The Quad


Sounds like a Hollywood movie title.


The Quad was profiled in the Asian meetings that Trump attended last Autumn. It is the USA, Australia, Japan and India. It is unashamedly a counter to BRI in Asia. Never underestimate anything involving the USA. And is its market TPP, and is that why the USA removed itself to a higher level manager of TPP?


And is this part of an unfolding two world strategy from the USA to isolate China and friends and protect the Western leadership of the economically developed economies?


I cannot answer that . But it looks like a measured variation of TPP and TTIP and leaves Europe gasping for a role and profile in Asia.


What will be its source of money and at what rate? The problem with financing infrastructure is the long period involved due to the low returns. Maybe the governments will just do a new version of qe2 and print money for this. There are several models that could be followed.


But there are high quality companies that could tender for the work but at higher costs than Chinese companies. The trade-offs will be interesting.


I wonder if the quad has the skills and resources that China has. I doubt China will allow itself to be distracted except where Quad interferes with its priorities. So let’s wait and see if we have two organisations operating alongside each other, or competing for identical regions and deals. If it is the latter then the host Governments may be exposed to pressures to make choices.


This could unwittingly help BRI if its objective is to develop a modern infrastructure from the Pacific to the Atlantic and  down through Africa – the Ecumene as it used to be called.


Liu He goes to Washington


Among all the rumours circulating ahead of the National Peoples Congress in two weeks, is that Liu He will become a Government leading figure after years being a leading figure in the development and management of economic and financial policy. A calm and clear thinking man, bringing him to the fore of the Governments work and introducing him as a key figure in major relationships such as that with the USA, will bring a new level of economic professionalism into Chinese Government dealings.


The USA and China can look forward to a new type of relationship based on cooperating or competing. He is very well versed in Western models and issues as well as playing a key role in the Chinese development model for many years.


Together with Wang Huning the two represent, perhaps, the movement of two Party heavyweights into the front line of Government work. It means more fusing of the traditional roles of the Party – developing and supervising implementation of policies – and Government – implementing policies.


It will be interesting to see how this affects the traditional work policies of those functions. Maybe another streamlining is happening which will simplify the process of reforming the financial sector and the economy as a whole. It makes for an interesting prospect of what has been two major units – Government and Party – becoming more integrated.




The moment when new Government posts are announced. Traditionally the media has focused on the Vice Premiers, especially the Executive Vice Premier. That will continue to be important, but so will moves to untie aspects of the Party and Government in areas such as anti-corruption and economic management. These reforms will confound those who like to describe the Chinese Communist Party as Leninist ie dour, heavy, bureaucratic and power based. The evidence is the Party has been the most flexible and innovative guide to Government in the world for the last 40 years, and is about to reform itself again.


As with many such changes, the words will not describe the effect that is to materialise. My sense is a new group of Party officials who have played key roles behind the scenes are about to become front line. That means they are going to manage and conduct a significant period of reform and opening up.


Of course the USA could try to stall this by beefing up the temperature with China. but it looks like the USA is about to receive offers to cooperate that it might find just about right. Not the outbreak of a great love fest, but a period of economic growth in the West stimulated from Asia and Africa.


An interesting period is unfolding. But this is also an antidote to the spectre of conflict as nations are encouraged to build their military capacities. Let us hope the economic opportunity will rule the day. Let us hope that Europe and the UK are once again taken by surprise by USA moves with China – the fourth time in 50 years.


Interesting times and for companies a time to be prepared to revise substantially their analysis of the economic world, and thereby their own strategies. A time for Chairmen and CEO’s to get on planes and meet the new economy. A time for governments to develop clear and new international policies and structures. A time for the UK to get ahead of the pack perhaps?


Happy New Year of the Dog



Categories: Leaders, poli, Uncategorized

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