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【博客1】Taiwan's Trump?


Taiwanese voters may soon have a novel tool to break the political gridlock undermining the economy: a CEO president.


Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou is tossing his hat into the ring ahead of a 2020 campaign already captivating the island’s 24 million people. The impulse of supporters is clear enough: only a brash and visionary businessman can fix Taipei’s dysfunction.


Yet the beware-CEOs-seeking-elected-office line has ample support here in Asia. Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra leaps to mind.


Thaksin’s other sin was putting showmanship over substance. Rather than level the playing field and spread the benefits of growth, Thaksin doled out cash to rural communities. The sugar highs from that largess did zero to raise competitiveness, productivity or innovation. But it sure did endear Thaksin to the masses, even after his removal in a 2006 coup.


The problem? Politics is about inspiring and cajoling others to see your vision and help implement it. . They tend to rely more on gut feelings than empirical data sets. CEOs tend to see themselves as hirers, not people comfortable with asking voters for support.


South Koreans have lots to say about all this, harboring buyer’s remorse over electing Lee Myung-bak in 2008. At the time, Lee’s past as CEO of Hyundai Group’s engineering and construction units seemed an asset. The economy had been plodding along under the Roh Moo-hyun, a liberal human-rights activity with little economic experience.


【博客2】U.S. Should Still Welcome Investment From China


Relations between the U.S. and China are today undergoing some of their worst strains since the two established diplomatic ties 40 years ago. Negotiators from the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 economies are engaged in high-stakes talks to end what’s widely been called a “trade war.” Just this month, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan named China as America’s top national security threat. And yet at the same time, the two countries are among each other’s most important partners in international business.


Unless the area involved touches on national security matters, it would be a mistake for the U.S. to ignore the potential economic benefits of attracting more investment from China even today, says Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, a non-profit group supported by about 200 U.S. companies that seeks to expand trade and investment between the two countries.


“Last year, Chinese investment in the U.S. declined by 80%,” Allen noted in a recent interview. “In my view, and I think in the view of most mayors, governors and unemployed Americans who are looking for a job, that's a tragedy. We should put out the welcome mat for Chinese investors in the United States, absent any national security concerns.


We also know that there are challenges with any agreement. And I think that we could articulate them pretty clearly. One is when do the tariffs come down, and which tariffs come down? Both sides have tariffs. They tariff 85% of our products; we tariff 50% of theirs. Do they come down commensurately? Do the Chinese bring theirs down to normal and we keep some of ours? That's actually a very hard issue.


How the United States and China cooperate and compete in the technology area is under debate. It's very important that we address these issues. China and the United States have both benefited from cooperation in the technology area enormously.


R.What about U.S. investment into China?
S.A It’s a really interesting question. We don't have good data on this, China is going to be about a third of global growth for the next five years – a rough estimate.


Q. Do you believe that?
A. I do. What I don't believe is that those opportunities will be equally distributed across the world, so in other words, a lot of that is going to be reserved for Chinese. So many American companies are continuing their investment plans regardless. But many are adapting supply chains as well.