The Obama era of U.S.-China economic relations


How did the U.S.-China economic relationship evolve during the Obama administration? Are the economic tensions we see today between the two countries a product of inevitable forces, or more contingent on the choices of the Trump and Xi administrations?

To discuss these topics and more, we have on today’s show Caroline Atkinson, who served as President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international economics.

Early in the episode, Atkinson says, “On the issue of getting the U.S. wrong, many people, obviously inside the United States, but also in very close allies, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, I think there has been a considerable amount of bafflement about President Trump,” including “confusion and uncertainty about what to expect.”

Also, at the 11-minute mark: “President Obama really did believe that, on the economic side, a strong and stable and prosperous and growing China was in the interest of the United States as well as in the interest of China. He believed that — and we all believed that — China is integrated and integral to the strength of the world economy, and that having China’s buy-in as a stakeholder, seeing itself clearly as a stakeholder, in a well-functioning global economy was going to support U.S. interests as well as Chinese interests.”

This podcast was edited and produced by Jason MacRonald.