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Debating Chinese Protectionism

Interviewees: Stephen S. Roach, Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asia
Gary C. Hufbauer, Senior Fellow, Institute for International Economics
Interviewer: Roya Wolverson, Staff Writer,
October 29, 2010

China's economic policies have come under increasing scrutiny in the runup to the November meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul, South Korea. U.S. officials say the country's currency value is dampening U.S. efforts to increase exports and domestic hiring. Officials are also concerned about China's restrictions on rare earths exports (minerals needed to produce products like windmills, cell phones, and solar panels), "indigenous innovation" policies that favor Chinese state-run firms, and its skirting of intellectual property rules. But analysts disagree about the best way to address these issues. Morgan Stanley's Steven Roach says U.S. objections to China's currency and trade policies are overwrought. The United States should let China open its markets over time, he says, since erecting trade barriers against the country will only harm U.S. access to China's growing markets down the road. But Peterson Institute's Gary Hufbauer argues that too much timidity with China does not serve U.S. interests. He recommends taxing China on its foreign reserve holdings to ensure the country will bring its policies in line with U.S. concerns.

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