WA China Watch Digest Special!

Survey: What impact would next POTUS, Trump or Clinton, have on Washington’s China, international trade?

Trump, Clinton campaign buttons

By Wen Liu   Aug. 1, 2016

It’s now official, after two very different national conventions: Donald Trump is officially the Republican nominee for president of the United States and Hillary Clinton the Democrat nominee for the same. Knowing how Donald Trump has described China trade as rape and TPP a horrible deal and how Hillary Clinton also came to criticize China for not following WTO rules and oppose the TPP after first championing it, and knowing how Washington state depends on trade, with China as its largest trading partner, and how TPP has been promoted by business groups such as the Washington Council on International Trade and supported by a majority of members of our Congressional delegation, here is the question:

What impact do you think the next POTUS, Trump or Clinton, would have on Washington state’s trade with China, with Asia Pacific, and as a whole, and why?

The following are responses, in the order they were received, from some of our China hands and watchers. You are welcome to add yours in Disqus.

Gordon (Guoping) Feng, graduate student, China studies, Jackson School of International Studies, UW:
Unless WTO stops working, the trade with China will go on as normal, whether Trump or Hilary becomes the president. That being said, Washington state needs to constantly promote itself in China. With Seattle becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists and immigrants, the earnings from China is bound to increase.

Joel Chusid, Executive Director - USA, Hainan Airlines Company Limited; director, Washington State China Relations Council:
Trump - a disaster. Clinton - depending on what she does, some damage, but not as severe. Lots of unknowns and will depend on what actually happens. Trump's intent to slap 35% tariffs on Chinese goods will certainly be a slap in the face to China, who will not just sit there and do nothing! Washington's exports are going. Clinton's actions are not as severe, but they will have some impact, considering the depth of Washington's China trade.

William Franklin, President, Franklin International Limited; past president, Washington State China Relations Council:
I am hoping that Obama and Paul Ryan can get TPP passed before January. If not done then Mrs. Clinton will have better chance of passing if Republicans maintain control of congress Not much difference in China policy, Trump will not follow through, even if he does congress will slow him down.

Elmer Wagner, retired instructor, Grays Harbor College, who also taught in China:
If Trump followed through with all his threats directed at China, it would be disastrous for our state's trade with China. Hillary, on the other hand, was primarily trying to assuage Bernie Sanders's ardent followers on trade issues, resulting in opposing the TPP. She might very well switch her stance again when the reality of opposing trade agreements results in severe limitations in trade. Hillary has been known for her vicissitude in foreign affairs.

WA-Chinese provinces trade seminar sign screenshotKarl Weaver, Greater China Biz Dev/Sales Mgr in mobile payments & security technology:
No impact at all! I can only speak from my industry sector of the consumer electronics world. First, China is actually suffering from inflation which is driving manufacturing (and basic living) costs of consumer devices (Smart Phones, Tablet PCs, Smart TVs) out of China and into India, Vietnam and Indonesia, however, the money trail is firming in the hands of the Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese. Thus, if you are picky about buying goods made in China because they aren't following WTO rules, for sure goods made in India, Vietnam or Indonesia will suffer the same fate or criticism, the fact of the matter is the whole consumer electronics manufacturing ecosystem is already controlled by Greater China Diaspora investments in Land, Factories, labor, intellectual property and management talent. If we want consumer devices, China is the only ballgame at Safeco Field.

I also predict more not less Chinese companies will wish to invest in Washington State’s economy because Seattle is Cloud-capital of the World; it attracts every technology company to come and invest. Thus, Donald Trump needs a session in global supply-chain and manufacturing. If you didn’t want the Chinese to dominate the consumer electronics hardware sector and India to dominate the software, why do you keep outsourcing the hardware and software, via Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon? Someone needs a session in globalization I think? Soon the Chinese IP Owners will be, like Donald Trump, also worried about copycats and intellectual property being rapidly stolen from Developing World fledging manufacturing centers in Southeast Asia, The Middle East and the African Continent.

George Koo, International business consultant; board member, New America Media; member, Committee of 100:
If Donald Trump becomes POTUS, Washington state's trade with China will be least of our concerns. All of our concerns will be focused on how to keep this nutcase and mad maniac from starting the nuclear holocaust and destroying the world.

(For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)