement is simply where they're paying for something to happen -- if they're going to pay for the bridge, then i don't see a lot of complicated implications. i think the politics of this would be the -- whether the strings are, you know -- chinese equipment, chinese technology and chinese workers rather than sort of the acquisition-related question. so, you know, we're going to build a high-speed railroad from l.a. to san francisco. and the chinese say, well, we'll do that for you. and we'll give you -- you know, we'll provide the money in favorable terms. but we're going to build the cars, and we're going to build the trains, and it's going to be all chinese technology. and we'll build the special rail that you need to do this. and it will be chinese steel that builds it.
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and we'll just present it and deliver it. that has a whole other set of implications. most of them political. because the congress is going -- and the president, who has said this many times, is going to say, oh, no, this all has to be american. well, then i think you have to go back to the chinese and say, are you prepared, really, to do what you say you're going to do. infrastructure, if as a condition you have to use american workers, american steel, american technology and american products. and i don't know what their answer would be. you might have a better idea. >> the chinese answer would be well, what do we get out of it? do we get an exceedingly good relationship with the united states -- >> a grateful nation. >> yep. the winning solution, right? and the chinese certainly would not just do charity work here in the united states. so when they look at business opportunities, it has to be win-win. meaning that u.s. gain something from it, but the chinese are simply not going to lose things from it, either. it does not have to be economic. and i think some officials or
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some ministries in china would be very willing to talk about security issues. u.s. presidency was specific -- taiwan. those political items will be -- will be on the back of the mind for the chinese when they talk about these deals. if, indeed, the economic deals are going to hire american workers using american material. so that's what the chinese see as a grand bargain. >> interesting. this gentleman in just one second. first, though, as we proceed with questions, i know we have several members of the media with us today. some might be facing some near-term deadline. so i wanted to actually just open it up to members of the media for further questions for the time being. can we go to this gentleman in the back, threes? thanks. >> is that bill lane there in the back row? >> it is. >> careful, now. >> cpi-tv. bill, you were saying that
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president trump probably didn't really get anything concrete otherwise. he must have, you know, been brilliant to brag about it. but the opposite could also be true, though. if he indeed got nothing out of, you know, the two-day meetings, apart from wining and dining. he might have treated that, too, to complain. remember, at the end of the first round of summit, the one-on-one meeting on the 6th, he was complaining. he was saying that, well, i already had long discussion with president xi. however, i got nothing. so far. absolutely nothing. and then -- >> he was joking about that. >> was he? i didn't see him joking. i thought he was serious. it might be a negotiating tactic. but barely 16 hours later, at
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the end of the second round of summit, he was, you know, talking about tremendous progress being made. tremendous progress. several times. what happened? during the 16 hours? thank you. >> i don't know. to -- my observation of him is when he does complain in cranky tweets, it's always to complain about somebody else. i've never seen a situation where he complains about himself. what you're saying is, if he got nothing, why didn't he do a tweet saying "i got nothing"? he's never going to do that, because that's a tweet saying i failed. i think it's only in his interest to put a positive spin on the outcome. and i mean, i can see two
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possibilities. one, there wasn't much there. and he said if we made a lot of progress, because he didn't want to say we didn't. and they did set up a process that may very well lead to a lot of progress, so you don't want to -- you don't want to bad-mouth the process. i suppose the other -- the other possibility is that there were some concrete agreements on things, and for one reason or another, they have chosen not to make them public. i just think that's unlikely. from everything that i've read. it would be -- and i cthink the chinese are not indicating that either. that there is a bunch of secret agreements here that -- so i think it's more likely that he's putting the best face on. you know, it's not -- i shouldn't -- i don't want to be negative. you know, nobody -- neither one of them made any mistakes. it was a dignified, constructive happy event, as near as i can tell. i mean, there is nothing to be cranky about. and i think they were careful,
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as i said, before -- not to build up expectations too high beforehand that hasn't prevented people from having high expectations afterwards. but -- and i think, you know, the -- i think he's handled that as best he can. it's kind of a bridge too far to expect donald trump to say, you know, i failed. that's -- not going to happen. you're going to say nothing. >> well said. >> any other journalists for the time being before we move on? if not, i'll go to this gentleman here and this young lady here and then that gentleman right there. >> steve landy, manchester trade. i'm sorry. [ inaudible ] >> i think the real challenge is that we all think like washingtonians where we have a new york president and a real
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estate among you will on top of everything else. we're not going to make progress on trade. i don't see how trump calls upon certain limitations where he has to do when he said he doesn't really respect that, particularly in international arbitration. i think the progress was made. the trade of -- i think people were looking at before. you want to keep that surplus -- two things. one, you have got to buy more from us and less from other people. that's painless. and i can already see the grain contracts and meat contracts moving from argentina or australia to the u.s. i think that's what will happen. you have to do something on the, quote, export side. i'm not quite sure what that will be. but they always talk about internal growth. and so i'm going -- let me just kind of summarize really quickly. by the way, there will be a whole raft of unfair trade practices that will come.
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and for that, we'll end up in the courts deciding whether it's legitimate or not, since commerce will probably make some very strange rulings. so my own real question to ask is, do you accept the fact that we could deal with this problem to what i call manage trade solutions, where the businessman sitting in that cabinet, and there's a hell of a lot of them, saying, okay, how do we make the decision look better and then you see a lot of deals being created. thank you very much. >> we have been there before, haven't we? >> well, yeah. managed trade was a popular term, as i recall, steve, when you were in the government. and -- there's things that -- there's some tools we don't have any more. in terms of voluntary restraint agreements and export restraints, thanks to the uruguay round. but sure, you could do that. and, you know, maybe -- maybe they will. the reason for my relative
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pessimism is -- is some doubt about whether they'll be able to reach agreement on what the details are. i think that, from trump's point of view, that is certainly an acceptable way to go. and from the chinese perspective, it may be an acceptable way to go, too. and then let's do a bunch of transactions. but they still have to agree on, you know, how many airplanes are we going to buy and how much pork are we going to buy, and how are we going to settle these rules. and if trump gets into some issues that are difficult, like, you know, we want you to change your -- make it in china 2025 policy, so that it -- you know, is not designed explicitly to supplant the foreigners, and we want you to change your ip rules. you know, he's going to ask them to do a whole bunch of things that are very difficult for them. now, can we reach agreement on that? sure. if we could, great. i'm not -- i'm not against it on principle.
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i just think it will be harder than people believe. >> in the white house, you have no more problem with pork. that's one thing i guarantee you. give them the whole pork industry. >> on the level of high principle, you know, setting aside details like whether they try to tackle made in china 2025 provisions, can you see -- as bill was kind of asking rhetorically a moment ago, can you see the chinese side, you know, seriously entertaining the idea of this transactional managed trade approach? so buy more of this, less of that? you'll buy less of this, more of that? is the chinese side ready to make those kinds of deals? >> the chinese have the political will to negotiate. and try to accommodate as much as they can. but if you ask the chinese government to damage their own interest which would help president trump's, that's going to come with political cost
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domestically. so i think, yes, the chinese will do more. but i don't think they will meet our expectations. >> not a good year in china to be making political sacrifices to satisfy another trading partner, would that be fair to say? >> yeah, you could think about the 19th party congress that's going to come up later this year. it is a difficult year. >> moving on. i promised -- yes. first this young lady here and then after here, the gentleman there. >> my question is about the rumored concession from china to open up the financial sector and the buy more beef from the united states. and this will bring return. and so what can the united states give to china? thank you. >> good question. >> what was the question? >> well, so returning to what we had discussed before.
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the possible concessions from the chinese side on first investments in the financial services sector, as well as beef exports to china. what, if anything, might the -- reciprocal -- what are we going to give them? yes. >> what's the deal? >> what's the deal. i think have a feeling that the administration -- the trump administration will be -- you've been taking advantage of us for so long, this is something you do for free. there isn't a deal. there's no quid pro quo. you do this because we want you to do it, and you need to do it. i don't -- well, i mean, that's -- that's one reason why i'm pessimistic about an outcome. i don't think -- what are we going to give them? i don't -- i mean, i -- that's why i think these are going to end up being much more difficult negotiations than people think. i don't think the -- the trump
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administration is prepared to make very many concessions. i think they believe we have been making concessions for 20 years. and that it's time to right the balance. and they expect the chinese to give, and not take, which i think is not a very realistic view. but that's where this is going. >> you did point out that last year the chinese did -- at least at the first approximation offer, concessions on the beef imports. the u.s. exports of beef. right, bill? so in that case, even though they hadn't put into action any of the particulars -- >> maybe you know. was there a deal in september on the beef? or did they just do it? rpgs p i think they did it unilaterally. there were certain risks. it was way beyond the -- the point where there was any scientific basis for their decision. there was -- the potential of t wto action on our part, which would have been an embarrassment, because i think they would have lost. thing he decided it was time. a thought for a long time the deal -- there would be a chicken
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deal. you know, they take our beef, we take their chickens. but that turned out not to be the case. at least last year. maybe that's not what will happen this time. >> and mind you, on both the beef exports, as well as the financial sector investments, at this stage still just -- unsubstantiated claims. citing both chinese and u.s. officials. but i hadn't seen it -- >> there is a song about this, by the way. about chinese chickens. smash mouth. but i won't go there. >> okay. he's not going there, we're moving on. this gentleman in the back. >> i'm bill lang. let me ask a pretty basic question. how do you measure success? at least from a u.s. perspective? one of the closest correlation coefficients to trade is that when the economy softens, quote, trade deficit, goes down, and when the economy strengthens, the trade deficit goes up.
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so if you're measures on deficit, you know, in the economy slows, which causes all sorts of political issues, the numbers should look pretty good. and you claim success with the bilateral relationship. or would it be smarter to focus on exports, which is a little cleaner number. and tends to, you know, have a better correlation with -- the level of your competitiveness and the -- the level of velocity that you have as far as trade. so my question is, recognizing that one measure the deficit is counterin duive. should we be focusing on something else as far as measuring success? >> well, for me, that's a softball. because my answer is, yes. and you're exactly right. the last time our deficit went down significantly was during the recession in 2009. and, you know, the weaker our economy is, the less you buy,
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that's what happens. i don't know that's a prescription for prosperity. and this is why i think most economists would -- if they had a chance to talk to the president, would say you're -- you know, you're pursuing the wrong goal. and i think -- i think he's right about that. exports are an easily measurable goal. and which i think also is related to -- it's measurable. it's -- it's not the kind of thing you negotiate quite so easily, unless you've got access barriers. i mean, trying to think about things that are realistic for a transactional president. you -- i think you can go both -- you can do barrier by barrier. also, what i would focus on also is barriers to u.s. companies that are currently operating in china, and doing business in china. which goes back to the i.p. issue we talked about before. unlike the trade skeptics in this country, i think that, you
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know, presidents in other countries for americans is win-win. and if we have americans that are producing stuff in china, that creates more jobs here. it doesn't just create jobs in china. and it creates more wealth here, and it creates a more income here, and it also creates more exports, even though, you know, it would also benefit the chinese. the chinese are pursuing a set of policies that don't really encourage that. to the extent that would be helpful for us. so i think there are measurable outcomes there, too, that we can just go, you know, problem by problem. chinese law by chinese law. if you want to do it that way. and get these things addressed. but to begin with, i certainly agree with you. the deficit is the wrong way to approach the problem. >> eun, did you have a sense of whether the chinese are more prepared to engage whether it's in the context of the 100-day action plan or in the broader comprehensive economic dialogue?
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do you have a sense of whether the chinese side is more prepared to engage on the basis of the -- the trade balance numbers or the -- you know, the exports -- the export/imports figures in particular industries? i just saw just today an official from -- it might have been the foreign ministry. i forget. but sort of pushing back against the notion that the benchmark ought to be the bilateral trade balance. so one wonders whether this is a settled issue or really an agreed basis for moving forward for these negotiations. do you think that will be the subject of some controversy within the chinese government and private sector going forward? >> again, i think the working level negotiation will happen. and they will -- they will be pursued seriously. then again, to what extent the chinese can really make a concession that the u.s. wants to see is a question we cannot answer for now.
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>> i saw a couple -- yes, ma'am. >> thank you. >> the reimic right there. >> hi, i'm paula stern. i would like you all -- i thought, bill, you woui thought would mention the campaign threat of candidate trump to raise the tariffs on chinese imports coming into the united states. as in your answer to a previous question. what do the chinese get in exchange for american -- increasing their exports of beef to china. don't they get the cease-fire that -- the threat becomes hollow? that that increased imports he said he would put on -- excuse
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me, increased tariffs he said would be put on would go away? >> well, that's a good point. i hadn't thought about it that way. i mean, when people use the term "concession," i sort of think concrete things. but in a way -- sure. that would be a -- if you do what i want, i'm not going to do these bad things. >> yeah. >> if you want to treat that as a concession, i mean, that's -- i think that's clever negotiating on his part. because he doesn't really give up anything. and there's a good business of skepticism about whether he would do that anyway. so, sure. that's -- that's an interesting insight. i should have thought about that. i'll exploit it, shamelessly. >> a similar dynamic, but switching gears on issues, rather starkly. returning to an earlier topic, eun, i'm not sure if we put you on the spot and asked you whether you thought or how -- you think the u.s. action in
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syria might affect china's calculus going forward on the north korea issue. do you think that's something that will have any impact? and if so, will it have a lasting impact? what's your sense? >> since the interpretation in china is that the u.s. was demonstrating or president trump was demonstrating the u.s. assertiveness and the u.s. willingness to act alone. and this determination to attack his enemies when they decide to do so. so the implied message for china is certainly a demonstration to north korea that if the u.s. does decide to attack, the u.s. will do it. so i think there is an impact. there is a psychological implication there. so china learned that president trump will pursue unilateral actions when he sees it as necessary. but then again, the situation in north korea is very different
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from the situation in syria. north korea has nuclear weapons. and the u.s. also has south korea and japan located very closely to north korea. so the mechanism or the making will be very different. >> do i see another hand? any other questions? well, if i may just one more time. asking about some other investment-related issues. many in the white house now, as well as many in congress, are keen to increase scrutiny over chinese investment in the u.s. not only acquisitions, but, for instance, other forms of investment-like stakes in silicon valley startups, getting access to those kinds of technology through various means. so for purposes of this
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question, let's say short of a full bilateral investment treaty negotiation, is this something on which the u.s. and china could actually reach more of a common understanding? is this something, for instance, that might unfold? are these discussions that might unfold in the new economic dialogue or the cyber security and law enforcement track? what do you think? bill, if you want to start. >> well, i imagine that china will bring it up. they bring it up on most occasions. i would argue that if you look at it statistically, the -- most of the chinese-proposed acquisitions have been approved. including some controversial ones that -- are some very large ones that have -- like the smithfield one, and the singenta one that were controversial at the time or became controversial. these have been approved. and, i mean, the -- advice i
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gave to somebody in china at one point was, you know, as chinese investment here surges, some of these are going to be disapproved. law of averages. you know? the more you -- the more you buy, eventually you're going to run into some situations where the government sees a problem. you're not the only one. you know, there have been -- there's very few -- there's very few outright rejections. but there is a larger number that are subject to what is called mitigation, which is the -- an agreement that makes some changes. some changes in the proposed acquisition, or some changes in the way that the acquiring party is allowed to run the acquired company after the fact. fire walls and severed boards ask a variety of things that i won't bore you with. so i think the american explanation has been, look, this is not an issue for china only. number one. number two, statistically,
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you -- it's hard for you to argue that you're being treated grossly unfairly. number three, every country in the world has restrictions on investment for national security, including you. and number four, there's a far more restrictions an u.s. investment going into china than there is on chinese investment going into the united states. so if you want to have a negotiation about investment, we can do that. but, in fact, we are doing that in the context of the b.i.t. and we can talk there about, you know, the fact that i think your negative list walled off some like 200 sectors of the economy that would not be open. and we don't have that. and so if you want to have a negotiation, then like i said, we can do that. but there's a lot more room to give on your side than there is on our side. >> you would see that advancing, or those discussions happening mainly in the context of the b.i.t., if at all? >> it's more likely to go the other way. i mean, you've -- you've picked up an important issue.
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there's going to be a government accountability office report that was requested last year issued probably in the next two or three months on how on how t process of these things are decided, how it works, and whether it's adequate to meet today's needs. i don't know what they'll decide, but it has already begun to stimulate the debate, bills are being introduced, bills are being drafted, one has been introduced already, various senators announced they are working on other ones that will be introduced. all of them are bills that would expand the government's authority to block investments for varying reasons. some by expanding the definition of national security, some by explicitly including factors other than national security, like net economic benefit, and others by including investments that are not now, so the entire
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debate is going to come from perptive of tightening rather than loosening. congress had this debate before. this would be the third time, and on the two previous occasions they declined to take some of the aggressive tightening steps that were recommended then and that will be recommended again. i don't know what will happen this time around, but like i said, it's not a new debate, but the debate was going to be very much with, i think, essentially the forerunners playing defense, if you will, rather than the other way around. >> supposed to be watching later this year, we will be keenly following it ourselves and we hope we will have you back and other issues later this year. for today, very grateful to both our panelists. please join me in thanking both. thank you all for joining us
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today. tomorrow, we'll bring you live coverage of a rally at the u.s. capitol to demand president trump release his tax returns and not cut taxes on corporations or wealthy individuals. senator ron widen and congresswoman maxine waters are among the speakers saturday starting at noon eastern, live on c-span. >> here are some of the programs this holiday weekend on c-span. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern a nasa briefing on the discovery
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of seven earth-like planets orbiting a nearby star. >> we're currently using the hubble space telescope to study the planets in the system to determine if they have hydrogen/helium dominated atmosphere. >> followed by the discussion of pros and cons of genetically modified foods hosted in los angeles. >> because those of us who do this, we think all plants are gmos because there's nothing you buy in any of your grocery stores that hasn't been genetically modified. >> easter sunday at 10:30 a.m. eastern, white house easter egg roll events from the last four presidents. then a visit to the african-american museum in washington. >> i knew that the nation was thirsting for this museum, but i had to confess, i didn't know that reaction would be this positive and this strong. >> and at 1:35 p.m., a panel of federal judges discussing the history of the bill of rights. >> what the bill of rights is,
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as a whole constitution, is a hugely important designation of fences, division of power. >> followed by a conversation with the smithsonian institution's david scorton, the librarian of congress, and the archivist of the united states, david ferrio. >> our collection is 156 million objects, including 200 books and other things. >> at 6:30 p.m. eastern, presidential historians discuss presidential leadership. >> it is interesting that the greatest american president, abraham lincoln, is bracketed by arguably the least successful american presidents. >> this holiday weekend on c-span. >> saturday on book tv it's the 5th annual san antonio book
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festival beginning at 1:30 p.m. eastern, our schedule includes author discussions with carl jacoby and his book. at 2:15 p.m. eastern, jeff wynn with his book "the road to jonestown." at 3:00 p.m., lydia reader with her book "dust bowl girls." at 3:45, tim hernandez, author of "all they will call you" and at 4:30 p.m. eastern, the author of the book "there goes the neighborhood: how communities overcome prejudice and meet the challenge of american immigration." at 5:15 p.m. eastern, author of "twenty-six seconds: a personal history." and at 6:00 p.m., lydia pine with her book "seven skeletons: the evolution of the world's most famous human fossils." watch the 5th annual san antonio bookti

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