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Monday, November 27, 2017 - 19:30

The Chicken or the egg: has global trade transformed China or has China transformed global trade as we know it?

Jörg Wuttke Vice President and Chief Representative of BASF China

Residence of the German Embassy
No. 17, Dong Zhi Men Wai Da Jie, Chao Yang District

北京市 朝阳区 东直门外大街17号 德国大使馆

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The recent 19th party congress provides a timely framework to analyze the significant economic trends we are witnessing in China today and what it means for China, and the rest of the world. 

Since China acceded to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001, the country’s importance to and impact on the global economy has expanded rapidly. This has been particularly notable since the global financial crisis in 2008. While this has created new opportunities and benefits for Europe, it has also brought with it important new challenges. One such challenge is the impact of industrial overcapacity in industries like steel that have resulted from the allocation of capital on non-commercial terms; the China Manufacturing 2025 (CM2025) initiative, that was announced in 2015, is another. The latter represents an attempt by the Chinese authorities to maintain a position as ‘masters’ of China’s economy instead of allowing the market to drive innovation and industrial upgrading. Since CM2025 also allocates capital on non-commercial terms, including through subsidies and government-backed investment funds, there is a risk that it will lead to overcapacity in advanced industries of importance to China’s economy. This concern is further exacerbated by the fact that as Chinese investment rapidly expands in Europe, the authorities continue to deny European business reciprocity in the Chinese market.

Jörg Wuttke is Vice President and Chief Representative of BASF China (the world’s largest chemical producer), based in Beijing. Since joining BASF in 1997, Mr. Wuttke has been responsible for helping guide the company’s investment strategies for China, negotiation of large projects and government relations. From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Wuttke was the Chairman of the German Chamber of Commerce in China.  From 2007 to 2010, and 2014 to 2017 he was the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

Since its establishment in 2013, Mr. Wuttke has been member of the Advisory Board of Germany’s foremost Think Tank on China, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), in Berlin. Mr. Wuttke holds a BA in Business Administration and Economics from Mannheim and studied Chinese in Shanghai 1982 and Taipei 1984-85. A frequent speaker on business and industry issues in China, he co-authored: “The Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry in China” by Springer Publishing Trust in 2005; “Energy Resources Security” by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in 2006; “The Handbook of Chinese Organizational Behavior: Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice” By Edgar Elgar Publishing in May 2012. In 2008, he is featured in the book “My 30 years in China” as one of 13 prominent expatriates in China.

The talk will be moderated by Jane Perlez, a long time foreign correspondent for The New York Times currently serving as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent in China. Ms. Perlez won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for coverage of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Born in London, Ms. Perlez grew up in Australia, and graduated from the University of Sydney. In 1967, she traveled to China with a group of Australian students who went for a vacation but ended up spending three weeks in the middle of the Cultural Revolution. Ms. Perlez began her career at The New York Times in 1981.