Assessing the China Challenge – Bridging the Divide

Council Meeting Agenda | Thursday, June 16, 2022

Assessing the China Challenge – Bridging the Divide

Trendlines in US and EU-China geopolitical dynamics are increasingly fraught, whilst numerous gray swans that could potentially drive business-ending schisms in Sino-western relations are clear and present, not least growing US and allied concerns about the nature of China’s “unbounded friendship” with Russia. It’s not a comforting picture. Indeed, most best-case scenarios assume that relations don’t worsen further from their current bad level. Few see improving relations in the cards anytime soon.

Amidst this backdrop, China business, and China’s regional political and economic engagement, is becoming ever-more complicated, costly and risky. For most companies, disengagement is not an option. China remains a critically important market and sourcing location, and any conceivable supply chain reconfigurations would take years to establish at “China scale”. Western business and the global economy are coupled with China – and deeply so – whether policy makers like it or not. Meanwhile, on the sustainability front, decarbonization progress in China is of paramount importance to global climate goals. If China fails to achieve its 2030 GHG peak emissions and 2060 net-zero goals, the whole world will fail in its pursuit of holding the average temperature increase to the 1.5°C limit.

Within this context, MNCs have a critically important role to play vis-à-vis China that spans two dimensions:

  • Maintaining high quality commercial ties that improve mutual understanding and trust and support peaceable relations.
  • Deploying corporate knowledge, knowhow, and competencies to helping China – via customer, partner, regulator, and public engagement – advance its sustainability and decarbonization progress.

This session of the Asia Corporate Leadership Council will feature briefings and facilitated discussion by Conference Board China Center experts to contextualize, unpack, and illuminate these two imperatives. The session will feature two parts:

  1. Sino-Western Geopolitical Dynamics and Planning Assumptions. A look at major external and internal economic and policy trends, key policy issues and risks, and main scenario drivers looking forward. How can MNCs navigate the middle ground in China and work to reduce the national security and public interest concerns of both sides?
  2. China’s Climate Transition Challenges. An assessment of the China’s current emissions and environmental situation, and its key climate planning targets as outlined in the 14th Five Year Plan and other important government documents. A frank appraisal of the challenges that lie ahead. Where and how can MNCs contribute to positive environmental progress in China?

Agenda details are as follows:

8:30-8:45am:      Welcome the Members and session kick-off

8:45-9:30am:      Sino-Western Relations: “Navigating the ‘New Era’ of Great Uncertainty in China”. Member discussion and debate.

9:30-10:30am:    Unpacking The China Climate Challenge. Member discussion and debate.

10:30am:             Close

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