On 29 August Auckland Branch hosted a timely and lively panel discussion: US – China Trade War – Threat or Opportunity? at Auckland University
National President Dave Bromwich came from Hawkes Bay to join fellow panellists Stephen Jacobi of the NZ China Council, Dr Zhi Dong of the Auckland Business School and Ms Naisi Chen, past president of the Chinese University Students Association and the 2017 candidate for Labour at the East Coast Bays electorate.
Dave Bromwich anchored the discussion by taking up the theme that Chinese culture emphasizes integration of opposites, balance and harmony. While in the short term the trade war has a more negative impact with uncertain outcomes, it is a symptom of deeper misunderstandings. In the longer term, the opportunity is to establish a new era of global consensus leading to a harmonious global community. China is not about to become western in its approach to global affairs, and this leads to a response by the west to contain and compete. Is this expectation that China fits in with the western consensus not just the continuation of the Western colonial thought for so many years?
The message from Stephen Jacobi was the trade wars are bad and nobody wins. He saw more danger than opportunity because New Zealand lives by trade and we suffer when market are unstable. We strive for friendship between both China and the United States, and our ability to steer this careful middle path becomes much harder. The trade war also risks undermining the whole international trading system which we have come to rely on in the last thirty years.
Naisi Chen took the perspective of a second-generation young Chinese immigrant: We live in the 21st century, the initiative of the individual is very strong, no matter how the international situation changes, we have to adjust our mentality and ideology in order to find our own pursuit in the opportunities and challenges. She used Weibo as an example to describe the mentality of Chinese consumers. It is important to understand the driving forces of China’s enormous market and the dramatic changes technology has made in today’s society and for the future.
Dr. Zhi Dong elaborated on the impact of trade wars on New Zealand: the impact of the trade war is real. Because managers spend more time making decisions in an uncertain environment, this can lead to a decline in economic dynamism and thus a negative impact on the economy. We need to seek more cooperation with China. The trade war is the embodiment of international relations. And seeking cooperation is also a kind of relationship, which needs mutual trust and benefit.