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Is A Trade War Just One Tweet Away?
2nd Round table by Zentrum Liberale Moderne and Bertelsmann Stiftung

© Thomas Kunsch© Thomas Kunsch

On September 25, we meet in Berlin to discuss options on how to deal with the escalating Chinese-American trade war. Speakers include Norbert Röttgen, Thorsten Benner, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Didi Kirsten Tatlow and Eckart von Unger.

Apocalypse 2020

Consider this scenario: It’s summer 2020, after an attack by Chinese hackers on the re-election campaign of US President Donald Trump, the conflict between the two states escalates. The global economy plunges into recession. At its 12th ministerial conference, the WTO is de facto buried shortly after its 25th birthday. The United States now turns exclusively to regional and bilateral agreements. China is opposed to this with its “One belt, one road” initiative. Both economic powers are defining zones of influence in which they dictate their own rules and standards. The world economy and its common regulatory framework lie in ruins.

Caught Between China and the U.S.

Is this just dark doomsday fiction? Or is it a reality that is only a few steps – or tweets – away? With China catching up, political and economic rivalry with the United States has steadily increased. The new power relations call the existing world economic order into question from two sides: from a US administration that opposes the liberal order, which is decisively shaped by America, and from a China that pursues a tough national interest policy behind multilateral rhetoric. Germany and Europe seem shocked and incapable of action to find their own position, let alone save the liberal international order that they so depend upon.

Options for Europe and Germany

How explosive is the current escalation dynamic between the United States and China? What opportunities are there for Germany and Europe to interrupt them or at least limit their effects? Where does the EU stand in the conflict between the two giants? Do we need new “Coalitions of the Willing” for free trade and fair framework conditions? What alliances are possible? We look forward to discussing these questions in the 2nd round table of our joint series with Zentrum Liberale Moderne in which we try to identify options on how to strengthen confidence in our liberal economic order and an open world economy.

List of Speakers

Speakers include Norbert Röttgen (Member of the German Bundestag, Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs), Thorsten Benner (Director, Global Public Policy Institute), Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff (Vice-President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States), Didi Kirsten Tatlow (Former Visiting Academic Fellow, Mercator Institute for China Studies), and Eckart von Unger (Deputy Head, Department for External Economic Policy, Federation of German Industries).

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