On June 28, 2017, the Washington State China Relations Council ran the fourth session of its Policy Briefing Series with a content-rich panel discussion. Speakers included: Spencer Cohen, Senior Economist with Community Attributes Inc.; Andrew Batson, Director of China research for Gavekal Dragonomics; and Fabio Ghironi, Paul F. Glaser Endowed Professor in Economics at the University of Washington. Victor Chan, Vice President & Country Manager for China, Hong Kong and Singapore with U.S. Bank’s International Banking Group, and WSCRC board and executive committee member, served as panel moderator.
Spencer Cohen presented an insightful analysis of China’s market-reform policies and key elements that define “market” – free entry/exit of products; market-driven prices; capital flows; and land ownership.
Andrew Batson explained key trends in China’s market reforms: 1) China’s growth has slowed a lot, but will slow more. As China gets richer, its growth will keep slowing; 2) SOE (State-owned enterprise) stimulus spending has helped hold up growth – the retreat of the state sector has ended; 3) The quality of investment has declined – China’s return on capital has sharply declined since 2007; 4) China’s debt is high and still rising; 5) Inefficient SOEs are a growing weight on China’s economy – SOEs borrow and invest a lot while contributing less to GDP and jobs.
Fabio Ghironi presented an in-depth assessment of how much the Chinese government controls the country’s trade and the decline of Chinese state-owned exports. Prof. Ghironi also assessed the rise of protectionism across the globe and in China as well as the Chinese yuan (RMB) as the world’s fourth most-used economy, despite Chinese government efforts to accelerate the globalization of the RMB.
Over 25 representatives from representing Microsoft, Nyhus Communications, Washington Search Partners, WA State Department of Commerce, WSP, Skagit County, and the business community attend the session.
US Bank Seattle office generously provided the venue for this event.