The United States and China: a quest for global economic leadership

Experts analyse economic tensions between global superpowers.

Members event, Panel
3 March 2022 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

Recent American administrations have made concerted efforts to challenge the economic rise of China. As Chinese influence begins to expand beyond the East Asian region, the US is reacting with a policy of containment. Trade conflict between the two superpowers is already well underway. Tariffs have been implemented and trade between the two is challenged, both are seeking influence abroad and the using economics as their primary weapon. No more so is this evident than the Belt and Road Initiative adopted by President Xi Jinping in an attempt to increase China’s presence abroad.

Parallels have been drawn to the major economic shifts of the past; Great Britain’s abdication of world economic hegemon in the 1930s; the economic vacuum created in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in the late 1980s. Are we on the verge of another major global economic shift? Or, does this look more like a new Cold War?

The panel of experts will discuss:

  • Is trade and economic conflict likely to expand into a broader ‘hot conflict’ between the US and China?

  • What are the risks of economic decoupling for both countries?

  • What policy would the US be best advised to take if it is to retain its economic position?

  • Is China likely to operate within established global economic frameworks?

  • How likely is a new Cold War between the US and China? Are we already there? How would it differ from the last Cold War? 

This event forms part of Chatham House’s continuing work on the Geopolitical impact of US-China Competition.

As with all Chatham House member events, questions from members drive the conversation.

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