Learning to Live With the U.S.-China Rivalry: A Talk With Arthur Kroeber

By Shashank Rao
ASNC Intern, Summer 2018

Arthur R. Kroeber, founder of Gavekal Dragonomics, a China-focused research service at Gavekal, came to San Francisco on Monday, June 18 to give his highly-anticipated and relevant talk regarding the implications of trade tariffs and restrictions by both the United States (U.S.) and China. Using his expertise, Kroeber explained the Chinese government's plan for multilateral economic growth and its potential impacts on U.S. policies and economy.

Two key details are necessary to understand the overall situation of China vis à vis the U.S. First, China wishes to avoid armed conflict with the U.S. as much as possible. Second, One Belt One Road (OBOR) is an expansion of geopolitical influence, rather than simply an infrastructural project. In fact, these two details actually facilitate one another; OBOR seeks to establish a “community of shared economic interest”, which acts as a deterrent to war. All the while, this increases regional economic dependency on China by creating physically connected routes of trade via highways and roads.

However, generalities should be avoided when changes in the Chinese economy are discussed as there are multiple moving parts. For example, while the technology sector in China lags behind the U.S.’, Kroeber noted that U.S. exports are still at risk of being surpassed by Chinese exporters. Kroeber also believes that building a U.S. presence in the Chinese economy will allow the U.S. to maintain a healthy balance since China is the first major world economy that is not a part of the U.S. security alliance. The U.S.-China rivalry, according to Kroeber, will be a major factor in the changing global dynamic in years to come.

Kenneth P. Wilcox, Co-Chairman of Asia Society Northern California, gave opening and closing remarks. ASNC would like to thank Zendesk for generously hosting the program.