Wednesday, January 23, 3:00 p.m., The Arizona Senior Academy Building

The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017. The trade deficit exists because U.S. exports to China were only $130 billion while imports from China were $506 billion. Once shipped back to the U.S, they are considered imports. “Balance of trade” assigns the total cost of a product to the last country from which it was exported, even if a minority of the value was added in that country. 

The United States imported from China $77 billion in computers and accessories, $70 billion in cell phones, and $54 billion in apparel and footwear. Many of these imports are from U.S. manufacturers that send raw materials and/or components to China for low cost assembly.

Though arguably the most advanced economy in the world, the United States still uses centuries-old numbers to measure trade and value its economy. These antique numbers mangle understanding of the U.S.-China trade relationship, shrinking America’s true economic size and competitiveness, while swelling China’s. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), often used to measure the value of a nation’s economy, totals expenditures and exports but neglects human and natural resources.  Bad numbers give rise to bad policies that ultimately kill U.S. jobs and cede market share to China.

This first discussion of 2019 in the Great Decisions series from the Foreign Policy Association will be led by Neil Kochenour, a Village resident since 2007, and will address such issues as the inadequacy of the way “balance of trade” is calculated, the inefficacy of tariffs in preserving jobs, and a review of possibly more effective tools that might counter China’s unfair trade practices, that include stealing intellectual property rights, unfair subsidies, and safety violations.

Following Kochenour’s exposition there will be a short video from the FPA in which numerous experts give their opinions on the issues, and the session concludes with general discussion from the audience.

Jan. 23: “Decoding U.S.-China Trade”: Great Decisions