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Former National Security Advisors and Chinese Consul General To Open UC San Diego Forum On US-China Relations

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On Monday, UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy will begin a week-long forum in response to increasing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 The growing trade war between the U S and China continues to shake up the financial markets this weekend. International Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs announced that analysts no longer expect a trade deal between the u s and China before the 2020 presidential election this week. UC San Diego is welcoming a forum of diplomatic and economic leaders to discuss Chinese trade and economic development. It's described as four days of intense frank talk about the future of the u s China relationship. I spoke with one of the organizers of the forum research Professor Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st century China Center at UC San Diego. I began by asking if China's decision to devalue its currency would hurt the u s

Speaker 2: 00:48 um, well, of course it does make, uh, American products more expensive in China and makes Chinese products less expensive for us if we want to buy them. Uh, so it, uh, it does put China at an advantage to have a lower currency, but it's not really all that significant in and of itself. It's just a one more round. And this very acrimonious, I'd say tough bargaining and brinksmanship between the two countries.

Speaker 1: 01:28 What about China's announcement that it will halt purchases of u s agricultural products?

Speaker 2: 01:33 Hello. That is targeted at, uh, one of president Trump's, uh, most important support bases. So it's aimed at putting pressure on him to, uh, lift the tariffs and to negotiate a, an agreement.

Speaker 1: 01:56 Now, does the u s do you think have an advantage or since China is more of a centrally planned economy, does it have the advantage?

Speaker 2: 02:04 You know, I think we really should get beyond this. Uh, you win. I lose zero sum attitude because there are losers in both countries and the whole global economic system is being highly disrupted, uh, by this way of the two countries, um, dealing with their economic differences. Uh, it's going to slow down global growth, uh, across the board, not just in the two countries. And it's slowing down because technology is part of it. It's also slowing down human progress. Right.

Speaker 1: 02:49 What other subjects besides trade will you be discussing during this forum?

Speaker 2: 02:54 We'll certainly be talking about technology. We'll talk about five g a I and, uh, the restrictions that the United States is starting to place on visas for Chinese science students, including at UCFD, uh, on Chinese investment in high tech firms in the United States, as well as China's, uh, which is really a reaction to China's massive state led effort to turn itself into a high tech superpower.

Speaker 1: 03:32 Can you give us an idea of who's going to be at [inaudible]?

Speaker 2: 03:35 Attending the Chinese ambassador? Uh, sway 10 Chi is coming to the opening session to join the panel with Steve Hadley and Tom Donalyn who was president Obama's national security advisor. Uh, in addition to these folks, we have actually former governor Brown's coming to participate. He's very interested and the California China relationship in particular, Robert Work, who is the former deputy secretary of defense, Michele Flournoy, former under secretary of defense, we have, um, a number of business leaders. And then we do have eight folks from China who are quite independent minded, uh, and influential people from China. And we think it's important to have them there so that we, uh, understand the Chinese perspective on these issues as well.

Speaker 1: 04:36 You are talking about having leaders from all walks of life. Sit Down and discuss these questions, uh, informally and very frankly with one another. Why I'm thinking of one of the closest as advisors to the president on China policy is former UC Irvine, Professor Peter Navarro. And I suppose that he is not attending, is that correct?

Speaker 2: 04:59 That's correct. Actually, we don't have any current officials attending.

Speaker 1: 05:04 So do you believe Navarra's advice on trade is wrong?

Speaker 2: 05:07 Totally wrong. Um, both he and president Trump have fixated on the bilateral trade deficit between the U S and China. The fact that China sells us more products and we sell to China, but 99% of all economists will tell you that bilateral trade deficits really have no impact on the welfare of a society. We do care about our global trade balance, but a bilateral deficit doesn't mean that they're winning and we're losing the whole Trump administration approach to the economic relationship with China starts with Peter Navarro and Donald misguided notion about what really matters to the economic welfare of our country. Now there are so many other ways in which we have very legitimate complaints with Chinese policies. Their approach to building himselves into a high tech superpower is not really a market, uh, oriented one. It's much more to build up the power of China, including the military power of China. So there are a lot of issues that we should be negotiating with Shidah [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 06:34 after this, a high level forum, these four days of discussions about us China relations, are you going to be forming any kind of public consensus? What are you going to be doing with all of these ideas that you're generating?

Speaker 2: 06:48 Well, um, we're not writing a big report. That's not the objective. It's mostly about the conversation itself. We do expect that everybody who's participated here is going to take what they learned and their, uh, clarified views and go off and influence the debate. And we will be writing a, um, a short memo that may become a publicly published document on some key takeaways from the discussion

Speaker 1: 07:21 that was research professor Susan Shirk, chair of the 21st century China Center at UC San Diego, speaking about the u s China Forum starting today at UC San Diego.

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