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Journal of Commerce Editor Reiterates ‘It’s Time for U.S. To Engage China’s Belt and Road’

June 18, 2017 (EIRNS)—Last week’s article by the Transportation Department senior international advisor Tony Padilla, published in the Journal of Commerce on June 9, calling U.S. involvement in the Belt and Road of "strategic importance," was echoed by a June 17 article by the Executive Editor of the Journal of Commerce, Mark Szakonyi, who again made the case, quoting extensively from Padilla’s article, as the briefing reported last week.

While somewhat sharing of the paranoia that China will control all the world’s ports, Szakonyi also draws the same conclusion as Padilla: The United States should begin to work with the Belt and Road in order to have a say in its development:

It’s unclear if China will use its industrial policy to promote its domestic champions, whether shippers or transportation providers, at the expense of non-Chinese peers. A World Economic Forum report noted in February that countries that control ports and global transport routes can engage in economic coercion by determining which carriers can call and how efficiently. U.S. engagement with the Belt and Road program could ensure that Chinese-run marine terminals are agnostic to the nationality of their users,"

Szakonyi writes.

"Because business norms in countries in which Belt and Road investments are made are influenced by state-run policies, Padilla recommends that the United States engage in top-down and bottom-down diplomacy. Such a campaign requires [says Padilla] ‘a robust, private and Cabinet-level drive that pursues meaningful and long-lasting relationships with [Belt and Road] governments and local industry,’ while engaging transportation, maritime, and commerce ministers, provincial leaders, port authorities, and terminal operators. At the same time private sector leaders should also be engaging those leaders."

Szakonyi ends his article with Padilla’s primary conclusion:

"If coordinated well, such as the Chinese do, opportunities will exist where both parties can meet in the middle to engage in win-win arrangements that ultimately benefit the U.S. economy."