On Monday the renminbi (RMB -- Chinese currency) will step into Canada with the inauguration of the only RMB hub in the Americas. We know in Canada it will be greeted with fanfare, but what is less certain is whether or not Canadian exporters and international investors will take action once the celebration ends. Should they?
The Obama administration, the Harper government and the Peña Nieto administration in Mexico all hope to boost economic growth and create jobs by opening up global markets and letting the best North American firms and workers compete. Before stepping into the ring with the world's heavyweight economies, North America needs to listen to Muhammad Ali.
My views of China are too conflicted for me to name it as the country I most admire. However, I remain grateful that Justin Trudeau had the intellectual courage to encourage Canadians to learn from China. If we want healthy political discourse in our country, we must listen and learn when politicians answer questions with responses that are honest rather than poll tested. If our politicians are not willing to study and learn from China, Canada is not benefiting from the political leadership we need.
Nearly every speaker made reference to the disappointing global growth of recent years, and the recent slowing of Emerging Asia. Nonetheless, all took comfort in the observation that growth will be faster in the Asia-Pacific region than anywhere else on the planet. The contagion of Western pessimism seems to have stopped at Asia's door.
As prosperity spreads and its economy grows there's another 600 million people in China striving to reach middle class status. While this undoubtedly creates challenges for Chinese policy makers, it represents a tremendous economic opportunity for North America, a highly favored destination for Chinese investors.
The Chinese government would like to believe that both earthquakes were the result of the natural movement of the earth's crust -- an "Act of God." But, mounting scientific evidence suggests that the Wenchuan earthquake was more likely a man-made disaster, triggered by the nearby Zipingpu hydro power dam.
Contrary to what you might have heard, it's impossible to judge the CNOOC-Nexen affair until the public receives some clarity regarding the list of undertakings that CNOOC has promised the federal government. And when those undertakings are made public, it's going to be pretty interesting to see what kind of measures the government required of CNOOC, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, in order to create a net benefit for Canada.
Mention exchange rates and most Canadians will immediately assume U.S. dollars. With most of our trade still denominated in USD, the fixation is natural. China is seen by many as an upcoming reserve currency, but that day is still a long way off. On both Canadian and world stages, the greenback still takes the lead role. But as we move into the next growth cycle, others will play increasingly significant supporting roles.
Weakness in the developing world has had an ugly recent effect: vibrant Asian economies wilted over the summer months, and now face a less certain path in the months ahead. Vaunted as a key engine of the world economy, Asian economic powerhouses are now contributing to the pervasive sense of global gloom. Will Asia self-start, or will re-ignition require a boost from another battery?