News November 10, 2020

China’s Fifth Plenum Decision and its Implications for China-U.S. “Decoupling”

Photo of the Forbidden City entrance with Mao Zedong's portrait
Markus Winkler on Unsplash

On November 10th, the APARC China Program convened an expert panel focused on the Decision of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, which took place on October 26-29.  The Fifth Plenum Decision outlines not only China’s 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025), but also Beijing’s economic blueprint through 2035 and the “goal of fully building a modern socialist country."  The CCP leadership recently articulated its “dual circulation” policy – viz., a drastic reduction in China’s dependence on U.S. technologies and increased reliance on domestic consumption while maintaining exports and attracting foreign direct investments.  At this critical juncture when the coronavirus pandemic has shrunk global trade and tensions between the U.S. and China continue to intensify, panel members were asked to examine what the Fifth Plenum Decision might signify.  Does it mark a significant shift in Beijing’s strategic economic orientation?  What are the short- and long-term implications of the Decision for China’s economic development strategy, U.S.-China relations, as well as the world’s economic and technology ecosystems?  

Guests heard from experts James Green, Damien Ma, and Xiaomeng Lu.  James Green, Senior Research Fellow at Georgeton University's Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues, has worked for over two decades on U.S.-Asia relations.  He has held several positions in government, including Minister Counselor for Trade Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and China Director of the White House’s National Security Council.  Damien Ma is the Director and co-founder of MacroPolo, the Think Tank of the Paulson Institute, which focuses on China's economics, technology, and politics.  He is also adjunct faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Finally, Xiaomeng Lu is a senior analyst in Eurasia Group's geo-technology practice.  She focuses on many of the most important issues related to China right now, including cybersecurity, data protection, artificial intelligence, internet governance, 5G, and trade.  The panel concluded with a discussion of audience questions. Watch: