U.S.-China trade relations could still go south

Scott Tong Feb 15, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: The next leader of China will be in Washington again today and then he’ll head to Iowa. Yesterday Xi Jinping visited the White House and the Pentagon, and then he met with American business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Marketplace’s Scott Tong tagged along.

Scott Tong: Xi Jinping’s meeting with CEOs from companies like Coke and Disney was scripted, as expected. Still, Vice President Joe Biden spoke fairly directly about “the rules of the game” — as in China playing fair in global markets.

Joe Biden: We have work to do. Especially on issues like discriminatory subsidies, protecting intellectual property and trade secrets.

For his part, Mr. Xi said the Chinese economy is pivoting from the world’s factory to the world’s shopping mall.

And new consumers for American products is what the CEOs are after, says Yale economist Stephen Roach. He’s former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.

Stephen Roach: China’s our third largest and most rapidly growing export market. Shame on us if we can’t take advantage of the coming change in the Chinese economy.

And, he says, shame on us could happen, if simmering trade tensions bubble over into tariffs and trade war, leading Beijing to close off its markets.

In Washington, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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