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Watch List of Negative US-China Relationship Drivers

December 2020 | Excel Database

Through the course of recent China CEO Council meetings and many on-going discussions with China Center members, we continue to deepen our understanding of trends in US-China relations, and in Sino-Western relations more broadly. Our goal is to help members see beyond the beleaguering current news cycle and political dynamic to inform a medium-term view that supports your strategic planning at this difficult juncture. 

Our base case scenario is that, due to a confluence of factors, US-China relations will remain fraught for some time and that tensions will remain elevated, but that broad, hard, policy actions that effectively prevent US-China or EU-China commercial flows will not be forthcoming in the foreseeable future (12-24 months). (The scenario is outlined in this “Forward Thinking” piece we issued in May.) The scenario assumes that sufficient pragmatism will prevail on both sides, and that a “gray swan” event that could potentially “trigger” a course change towards to a hard stoppage in US-China business, either broad or sector specific, will not occur. 

Many members have engaged us in discussion about potential gray swans, their likelihoods, and their potential impacts. This work has culminated in the attached Watch List of US-China Triggers. The list is hypothetical. The list is not definitive. The list of developments, and the associated impact assessment for each one, is subject to change, and potential impacts would necessarily be influenced by a huge number of conditionalities. The work is designed to provide a framework for more detailed, company-specific discussions about risks and their potential impacts, and the contingency planning requirements therein.


Last update: Dec 24, 2020



David Hoffman

Senior Vice President Asia and Managing Director of the China Center for Economics & Business
The Conference Board



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David Hoffman

Senior Vice President Asia and Managing Director of the China Center for Economics & Business


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