The two economies are so intertwined, historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick dubbed them “Chimerica” more than a decade ago. In this loop, American shoppers snap up cheap, Chinese-made widgets while the massive trade surpluses that result are funneled back into Treasuries. That keeps the yuan weak, U.S. borrowing costs low and ensures that cash registers keep ringing on both sides of the Pacific.
Economic and Financial Policy Adviser, 65
Harvard-educated academic is believed to be Xi’s closest economic adviser and heads a key party policy panel
National Economic Council Director , 56
Former Goldman Sachs president emerged early as Trump’s go-to guy on regulation, infrastructure and the economy
Vice Premier, 62
China’s affable vice premier oversees trade, financial and economic policies, as well as top exchanges with the U.S.
Treasury Secretary, 54
Ex-Goldman banker and fair-trade proponent led U.S. efforts at G-20 to drop language opposing protectionism
Minister of Commerce, 61
New commerce minister brings experience as China’s top trade representative and previously worked with Xi
Commerce Secretary, 79
Billionaire investor called China the world’s “most protectionist” major nation and vowed tougher enforcement
Industry and Information Technology Minister, 61
Turnaround expert helped lead the “Made in China” industrial policies that foreign companies blame for shutting them out
White House Trade Council Chief , 67
“Death by China” author helped shape Trump’s anti-trade campaign rhetoric and advocates tougher enforcement
Trump wants to reshape the U.S.-Chinese economic relationship and has suggested American companies find alternatives to a system he blames for job losses and a trade deficit with China of almost $350 billion last year.
China’s Yuan Has Been Weakening
1USD = 6.050CNY
1USD = 6.884CNY
The real estate tycoon’s arsenal includes the steep tariffs advocated by long-time China critic Peter Navarro. He could also dub the country a currency manipulator, a move being considered by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
But the current set up works pretty well for Xi, who told global elites gathered in Davos, Switzerland, in January that, “waging a trade war will only cause injury and loss to both sides.” His options: Open up closed services industries like insurance and telecommunications, or shrug off U.S. demands and expand trade elsewhere.
Xi also needs access to the world’s biggest economy to keep his country producing higher-value goods. Programs such as the Made-in-China initiative overseen by Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei aim to expand manufacturing in new fields like robots, machine tools and medical devices by 2025.