In this talk, Antony Blinken of the U.S. State Department will discuss China’s changing policy landscape and how US companies can best navigate its shifting policies on trade and investment.
There is no distinction between private business and the state in critical areas of technology and investments, for example, coming from China in certain sectors, and private enterprise in China is completely subject to the state. And if the government needs information, intellectual property, or anything else that one of these businesses has access to as a consequence of its investment or involvement, the government will have it. As a result, governments must be acutely aware of this. At the same time, I believe that what I’m hearing from corporations and governments throughout the globe is that, to the degree that China engages in oppressive actions at home, we don’t want to be in the business of supplying it with the technology it needs to do it well. And I believe you’re seeing that more and more throughout the globe. Similarly, we shouldn’t be in the business of collecting or purchasing items that are created through forced labor or worse. So there are certain safeguards in place, which I believe the world is erecting, but not for the goal of decoupling.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that corporations and governments should prevent China from gaining access to sensitive technology, particularly those that may be used as repressive tools.
Mr. Blinken told CEOs at the DealBook Online Summit that the border between the Chinese government and Chinese businesses is permeable.
“Private business and the state are inextricably linked.” Mr. Blinken told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that private business in China is “beholden to the state.” “If the government needs information, intellectual property, or anything else that one of these businesses has access to as a consequence of their investment and involvement, the government will have it.”
Mr. Blinken’s remarks come at a time when Beijing is tightening its grip on domestic economic activity, including clamping down on Chinese technology businesses that have collected money from international investors. Mr. Blinken believes that instead of decoupling from China, the US and other nations should guarantee that China plays by the rules when it comes to international commerce.
Mr. Blinken said, “It’s about making sure it’s done fairly, that we have a level playing field — that there’s true reciprocity in the way China interacts the rest of the world economically and the way the rest of us engage China.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook replied to accusations that he hasn’t done more to publicly criticize reports of human rights violations in China on Tuesday, when addressing at the DealBook Online Summit. Mr. Cook defended Apple’s low-key approach, claiming that the company speaks out discreetly about issues that affect it. Mr. Cook said, “Being on the sidelines is never a nice place to be, at least for business.” “The appropriate strategy is engagement.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Blinken said that firms doing business in China must determine whether or not to speak out on human rights problems. Mr. Blinken said, “What I’m hearing from business after company, in the United States and throughout the globe, is a definite emphasis on ensuring that they are not supplying technology to China or anybody else that may be used to oppress people.” He went on to say that forced labor is another problem that firms doing business in China should be aware of. Companies, on the other hand, confront difficult considerations when it comes to commenting on political topics, he noted. “I’ll leave it up to companies to determine how they want to tackle these challenges,” Mr. Blinken added. “I believe there are good-faith arguments in both ways.”
Mr. Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to past agreements to assist in Taiwan’s defense, which Beijing has long believed should be a Chinese territory. Mr. Blinken said, “We firmly oppose anybody taking unilateral action to change the status quo by force.”
Furthermore, he said that if China used force against Taiwan, other nations, including the United States, would see it as a “serious danger” to international peace and security. “They, too, would take action if it happened,” Blinken said.
Last year, General Motors produced more than ten times as many automobiles as Tesla and profited much more. Tesla, on the other hand, has a market capitalization of almost $1 trillion, more than ten times that of General Motors.
G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said it didn’t disturb her at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday. She expressed confidence that G.M.’s investment in electric cars will ultimately be repaid on the stock market.
“We invested over three, four years ago in electric cars, and GM is so cheap as we start this amazing moment,” Ms. Barra remarked.
Investors’ interest in electric car firms was proven once again on Wednesday, when Rivian’s stock started trading at a greater value than G.M.’s.
G.M. is in the middle of a $35 billion plan to invest in electric cars and self-driving technologies between 2020 and 2025. The corporation wants to build 20 new electric vehicles for the US market, remodel its plants to make them, and collaborate with LG Electronics to mass-produce battery packs.
Ms. Barra said, “We’ll have our own battery facility up and operating next year.” “So I’m looking forward to getting all of these cars out.” This, in my opinion, is a big potential for General Motors to capture a lot more value.”
G.M. plans to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2035, she said. “We’re going full throttle,” she remarked. “We’re E.V. ahead of schedule.”
The GMC Hummer pickup truck will be the first of the new generation of electric vehicles, followed by the Cadillac Lyriq, an electric sport utility vehicle.
Ms. Barra said, “I’m waiting for my Hummer.” “I was able to have my name added to the list.”
But there are many sectors of the economy that are critical to supporting modern life that are difficult to decarbonize, where we don’t have good solutions, and that’s where I believe a company like ExxonMobil can add value by bringing the technology capabilities that we have to bear, to see if we can’t find ways and introduce solutions that can help bridge that gap between what we need today and what we want for tomorrow.
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At the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday, Exxon Mobil CEO Darren W. Woods argued that his business should play a role in assisting the world economy’s transition to renewable energy.
In an interview with DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Mr. Woods stated, “There are a lot of areas of the economy that are vital to maintaining contemporary life but aren’t simple to decarbonize, where we don’t have viable solutions.” “Frankly, I believe a firm like Exxon Mobil can provide value in that area,” he added, by figuring out how to “bridge the gap between what’s required now and what we desire for future.”
When he went into an investor relations post at Exxon in 2001, Mr. Woods said he started to concentrate on climate change. He said, “That became a lot more clear aspect of the work and thinking.”
Mr. Woods said that the company’s public view on climate change was “quite consistent” with the scientific community’s broad knowledge. He supported an Exxon advertising in The New York Times in 2000 called “Unsettled Science,” which said, among other things, that “experts cannot ascribe the recent tiny surface temperature rise to human sources.”
Mr. Woods said, “If you read that piece in its entirety and get to the bottom of it, essentially it says enough is known now for corporations, governments, and individuals to begin making adjustments to attempt to address the danger of climate change.” He did admit, though, that the title “could be something that people can discuss and use as an example.” After a secret audio made public in July uncovered an Exxon executive claiming that the company deployed “shadow organizations” to dispute climate research, the company was identified in a congressional probe into climate deception in September.
Exxon lost a tough struggle with Engine No. 1, an activist investor who pushed the oil giant to do more to address climate change and gained three board seats in a shareholder vote this year. Mr. Woods said the censure came as a result of “a series of circumstances.” These included investors who had already begun to doubt the company’s strategy and the epidemic “when the market bottomed out.”
Exxon’s fortunes have now been strengthened by swiftly climbing oil prices. Some market observers, notably Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, believe that increasing costs are a result of the economy’s overly rapid shift away from fossil fuels. Others argue that rising prices represent a cyclical trend that will ultimately revert. The two elements, according to Mr. Woods, are “one in the same.”
“Moving from a highly efficient and effective energy system to something new will have a cost,” he said of the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. “And the question is, can we get it down to a reasonable price?”
The New York Times is to thank for this.
On public venues, Dax Shepard, co-host of the famous podcast “Armchair Expert,” believes there should be no “limits on who you’re allowed to speak to.”
He also has a sizable platform. In what has become one of the country’s most popular podcasts, Mr. Shepard and his co-host, Monica Padman, interview celebrities, professionals, and other prominent figures twice weekly. In May, the program, which receives around 20 million monthly downloads, struck a three-year license contract with Spotify.
Mr. Shepard said he welcomes talks with all kinds of individuals, including — or particularly — those with whom he disagrees, in an interview about “the art of listening” at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday. “I believe it’s better to listen to people’s awful ideas because that’s when you find out how horrible they are,” the actor and comedian stated. “When they’re silent, they’re more strong.”
Take, for example, Aaron Rodgers, the great N.F.L. quarterback who has been chastised for refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and avoiding queries about his immunization status until he tested positive for Covid-19.
Mr. Shepard added of pandemic preparations, “I would love to speak to him about it since we’ve gone into this topic constantly since it began.”
“I am constantly wary of authority,” he said of his own tendencies. “I’m skeptical, and I believe everyone has a plan,” he remarked. “Throughout Covid, I did everything right: I isolated and wore masks. I was vaccinated, yet my gut reaction was the exact opposite. So, more than what he may claim as his viewpoint, I’d want to know why Aaron Rodgers has this position.”
During these tense interactions, Ms. Padman says she puts her guard up. “We’re having extremely human talks,” she said, “and everyone may come across sympathetic.” “So I’m afraid that if I can speak to someone who’s doing something genuinely horrible and we can make them seem wonderful — which is what we do, we make everyone sound good — I’m not sure what it does.”
Mr. Shepard believes the difference is unnecessary: “I believe you can be extremely sympathetic of criminals while simultaneously sending them to prison when they do something wrong.” “I don’t believe it’s an either-or situation.”
“We’re witnessing a market that’s exhibiting indications of true frothiness,” Kennth C. Griffin, Citadel’s CEO, said. Credit… The New York Times’ Calla Kessler
Kenneth C. Griffin is extensively entrenched in the markets as the CEO of Citadel, a massive financial trading organization. And the impact of increasing prices on markets and the economy is what he is most concerned about, he said at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday.
Mr. Griffin said growing costs could no longer be ignored on the same day that inflation statistics showed prices rose 6.2 percent in October, the sharpest rate since 1990. “The argument that this is a passing fad is beginning to wear thin,” he added.
This is influencing the stock markets, which, according to Mr. Griffin, have become “frothy,” ripe for overreaction, especially in high-volatility firms like Tesla.
“We’re seeing evidence of genuine frothiness in the market, and we’ve seen some quite substantial stock price changes on really little events,” he added. “I’m concerned about it.”
That, he added, would be a major consideration for the Federal Reserve as it determines whether and how rapidly to raise interest rates to battle inflation. Policymakers have been “much too generous in their stimulus” approaches, he claims, until now. “They haven’t been sufficiently targeted,” he added.
Mr. Griffin’s other concerns include:
Market makers, such as Citadel Securities, pay online brokerages like Robinhood for the opportunity to execute their clients’ transactions, and the financier supported this practice. While the method has been criticized for possibly causing conflicts of interest, Mr. Griffin claims that it has helped individual traders cut their trading expenses and that he opposes any additional rules. “Are we going back to re-regulated markets and restoring the competitiveness that has helped Americans to save so much money in the stock market?” He said that doing so would be “tragic.”
Mr. Griffin, a millionaire, opposes tax increases, claiming that they would stifle American innovation, citing Tesla CEO Elon Musk as an example. “We don’t want outstanding entrepreneurs like Elon Musk to be pushed out of their chairs by tax policy,” he remarked.
He expressed skepticism about the promises made by the cryptocurrency business, such as the possibility to alter how we pay for products. “In a world of fresh ideas and innovations, people are tremendously concentrated.” “I adore that section of the country,” he remarked. “I’m concerned that some of this enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies has been misdirected.”
Michael J. de la Merced (Michael J. de la Merced)
I believe that we have fallen short of the standard as an international society, with all of the many players involved, governments, corporations, and international organizations, when it comes to distribution, particularly fair distribution. How is it possible that vaccination rates in the United States and Europe are estimated to be around 60% on average? In Africa, it is less than 14%. That is not just incorrect; it is also a major issue since we are aware of it and continue to repeat it. But keep in mind that the virus will continue to mutate as long as it is reproducing someplace.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on wealthier nations, pharmaceutical corporations, and others to “step up” their efforts to bring the coronavirus vaccine to regions of the globe where it hasn’t been widely distributed.
“How is it possible that vaccination rates in the United States and Europe are around 60% on average?” Mr. Blinken told Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Online Summit that it is under 14% in Africa. “It’s not just incorrect. It’s a major issue.”
He blamed pharmaceutical corporations that make coronavirus vaccinations, such as Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, at least in part. Mr. Blinken stated, “They’ve worked wonders.” “With all the many entities involved — governments, industries, international organizations — we have fallen short of the target when it comes to distribution.”
Mr. Blinken’s remarks came on the same day that the US announced a contract with Johnson & Johnson to increase vaccine distribution to low-income nations, including those in Africa. Mr. Blinken announced the creation of a new tracker as part of that effort, making it simpler to know where vaccination doses are dispersed.
Mr. Blinken also said that vaccine distribution may have improved if pharmaceutical firms had shared their intellectual property, enabling the vaccine to be made in other countries. The New York Times reported this week that Moderna and the US government are fighting over who owns the patent on their vaccine, which was developed in a four-year collaboration between the firm and the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Blinken said, “I believe it is vital that we do that for the next time.” “We need to transition from loanership to ownership so that nations all over the globe can create what is required on a regional basis.”
Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, said on Tuesday at the DealBook Online Summit that blaming his business for the vaccine’s unequal distribution was unjust. Pfizer had made vaccine doses accessible to any country that wanted them, according to Bourla, but wealthy countries had been faster to place orders.
Nonetheless, Mr. Bourla said that the vaccination distribution had taught him and Pfizer valuable lessons. Pfizer is working on a mechanism that isn’t merely first-come, first-served for its antiviral medication Paxlovid to treat Covid-19, Mr. Bourla said, adding that the business hasn’t completed its allocation plan.