G20 Perspective: Technology and Intellectual Property at the Heart of U.S./China Trade Conflict
Despite the heated debate over tariffs, the central and inescapable argument between the U.S. and China is over technology.
"When President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China sit down to talk trade this week at the Group of 20 summit meeting, their negotiations are likely to be framed by a highly charged topic: the White House's insistence that China routinely steals American technology and intellectual property," writes Alan Rappeport of The New York Times.
Even if the tariff disputes are mitigated or resolved, bad feelings over forced technology transfers and IP theft will linger for years. As many commentators have noted, it's not just the U.S. that's angry - countries in the EU and Asia are also irked by China's apparent unwillingness to deal openly with technology issues.
The Financial Times has posted a short and useful video on the summit. It's worth watching.
El-Erian Warns of Global Economic Slowdown
Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, says there's a 30 percent chance of a trade war with China and warns of a possible economic slowdown, due in part to Europe's slowing economy.
"So far, the U.S. economy on a stand-along basis is fine," El-Erian said in an appearance earlier this week on CNBC. "But the U.S. economy cannot overcome headwinds from the rest of the world forever."
He sees tariffs as "part of the journey" and not the destination. He said the right move for China would be to make concessions and acknowledge issues such as forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft and unfair trading practices.
Ginni Rometty Joins Tim Cook in Blasting Irresponsible Use of Customer Data
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has joined the ranks of high-profile tech executives calling for more protection of personal data. Both Rometty and Apple CEO Tim Cook have spoken against the irresponsible use of customer data by tech companies.
Rometty made her comments during a visit to Brussels, where she met with EU leaders and discussed data privacy issues.
Neither CEO mentioned specific companies, but it seems clear they were referring to Facebook and Google. Both companies have raised hackles in Europe for their alleged mishandling of personal data.
UTC Plans Split into Three Companies
United Technologies will spin off its Otis elevator and Carrier building systems manufacturers and concentrate on bulking up its aerospace business.
"It will operate its aerospace business that's been greatly expanded with a $30 billion acquisition of aviation equipment manufacturer Rockwell Collins Inc.," writes Stephen Singer of The Hartford Courant.
The spinoff has been the source of speculation for months, but it still feels like a major shift for the Connecticut-based technology conglomerate. "UTC employs about 69,000 workers in the U.S. and about 18,000 in Connecticut. It's not known how, or if, those numbers will change as a result of the newly configured company," writes Singer.