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International Seminar Series: “The Chinese Economy and U.S.-China Trade War”

Wednesday, September 18th 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Event Description

China’s rise from a poor country to a middle-income economy since the late 1970 has been spectacular. In 40 years (1978-2018), China has experienced the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in human history, with GDP growth averaging 9.5%. Such growth has made China to be the world’s second largest economy and the largest U.S. trading partner. However, the emergence of China as a major economic power has raised concern among U.S. policymakers, and the Trump administration initiated a trade war against China in 2018. The trade war seems to focus on two issues: trade deficits and industrial policies. China is a dominant source of US trade deficits in recent years, but major causes seem to be on the U.S. side: too low U.S. saving rate in the short run and US dollar as world money in the long run. This implies that the trade war cannot reduce the deficits but trade deficit with China only, just like the shift of trade deficits from Japan to China after the trade war against Japan in the 1980s-1990s. The U.S. accuses China of using industrial policies to promote innovation in specific high-tech industrial sectors/firms. In history, the U.S. closed the tech-gap with the UK successfully by implementing industrial policies, and China is doing the same as the US. The purpose of the trade war seems to stop the rise of China.

Dr. Kevin H. Zhang is professor of economics at Illinois State University. He received his PhD from University of Colorado-Boulder and completed his post-doctoral research at Harvard University.  Before joining ISU, Dr. Zhang served as consultant for the Harvard Institute of International Development. Dr. Zhang’s research field includes international trade-investment and the Chinese economy. In addition to 5 books on international investment and trade, Dr. Zhang has published over 80 journal articles and book-chapters in leading journals such as Journal of Development Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Development Studies, Contemporary Economic Policy, China Economic Review, Review of Development Economics, and International Review Economics and Finance. Dr. Zhang is associate editor of The Chinese Economy published by Taylor & Francis and editorial board member for several journals such as Online Journal of Social Sciences Research, Journal of Chinese Economics and Foreign, and The Open Urban Studies Journal. Dr. Zhang served as vice president of Chinese Economists Society for two terms (2000-01 and 2002-03).

The International Seminar Series offers the Illinois State campus and Bloomington-Normal communities weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.

Series events have become one of the most popular internationally focused events on campus and continue to draw ever-growing crowds of students, faculty and community members. Audience members are given time at each event to raise questions to enable a two-way participation and learning.

International Seminar Series events are free and open to the public and occur every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. The Fall 2019 series will focus on understanding contemporary China.

If you will need special accommodations, please contact the event organizer.


Office of International Studies and Programs
(309) 438-5276


Bone Student Center
Brown Ballroom 1