Program | US-China Commercial Relations: The Way Forward | Aug 30

The Tennessee World Affairs Council and Belmont University Center for International Business


Global Dialogue

August 30, 2017

“US-China Commercial Relations: The Way Forward”

with John Scannapieco, Co-Chair, Global Business Team, Baker Donelson, Nashville

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Venue: Belmont University | MC 400 | Massey Business Center (#6 on map – link; parking garage P1 on map)


Did you know that Tennessee is the state “most reliant” on trade in goods with China according to the US Government? Of the hundreds of billions in goods traded between America and China last year Tennessee saw about 9.3% of its GDP dependent on China imports and exports. That relationship was significantly in favor of China with imports to Tennessee of $27 billion and only $2 billion in goods sent.

Why is it that Tennessee consumes so much Chinese “stuff?” The good news is that “Most of Tennessee’s imports from China are parts or products that are used to manufacture other products,” according to Dan Kopf writing in in April.  “Tennessee is a key hub in global supply chains, and might struggle to maintain that position without cheap inputs from China.”

What about the United States overall?  Total trade with China last year was about $650 billion with the trade deficit running $309 billion.  The United States was the largest supplier of goods to China in 2016 and the 3rd largest export market for its exports.

Given the magnitude of trade between the world’s first (United States) and second (China) largest economies what should we understand about the current and future commercial relationship with a country that is nearing a jump to becoming the top economic power?  In April President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at Mar a Lago to discuss the full range of bilateral issues and trade was among the top concerns.

In last year’s presidential campaign then candidate Trump – who was persistent in calling for action about China trade tactics — threatened to designate China a currency manipulator and to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods. Such moves have yet to be made, in part due to the fallout they could have on strategic political-military issues.

With this context in mind along with suggested readings and questions for discussion the scene is set for our conversation on August 30th with John Scannapieco, an expert on US-China trade and investment and Co-Chair of Baker Donelson’s Global Business Team.  You’re invited to participate in this important conversation about an issue impacting American prosperity and position in the global economic order.

Please review the suggested reading items to be better prepared to discuss this topic.

1 – “The Future of US-China Trade Relations: Insights from Ambassador Carla A. Hills,” The Diplomat, Mar 24, 2017

2 – “TPP: What is it and why does it matter?” BBC, Jan 23, 2017

3 – “The Trans-Pacific Partnership and US Trade Policy,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, Jan 31, 2017

4 – “Trump Administration to Take Harder Tack on Trade With China,” NYTimes, Apr 6, 2017

5 – Progress on Xi-Trump “10-Point Deal” – South China Morning Post

6 – “US-China Trade Facts,” Office of the US Trade Representative

7 – “The US states that rely the most on trade with China,” Quartz, Apr 6, 2017 (Tennessee is #1)


These questions and others will be used to guide our conversation.

1 – What are the parameters (magnitude, trend lines) for US trade in the Pacific, especially as a component of US-China relations?

2 – How does US trade in the Pacific impact U.S. economic well-being?

3 – How does US-China trade factor into the overall relationship given the friction that exists between Washington and Beijing on national security and other issues?

4 – Where does Tennessee fit in the Pacific trade picture?

5 – What are the consequences of President Trump’s withdrawal in January from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations – economically? politically?

6 – What can we expect to see in Pacific trade and US-China economic relations in coming years?

John Scannapieco
Attorney, Co-Chair Global Business Team; Shareholder – Baker Donelson

John-ScannapiecoJohn M. Scannapieco is a shareholder in the Nashville office of Baker Donelson and is a co-leader of the Firm’s Global Business Team. Business is increasingly global in scope with improved technology, transportation and communication, as well as increased migration and the movement of people, all of which has increased globalization, making cross-border business and trade more practical. John provides strategic guidance and counsel to businesses and individuals regarding their existing global operations or to those contemplating global expansion.

About the World Affairs Council’s Global Dialogue program.

Welcome to Global Dialogue — a program of the Tennessee World Affairs Council that offers a casual but structured discussion session for people to share their perspectives on current issues in global developments. Learn about these informative sessions and check the calendar (below) with links to individual discussion group details and registration information.


Why: Global Dialogue is a community discussion program organized by the Tennessee World Affairs Council. The purpose is to bring people together to learn more about the pressing international issues of the day, to exchange insights and perspectives and to achieve an understanding about the challenges facing America in the world.

How: Global Dialogue sessions are informal, salon-like gatherings held in areas convenient to the participants — downtown coffee shops, library meeting rooms, classrooms at colleges and schools. Participants review materials assembled on the web site in advance of the session to be prepared to engage in conversation with their neighbors and colleagues. Sessions are facilitated by a group leader, and may include a specialist to provide background and context, but the Global Dialogue sessions will ensure everyone gets to share their views of the issues.

Register for the sessions on the topic page — links on the World Affairs Council calendar.


When: Global Dialogue sessions will meet about once a month at a regular date/time/venue. Participants can go to as many different meetings in the same month as they choose. We anticipate having a monthly session on the Belmont University campus. Additional Global Dialogue sessions will be scheduled depending on demand.

Where: Global Dialogue session venues currently include the Belmont University campus. They have included coffee shops and libraries in downtown Nashville and the Green Hills area. Additional locations may be added in coming months depending on demand. Check back for details.

Who: Global Dialogue sessions are designed for the community to get together and share their perspective on important global issues. They are not limited to specialists or people with international affairs backgrounds. The Tennessee World Affairs Councils encourages local groups to get together, with or without Council coordination, under the rubric of Global Dialogue sessions, wherever is most convenient. Contact the council at for materials and tips. Participants in council organized Global Dialogue sessions will be encouraged to become members of the Tennessee World Affairs Council after attending their initial event.

What: Here is the calendar for upcoming Global Dialogue sessions including links to the program materials for each topic. Check back up through the evening of the session for updates.

To be updated on schedule changes make sure you’re on our email list: LINK TO SUBSCRIBE

The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at:  — 

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