By Paul Welitzkin in New York China Daily USA
Experts at NYSE panel see economic growth in 2017 coming in around 6.7%, similar to last year
China's economy appears poised to deliver growth that should equal the 2016 pace, but potential trade frictions with the US could pose a challenge for policymakers, economic experts said at a discussion on the Chinese mainland's 2017 prospects.
The Forecast for China's Economy for 2017 was hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations (NCUSCR) and Peking University's China Center for Economic Research on Thursday at the New York Stock Exchange and included economists, market participants and experts on the Sino-American engagement from both countries.
Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee, who moderated the discussion, noted that last year there was pessimism on China's economic outlook, but that the country produced a steady performance with gross domestic product (GDP) growth likely to come in at around 6.5 to 6.7 percent.
Encore for China's GDP expected
Xu Gao, chief economist for China Everbright Securities Co Ltd, said that it's tempting to assume the same scenario will unfold again in 2017, but he added that "policymakers will keep GDP growth stable and at about 6.5 percent (in 2017)".
Huang Haizhou, managing director for China International Capital Corp, is calling for growth of about 6.7 percent in 2017, and he predicted a strong performance for China's A share stock market.
However, noting that the incoming Trump administration will take over the White House in about two weeks, Nicholas Lardy of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, said trade disputes or even a trade war could pose a challenge to China's economy.
"Even if he (Trump) does only a small portion of what he has promised, China may retaliate," Lardy said. "We will get clues very early, and if it happens, you can downgrade China's growth maybe by a half or full (percentage) point."
Justin Yifu Lin, a professor at Peking University and a former chief economist at the World Bank, believes Trump will drop much of his campaign rhetoric that targeted China as taking advantage of the US in trade.
"We know that trade is a win-win for both sides," said Lin. "I think there is (enough) common ground to come to a mutual understanding. Once they take office they will see that trade is good for the US and good for China."
In 2009 during the financial crisis, Lin suggested that countries implement an infrastructure building plan to jump-start growth. He believes that infrastructure investment remains a viable "way to create growth and jobs".
Noting that President-elect Trump has promised an infrastructure program for the US, Lin believes that spending on roads, bridges and building upgrades can improve anemic growth rates that have plagued the US and other developed countries the last few years.
"Trump understands the importance of infrastructure investment and he wants to make America great again and to do that, he needs growth," he said.