“Always higher, always going on.”
– Motto of the Chinese Zodiac’s Rooster
It seems appropriate that China’s 2017 New Year is the year of the Red Fire Rooster. The tenth Chinese zodiac sign, the Rooster is known for ambition, pride, confidence, the desire to be admired, and courage. Adding the element of fire increases the Rooster’s enthusiasm, perseverance and passion for work. All roosters, it is said, enjoy bring the center of attention.
Could it be that it’s also the year of the Red Fire Rooster in the United States?
Just as the Chinese prepare for two weeks of revelry starting January 28, the spotlight is on U.S. President Donald Trump, who on his very first day in the Oval Office, cockily brandished his pen and announced that America is pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposed 12-nation trade pact, which was the centerpiece of the prior administrations Asian trade policy . Coupled with President Trump’s intentions to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the move highlighted the new administration’s commitment to shifting long-standing U.S. trade policies away from multilateral deals to bilateral deals with individual countries.
The U.S. Fire Rooster has landed.
The U.S’s withdrawal from TPP—which may sink the deal—is potentially significant for China. Some prognosticators believe it opens the door for China to play a bigger role in shaping Asia’s future economic environment, if not the world, where it’s already flexing its muscle in global industries like pharmaceuticals by rewriting internal policies that dictate how multi-national corporations can participate in its growing drug and healthcare economy. China is also championing a rival Asian trade grouping, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which better positions it to set standards on issues like labor rights and environmental protections.
Chinese Fire Roosters have been out in force this month. Last week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who stated his country’s commitment to free trade and making globalization work for all nations. Speaking with confidence on the world stage, he said, “The people of all countries expect nothing less from us, and this is our unshirkable responsibility as leaders of our times.”
Unlike last year’s WEF where attendees questioned the staying power of China’s economy, this year’s attendees hung on President Xi’s words, finally recognizing the world’s second largest economy is here to stay, and more importantly, will not be content sitting on the sidelines.
Batting cleanup at WEF was Jack Ma, CEO of China’s largest e-commerce company, who warned China and America to think carefully before starting a trade war. Ma, who had a successful meeting with Trump earlier in January, suggested China should let the dust of the U.S. election settle before reacting to President Trump’s rhetoric and his actions, which this week also included promises to U.S. union leaders to bring manufacturing and energy jobs back to the states.
PaizaBio agrees with Ma that neither China nor the United States stands to gain from a trade war; our nations are deeply intertwined and will benefit more from a more cohesive, collaborative relationship as witnessed by our own expanding operations in China. However, two Fire Roosters in the spotlight is sure to cause sparks. It is hoped that other common qualities—resourcefulness, courage and talent—prevail.
A special note: PaizaBio is pleased to be neighbors in China with Jack Ma. Our contract fill-and-finish operations along with our sterile university, the Trans-Pacific Aseptic Institute of Training, are located in Hangzhou as is Alibaba.