Sure China is a competitor but it's also a marketplace

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Much of the press coverage on the current state of US-China commercial relations is focused on competition, and not enough on the market for American goods and services.

China as a competitor has been dominating press headlines for years. Candidates seeking high office in the United States have been informing voters that China is a competitor and the only solution is tough action. Political columnists use China to score easy points and advance one-sided protectionist remedies.

Years of one-sided opinion is having a negative impact on US-China commercial relations and is fostering a tit-for-tat retaliatory tariff environment.

In the United States, negative views of China have increased by 26 percentage points between 2006 and 2016. And American negativity towards China has been higher than Chinese negativity toward the United States in every year since 2014.

A January 2017 Pew Research survey of Americans found that 65 percent of respondents said China is either an adversary (22 percent) or a serious problem (43 percent), while only about a third (31 percent) said China is not an issue.

And in a separate Spring 2016 survey by Pew Research, a majority (55 percent) of Americans held an unfavorable opinion of what more and more Americans see as their largest Asian rival.

This hostile environment is the public affairs reality that American business is facing right now.

Many now see China, one of America's most significant and most promising markets, as a loser for US business. Unfortunately, this belief is fertile ground for politicians supporting protectionist policies and trade halting tariffs. Actions that if successfully passed would force Beijing to respond with retaliatory trade tactics including increased limits stifling full access to the growing Chinese consumer marketplace for American goods and services.

It is time for those that care about a productive and engaged US-China commercial relationship to take these polls seriously and engage Americans in Main Street coffee shops and at picnic tables for backyard BBQs.

For far too long American business has overly relied on a model dependent on high-level government relationships and support from the White House and corresponding federal agencies to manage the US-China relationship.

This model to manage the US-China relationship is exhausted and broken.

US companies exported $135 billion in goods to China in 2017, and it is still the third-largest US goods export market behind Canada and Mexico, our neighbors and NAFTA partners.

Thirty states experienced at least triple-digit goods export growth to China since 2006, and four states saw growth of more than 500 percent over the same period: Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Every US state had triple-digit services export growth to China since 2006, 16 states had export growth of more than 400 percent.

At a grassroots level, it is critical to remind Americans US goods and services exported to China come from a wide range of industries. Goods such as transportation equipment, agriculture products, computers and electronics, and chemicals. These exports also sustain logistics jobs in America’s ports and warehouses throughout the country.  Also, US services exports come from the travel, education, and transportation sectors as well as professional business and financial services.

Leaders of American business needs to play a decisive role in reversing this trend and ensuring American goods and services reach the ever-expanding Chinese marketplace. Sitting on the sidelines will be too detrimental for America's economic security. 

- Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps international business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and politics.

America’s CEOs need to do more to reverse US-China trend

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If negative views of a company increased by 26 percentage points over a decade, the chief executive officer of said company would have a major problem.

In fact, that CEO would probably be asked to leave.

Sadly, when it comes to US-China relations no one seems to care, and no one has been asked to leave.

In the United States, negative views of China have increased by 26 percentage points between 2006 and 2016. And American negativity toward China has been higher than Chinese negativity toward the United States in every year since 2014.

A January 2017 Pew Research survey of Americans found that 65 percent of respondents said China is either an adversary (22 percent) or a serious problem (43 percent), while only about a third (31 percent) said China is not an issue.

And in a separate Spring 2016 survey by Pew Research, a majority (55 percent) of Americans held an unfavorable opinion of what more and more Americans see as their largest Asian rival.

This is the public affairs reality that the CEO leadership of America’s blue-chip multinational companies are facing right now.

One of their largest and most promising markets is seen domestically as the home of an adversary power that allows fertile ground for politicians supporting protectionist policies and trade halting tariffs on Capitol Hill. Actions that if successfully passed would force Beijing to respond with retaliatory trade tactics from less investment here to increased limits stifling full access to the growing Chinese consumer marketplace for American farmers and exporters.

However, in the cozy and elite world of U.S.-China commercial relations where most of the work takes place in posh hotels and big chair summits, the deterioration of the way Americans see China seems to have escaped the captains of industry. Boardrooms across the nation continue to operate as if all is smooth and satisfactory.

It is time for those that care about a productive and engaged US-China commercial relationship to take these polls seriously and engage Americans in Main Street coffee shops and at picnic tables for backyard summer BBQs.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and entrepreneurial startups, Marc helps international business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and politics.

Managing globalization to meet your business destiny

“This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent
that the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
– George Orwell


Globalization has significantly changed the nature of American politics forging a new generational paradigm. 

How business proceeds in this new public affairs environment is a challenge that few are ready to engage.

The election of Donald Trump has uniquely changed the Republican Party into something entirely different than it was just two years ago. Bernie Sanders, who forced Hillary Clinton to tack left in the primaries, has done the same to the Democratic Party.  

For Election 2018 and Election 2020, American politics will see a tremendous amount of shifting and movement between the two parties as they redefine themselves and or break into four rioting parties operating as two parties.

With an endless news cycle, a continuous flow of global commerce, politicians advancing protectionist laws globally, and committed geopolitical powers looking to reset the landscape, American politics is being shaped from many directions and far beyond America's shores. Decisions made in Beijing now impact events in Brussels which in turn compels policy in Washington, DC.

The ability to manage this dynamic, globalized political environment, particularly at the intersection of business and public policy, coupled with an underlying cultural phenomenon rejecting the establishment, this new environment is more challenging for American government officials, policymakers, voters, and companies.

The pace involved in addressing political challenges has increased as well as the scale of the problems due to a globally diverse network of stakeholders. American voters have spoken and demanded a more significant share of the profits. The traditional capitalist ideal of being responsible solely to shareholders in under threat and business going forward will involve numerous stakeholders, including governments, media, bloggers, consumers, non-governmental organizations, investors, employees, and citizens. For leaders, simply put, there are a lot more people that will hold you accountable and want a say in the process.

For global business leaders to be successful going forward, they must have the dispassionate skill to understand and engage global problems, foster economic development and opportunities, and manage a globally interconnected communications marketplace all influencing and disrupting American politics like never before.

Is your business prepared to handle and understand America's next generation and rendezvous with destiny?

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and entrepreneurial startups, Marc helps international business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and politics. 

Ross Rant: Think populism is slowing down? Check out how Ontario voted

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Populism establishes a beachhead in Canada's most prosperous and most important province of Ontario.

To understand what will happen with American politics and upcoming elections, I find exploring elections in other Western democracies to be an essential tool.

Last Thursday night, Doug Ford was elected as the next Premier of Ontario. A new expansion of populism now confronts Canada. Think Trump lands in Ontario.

CBC's Chris Hall wrote, "Doug Ford — the bombastic, blustering and populist former Toronto city councilor — is going to be the next premier of Canada's most populous province. His victory, convincing as it was, came with an exclamation mark. He put an end to 15 straight years of Liberal rule."

Toronto Star columnist Edward Keenan echoed the same scripting "Ford era promises a rocky road ahead for all of us."

He went onto say "the next four years under Premier Doug Ford: constant reasons to wonder about the malice vs. incompetence debate, with a loud portion of Ford’s supporters hoping and cheering for the former option. And many of the rest of us hoping instead for the latter, because perhaps if a problem is caused by incompetence, there is some hope it will be fixed, as those who caused it realize their mistake or grow more competent and capable."

@Richard_Florida tweeted: Ontario went from being a pro-urban province/ state like California or New York to joining the ranks of anti-urban Red states ... 

I don't see the expansion of populism around Great Lakes stopping any time. Until CEOs of multinational corporations, Governors, and Mayors show leadership and engage voters in the Midwest on the value of globalization, this will be the result at the ballot box.

Endless outrage by the coastal elites will do little to change election outcomes.

Cross the Hudson and be in Cleveland.

Cross the Potomac and be in Detroit.

This is the three-part question facing US voters in 2018 and 2020: Do we protect the jobs of the past or invest in the jobs of the future? Do we subsidize the grey hairs or invest in today's 8th graders? Do we want to be part of a global world or not?

Voters today want protection, subsidies, and unilateralism.

Plan accordingly.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of international politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and American politics.

US-China technology and data war - political fear or business reality?

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The dominance of US semiconductor technology in Chinese phones makes for great angst in Beijing. It reveals Americans firms are generations ahead in semiconductor and other technologies - we are talking 20 to 30 years. In assembly factories across the China, the critical parts that go into phones, tablets, routers, vehicles, even airplanes, are often imports from advanced economies like the United States.

The Chinese government has ambitious plans to end this dependence.

“Techno-nationalism has a long and stellar history in China,” said Damien Ma, fellow and associate director of Paulson Institute think tank in Chicago. “During Mao’s time, they always wanted to have some semblance of technological self-sufficiency. And I don’t think that in itself is surprising or odd. Many countries want it.”

Many Trump administration officials call these Chinese plans “frightening” and a direct national security threat and a sound reason to impose tariffs on Chinese products. Some American academics and politicians fear China will soon enjoy global domination of many high-tech sectors at the expense of many Western industrial economies.

Does this matter?

Will it happen?

Do you think America's biggest and best businesses are sitting still and not moving forward?

Also, do you think China can execute?

Business plans mean little if you can't execute, ship, and scale.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of international politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and American politics.