Trade Tremors: China, Japan, Oregon

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Q&A with Mark Burles,
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
, Seattle

Should US business be concerned over the recent Obama tire tariff?

Burles: Absolutely. The last thing the global economy needs is for a trade war to erupt between the US and China. That said, it is a complicated issue. For example, while it certainly may be true that the Administration imposed the tariff in response to domestic political pressure from its union allies, it may also be true the China is, in fact, guilty of unfair trade practices justifying the punitive tariffs. And while exports are going to be even more important to economic growth in the US in the future and we need to be sure we retain access to large, emerging markets like China’s, it is also true that China may need to be pushed to move away from its export-oriented economic model.  

So where does that leave us?

At the end of the day, my sense is that decision-makers in both Washington and Beijing understand the stakes involved in maintaining a constructive relationship and that will prevail against internal pressures within both countries that might favor allowing this sort of thing to boil over into the broader relationship.

If there becomes an escalating trade dispute with China, what would be Oregon’s chief concern.

Burles: If we really get into a dispute with China, I would expect them to restrict access to their market for our highest value exports. In Oregon’s case this would probably take the form of new conditions on agricultural goods. You could see more tension growing regarding technology exports to China, as China might start trying to force tech companies to develop more technology locally (they already do that to some degree).

Will Japan’s historic government shake-up open up any opportunities, changes or challenges for the North West?

Burles: It certainly could. Here’s what the potential is; Japan has been meandering for almost 20 years. They may finally be ready to make the changes they need to make to get their economy moving, which means increasing domestic consumption and removing some of the regulatory constraints on their economy. From what I read, that may be exactly what they try to do. That said, it’s way too early to tell exactly what the new government either wants or will be capable of doing.

Q&A with Mark Burles,
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
, Seattle