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May 11 "U.S.-China Economic Relations" with Robert Kapp, President, U.S.-China Business Council.

Dr. Kapp gave an overview of the dramatic changes that the Chinese economy has undergone since 1978 and the varied challenges it continues to faces as it strives to integrate with the rest of the world. Kapp discussed the debate among the Chinese leadership after the Cultural Revolution about how to modernize the nation and Deng Xiaoping’s successful push to open China to the rest of the world. As a result, China has now become the second largest recipient of FDI in the world, engages in massive volumes of international trade, and has rapidly rising per capita income. He pointed out that despite its economic success, China has many serious problems to overcome. China is a country of tremendous contrasts, with vast differences of growth in inland and coastal areas. Institution building has progressed and numerous laws have been created over the last 10 to 15 years, but these efforts have been constrained by inconsistent implementation of laws and reluctance of the CCP to subject itself to the boundaries of new institutional arrangements. Further, he discussed the strains China faces as the country slowly sheds its Stalinist industrial model, endures massive layoffs, and strives to create a new social security network. Despite the challenges China faces, Kapp emphasized the general optimism of U.S. companies involved in China. Upon WTO accession, it is inevitable that China will come closer to fundamental international commercial practices and will further undergo economic pluralization. American companies have been a positive influence in encouraging this process. Commercial involvement is the best asset the U.S. has in trying to manage various aspects of the U.S.-China relationship.
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