Derek M. Scissors is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Asian economic issues and trends. In particular, he focuses on the Chinese and Indian economies and US economic relations with China and India. Scissors is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he teaches a course on the Chinese economy.
Before joining AEI, Scissors was a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation. He has also worked in London for Intelligence Research Ltd., taught economics at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, and served as an action officer in international economics and energy for the US Department of Defense.
Scissors has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in international political economy from Stanford University.
Adjunct Professor in Chinese Economy, Department of Economics, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, George Washington University, 2000–present
Senior Research Fellow in Economics, Asian Studies Center, Heritage Foundation, 2008–13
Economist Specializing in Chinese Economy, Intelligence Research Ltd., Courcy’s Intelligence Service, London, 1998–2008
Lecturer, Department of Economics, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, 1994–97
Action Officer in International Economics and Energy, International Security Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense, 1989–90
Ph.D., international political economy, Stanford University M.A., economics, University of Chicago A.B., economics, University of Michigan
Accusations come almost daily. China is waging a mercantilist campaign against multinationals, from German auto titans to American technology firms to Japanese ball-bearing makers, for supposed monopoly abuses and other legal infractions. There is more going on, however, than the attack on foreign companies.
Washington and Beijing are ostensibly having serious discussions of a bilateral investment treaty to improve transparency and other aspects of the trans-Pacific investment environment. One hopes it's not really true, that the American side is just humoring the Chinese, because it's impossible at present to see such an agreement benefiting the US.
The AEI-Heritage Foundation China Global Investment Tracker follows Chinese investment all over the world. Through June 30 2014, the U.S. had received over $70 billion in Chinese investment. This is the most of any country, and much more could be on the way, likely breaching $100 billion in total by 2017 and continuing to rise (unsteadily) from there.
China's attack on foreign companies is a serious matter. It started soon after Xi Jinping took his government office as president in March 2013 and has continued almost unceasingly since, with inquiries into Microsoft, Daimler, and others disclosed last week.
Currency manipulation is back on the front burner because it's an election year and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is headed for a 2015 congressional vote. Currency manipulation is also wildly overrated as an issue.
The mid-2014 update of the China Global Investment Tracker sees the first decline in investment since the financial crisis. This is due primarily to a dearth of energy spending and could be reversed by a single large deal. But it is a useful reminder that China is not buying the world.
Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi does bring heavy baggage into office - he is seen as disinterested in, or even indirectly responsible for the vicious anti-Muslim riots in 2002. But Modi now has the opportunity to improve the lives of all Indians through badly needed economic reform. This is how the Obama administration should view him.
Front page news concerning Chinese economic weakness and accusations of large-scale cyber-espionage against the U.S. both involve the capacity to innovate. Cyber-stealing other people's knowledge, rather than developing it yourself, helps right away but discourages the innovation at home that can contribute to national wealth for the long term.