JEREMY HOBSON: Now let’s get to President Hu’s visit to Chicago.
Diane Swonk is chief economist with Mesirow Financial and she’s with us live from the Windy City. Good morning.
DIANE SWONK: Good morning.
HOBSON: Why is President Hu going to Chicago?
SWONK: Well, the city has long standing, particularly Mayor Daley, long standing relationships with China, heading many trade mission from Chicago to China. And we also have a lot of business ties with the Chinese investment corp and Chinese companies as a conduit into the Midwest through the Chicago entryway.
HOBSON: Are there specific things that the Chinese are after there in the Midwest?
SWONK: Absolutely. There’s a high speed rail that there’s been some federal appropriations for and the Chinese have been very competitive in high speed rail, trying to garner much of that business. And they’ve been very aggressively trying to bid for that high speed rail business. We’ve also seen many Chinese companies buying up distressed auto assets as the automakers were going through their troubles, because in fact, they’re very interested in the auto industry and gaining that technology.
HOBSON: What do you think U.S. companies are looking to get out of this visit by the Chinese?
SWONK: You know, we’re going to sell thing a lot of planes, and certainly we’d like to see some more open trade. We also have strong exports to China which are very important, but at the end of the day, we really want to see some movement in the peg on the dollar — some appreciation of the yuan to make the U.S. even more competitive. And frankly the Chinese need to do that in order to cool off inflationary pressures which are really building in China today.
HOBSON: Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, thanks so much.
SWONK: Thank you.
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