The meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping in Argentina in late November may prove to be a turning point for not only for the US-China relationship, but for global trade. Both leaders enter these discussions knowing the far more important question is whether there can be a sustainable co-existence between a Western market-driven economy with democratic ideals and a centrally-managed Chinese economy led by the Communist Party of China.
Tencent and Alibaba are names you need to know. They are leaders among China’s five Big Tech firms. They are growing fast and starting to rival American giants Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Facebook. Whoever among these giants acquires the most consumer information on habits, preferences, spending patterns, and financial behaviors stands to win in our growing global digital economy.
At some point between the start of the Thanksgiving holiday and Cyber Monday, did you reach for your credit card or use another secure payment system like PayPal to make a purchase online? You’re in good company: 259 million Americans routinely buy online. Last year, internet sales in China on “Single’s Day” reached $25.3 billion — $6 billion more than what Americans purchased online over the entire Thanksgiving weekend. In the future, the whole world just might be cashless.
On November 5, U.S. sanctions went into effect that target Iran’s energy, shipping, and banking sectors, including vessels and banks called out by name. Ahead of the November deadline, Iranian oil tankers moving supplies offshore went “dark” in unprecedented numbers, trying to cloak their movements.
Trade wars, like real wars, are costly. But people are willing to sacrifice — at least up to a point — when they believe a cause is worth fighting for. Doing nothing in response to China’s policies would have cost nothing in the short run. But if the concerns raised by China’s policies are legitimate, doing nothing to fix them now will cost more to fix over time — if they remain fixable at all.