Not too long ago, I read an Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article that began as follows:
To drum up foreign investment in the county and more international carriers for Ontario International Airport, Curt Hagman returns to China on Thursday, six months after his last trip established business partnerships with regional officials.
The vice chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and a commissioner of the Ontario International Airport Authority, Hagman leads a delegation Thursday through Feb. 25 to the cities of Wuxi, China, and Taoyuan, Taiwan. With him will be OIAA CEO Kelly Fredericks, Hagman said.
Now my regular readers may be wondering why I'm not writing about this in my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog. The reason's simple; Hagman isn't the only person heading to China. I just read about another group going there; not from Ontario, but from Quebec:
The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and its Acclr team of international trade experts kicked off a six-day trade mission to China [on February 16]. The trade mission gets started aboard Air Canada's inaugural direct flight between Montréal and Shanghai. This is a unique opportunity for participants to create ties with the business communities in Shanghai and Hong Kong, centres of economic growth for China.
China was always the odd country out in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, so these moves to increase trade with China would have been welcome even if the TPP process had continued. (And remember that if Trump hadn't pulled out of TPP, Clinton said that she would have done so.) And with TPP now pretty much dead, China is pursuing its own partnerships on a bilateral basis - or perhaps eventually on a multinational one, as I previously noted.
As [Sumantra] Maitra poses the argument, two new coalitions of nations are forming. One consists of the nationalists – the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and possibly other European nations in the coming months – nations who value nationalism and protectionism. According to Maitra, the other coalition consists of nations such as China who remain committed to globalism.
Maitra went on to note (in an article posted at china.org.cn):
Smaller countries will automatically coalesce around the powers which are more open to trade....
So China is effectively creating its own "trans-Pacific partnership," and the smaller powers are trying to jump on the bandwagon. But the smaller powers don't have much power here; if they did, then Curt Hagman and CCMM wouldn't be flying to China; China would be flying to San Bernardino County and Montreal.
Perhaps it's relevant to republish this quote from Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal book:
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
Actually, that quote doesn't come from Trump.
It comes from Sun Tzu.