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Quest: China is planning for the future while the West bickers

Posted September 15

Quest's Profitable Moment

I am in Chengdu, China this week attending the 22nd Summit of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Again, I am struck by the sheer size and scale of this country, a fact so often not understood by people in the West.

Chengdu is a city of 15 million people, according to the latest census numbers. That makes it twice as big as London or New York City. Incredibly, Chengdu is only China's fourth largest city behind Chongqing, Beijing and Shanghai.-Oh yes, I mustn't forget, Chengdu is also home to the giant pandas, which I was fortunate enough to see.

Here in Chengdu, the chairman of the China National Tourism Administration outlined-the government's plans to extend its Belt & Road Initiative deep into the field of tourism. More than 60 countries spanning Asia, Africa, Eurasia and Europe have signed up to the initiative that has the Chinese spending billions of dollars developing three land routes and one maritime routes along the old Silk Road.

Now ask yourself: What initiative is the West putting forward for the future to cement its leadership? I don't see any grand plan from the EU for the rest of this century, in terms of cementing trade relations. As for the United States, the Trump administration withdraws from the Paris climate accord, abandons the Trans-Pacific Partnership and threatens ending NAFTA, all while cutting back development aid.-It begs the question: What is Washington's big vision for the future, besides putting America first?

The reality is the Belt & Road Initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road, tied in with Russian involvement, is possibly the most far-reaching and deep-thinking plan for the future.-Love it or be terrified of it,-while others bicker parochially the Chinese are way ahead in strategic thinking, decades ahead.

Whether Belt & Road reaches its full potential really isn't my point. It's the very fact that there is leadership, which others can enjoin, that should give Western leaders pause for thought.

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What's next

Trump's first speech at United Nations: The UN General Assembly meets next week in New York. It will be Trump's first UNGA appearance since becoming president.

Are you staying or leaving? Fed Chair Janet Yellen holds a press conference Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET after the Fed's meeting. No rate hike is expected but the big question is whether Trump will renominate her for a second term -- or if she even wants to stay. Her term expires in February but a decision is expected in the fall.

CNN's Christiane-Amanpour interviews Mike Bloomberg, Jack Ma:-French President Emmanuel-Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and IMF chief Christine Lagarde-will also be at Bloomberg's Global Business Forum on Wednesday.

LatAm leaders convene in NYC: Presidents of Colombia, Peru and Chile, along with Mexico's economy secretary, speak on a panel on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET-to discuss their trade group known as the Pacific Alliance. Guajardo is currently renegotiating NAFTA on Mexico's behalf with the Trump administration and Canadian officials.

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