President Xi JinPing of China recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), the centerpiece of China’s global projection of economic, political and financial power. However, the BRI project is meeting significant obstacles and seems in urgent need of a reboot. Significantly, the main sources of criticism and reevaluation come from some of the major beneficiaries of the project.
China says the United States has waged a trade war, while America’s intelligence agency is now terming it as a China-led cold war. Nevertheless, the trade brouhaha continues. Trumponomics ceases to be rhetoric anymore, and Xinomics is candidly reciprocal. In fact, neither countries were striving for autarky, nor is the situation as grim as it was in the 1930s. Yet the present scenario is destined to reach alarming proportions, as its spillover effect has begun to deter the global value chains (GVCs) that perennially define the geo-economic architecture of international business today.
Mexico matters. In addition to being our southern neighbor, Mexico is our third largest trading partner, after China and Canada. It is ranked as the 15th largest economy in the world. On Sunday the country experienced a seismic change in leadership. Fueled by anger at violence and corruption, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the 64-year old populist center left candidate best known as AMLO, was elected by a clear majority in all but one state and a simple majority in both houses. He had promised to Make Mexico Great Again.
This is a shortened version of my longer report posted at Newsmax.
I agree with a Twitter commentator today who said that US-China trade relations was giving him whiplash after President Trump’s volte-face on ZTE. For context, I recommend two new books with a longer view on the changes taking place in China. The first, “The End of an Era” by Carl Minzer is truly a must-read for any China watcher. Devin Stewart at the Carnegie Council conducted a wonderful interview with Prof Minzer, which I’ve included below.