Over the years, relations between the world’s two largest powers have evolved to a complex mix of trade partnership and intensifying political rivalry. Recently the Trump administration’s policy toward China has shifted the foundations of our relationship with the People’s Republic, prompting several essential questions.
Given these rising global tensions, the MBA program at Antioch University Santa Barbara partnered with Santa Barbara/Weihei Sister City and Santa Barbara City College’s Nadel School of Business & Entrepreneurship to present its August Workshop: Dealing with China in an Age of Trump. The workshop examined the foundations of US-China relations, the overall implications of the current policy, and the outlook and possibilities of damage or repair.
The main speaker for the event was Dr. Benjamin Jerry Cohen, Lancaster Professor of Political Economy at UCSB. He was joined by panel members Daniel Lender, the Executive Vice-President and CFO for QAD and Noel Rix, the Vice-President, Global Product Development for Deckers Brand. The panel was moderated by Dr. Peter Haslund, Vice President of Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees.
“Dealing with China in an age of Trump is not easy,” said Dr. Cohen. “The two biggest economies in the world are locked in a deadly embrace—tied together by huge amounts of trade and investment, yet at the same time geopolitical rivals. Previous administrations in Washington sought to accommodate China’s rise with policies of engagement. The Trump administration, by contrast, has declared a trade war with China, risking severe economic disruption and a dangerous new Cold War. The damage could be extensive.”
The three experts engaged with one another and responded to questions from the audience about whether the administration’s policies are justified, if the instruments of US policy are the most effective, and if our relationship has been damaged, is it subject to repair. Both panelists indicated a change of economic and political tone among Chinese citizens over the last ten years. The Hong Kong protest intensifies the overall working relationships between the two big powers, and there is a concern if China chooses to intervene directly with the use of force. The panel concluded with a discussion about what lies ahead.
More than 70 people, including students, alumni, and community members, attended the August 9th workshop on the AUSB campus.