Super Cities №79—The Week Ahead: “Asian Davos”

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

Xi will deliver his most important speech

“At Boao, Xi Jinping will provide the most authoritative answers. Participants will see the new opening and reform measures that China will take.”


On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi will further outline his economic vision at the Boao Forum, Asia’s answer to Davos.

As the newly-anointed President for Life, Xi’s speech will cover a set of issues that have global implications.

If you are interested in global markets, China-US relations, or economic reform in China, here are three things to watch:

Trade

The Populist-in-Chief does not believe in nuanced diplomacy — although he and Xi will “always be friends”, whatever that means — regarding trade with China.

In a series of escalatory events that lassoed the stock market, trade threats have so far increased to $100 billion. Xi will likely respond to the escalation, but no one knows the direction.

Investment

Blackrock — the world’s largest investor — just announced that a large part of its future will be in China.

This long-term investment is only possible if, as promised, Xi allows far greater access — without substantial correlated sacrifices, like transferring proprietary technology — to foreign investors and businesses.

Regional Cooperation

In 2013, Xi announced a globally ambitious economic project called One Belt, One Road. Since then, regional dynamics have not been very cooperative, especially in the South China Sea.

The most significant signal of disunity is that 11 nations recently signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership — and in a striking turn of events, neither China nor the United States are involved in the giant trade agreement. Ian Bremmer calls this the G-Zero World.

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