"In the past, we were focused on the areas of the world […] where we face the greatest risks. In this decade, we're going to have to focus on the areas of the world where we face the most opportunity," Matthew Goodman, former White House Coordinator for APEC, said in an Asia Society panel discussion looking at the outcomes of APEC 2011 on Wednesday night.
Goodman was joined for the talk by Cristina Ampil of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Karan Bhatia, Vice President and Senior Counsel for International Law & Policy at General Electric Company; Aleksey Shishayev from the Embassy of Russian Federation USA; Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO William Weldon; and Monica Whaley, President of the National Center for APEC.
The annual Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) brings leaders from across the globe together to discuss economic progress and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. As Goodman explained, the fundamental shift of perspective he described above underlay this year's APEC, hosted by the United States in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 12 and 13, 2011.
The panelists agreed that this was an especially productive summit in liberalizing international trade. However, the discussion soon turned to the anticipated downfall of the country many consider to be the face of the Asian economy — China. China's GDP growth rate has dropped in 2011, and many are wondering if the Asian giant will soon fall from its global throne.
However— as Johnson & Johnson CEO (and APEC 2011 USA Host Committee Member) Weldon concluded — a major paradigm shift with regard to China has already long since been completed. It is no longer considered a developing nation but rather a full-fledged competitor to the U.S.
"It's slowing down, but [China] still has extraordinary growth," Weldon pointed out, while also acknowledging the fundamental obstacles that lay ahead. "There will also be extraordinary challenges, with the government [and] populations that are aging dramatically."
Watch the entire discussion here.