China on the World Stage

David Dollar: Well I still think for China, economics is more important than politics. So I think . . . China has become a major trading partner for many different parts of the world. Soon China will be a bigger trading partner for Africa than the United State is. I think China has already replaced the United States as South Korea's biggest trading partner. So there are going to be a lot of different trading countries in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, for whom China is going to become a dominant trading and investing partner. And I think that's a very important part of modern reality. Mostly those trade and investment exchanges are beneficial for both sides. Trade is a win-win. So I think there's a lot of good will toward China around the world because it is generating a lot of prosperity, and it's supporting economic growth. In Africa, for example, the last few years have been the best economic growth in decades. And a lot of that has to do with Chinese trade and investment coming into Africa. So if you look at opinion surveys, most of the African population is very enthusiastic about China's rise. They see it as creating new opportunities, a little bit of competition with the United States. That's a healthy thing from the point of view of Africans and other countries that are outside of the U.S. orbit. So I think on the economic side China is winning a lot of friends. Certainly in the more advanced countries like the United States and Europe, people are worried about job loss because China comes in very competitively in the more labor intensive products. And that puts pressure on the labor market in the U.S. and Europe. So that creates some tension, some hostility that needs to be managed. They're certainly . . . On the political side, China is making a big effort to win friends. So it has started a major program of foreign assistance targeted specifically to Africa and developing parts of Asia. It's early days, but I think the Chinese will probably make this work pretty well. They'll probably provide pretty effective assistance in Africa and some of the poorer parts of Asia. And I think that's a very positive development for the world.

Recorded on: 7/3/07

Dollar talks about China's rising profile on the African continent.

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