China Ignores United States Trade Threats, Energizes Trade Ties With Russia & ASEAN As Alternatives
China Ignores United States Trade Threats, Energizes Trade Ties With Russia & ASEAN As Alternatives by Chris Devonshire-Ellis for Silk Road Briefing
Washington Doesn’t Seem To Realize China & Global Supply Chains Are Sailing Away
Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis
The US-China trade war has dominated the business media for the past two years, however the view from Washington and the Trump administration remains that akin to almost deliberate isolationism. The China-based, US commentators haven’t been much help either in understanding the bigger global picture – fixated upon relations and analysis between Beijing and Washington they have omitted to understand what lies beyond. At the recent St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, at which Presidents Putin and Xi were present, I didn’t notice any Beijing based US analyst in attendance. I expect the same of the upcoming Far Eastern Economic Forum which is being held in Vladivostok in ten days. Putin will be attending, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Guest of Honour. A significant presence from ASEAN ministers and trade delegations will also be showing up. But it appears if the United States isn’t involved, the US media and analysts generally have little to no interest. If true, this is a huge mistake.
But while American analysts and business commentators fiddle, and concentrate on Beijing-Washington’s various innuendos and rumors, the trade war continues and is becoming increasingly shrill. But that is not the only part to the equation. With a near 30 year career in China behind me, and a consulting practice the same age stuffed full of North American, European and clients from around the world, we have a differing viewpoint to see the action from. Unfettered by bilateral trade ties, we can cast a longer view of the implications and being on the ground, can see perhaps further and with more clarity. After all, adapting to change is part of my remit as Chairman of our practice and ensuring we are ahead of the game and able to adjust to changes. Those changes are now occurring. Lets look at some of what many analysts are missing:
The Global Supply Chain Is Shifting. And It Doesn’t Appreciate US Uncertainty
A global supply chain means just that, and the US has been a major part in this. However the key word to remember is global. That exists to qualify two angles – first, the all-encompassing of the worlds component t parts manufacturers, who vary from industry to industry but are to be found in each of the 200 or so countries and territories around the world, and secondly the nature of the global market, servicing those same consumers. But those consumers are not just based in the United States, although as at right now, it remains true that the US has the most consumer disposable income. But as McKinsey recently pointed out, by 2030, China’s working-age population will account for 12 cents of every dollar spent in cities worldwide. That’s just ten years away. It also means that China wishes to control more of the global supply chain to ensure it delivers what it needs.