China's rise as an economic power in the last quarter century has posed a range of challenges for the rest of the world, especially in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007–09. To elucidate the issues and deepen understanding between China and the United States, the Peterson Institute for International Economics sent a delegation of ten senior staff to participate in the third annual China-US Economists Symposium, held May 17–18, 2014, in Beijing. Among the subjects they addressed were the prospect of secular stagnation in the advanced economies, the decline of potential GDP growth in China, China's credit boom, and the country's overall reform agenda. Also discussed were the controversial role of the International Monetary Fund as a crisis manager and the governance issues that remain a challenge for the Fund and its constituents 70 years after its establishment at Bretton Woods.
The China-US Economists Symposium was also attended by high-profile Chinese economists and policymakers drawn from the membership of the China Finance Forty Forum (CF40), a think tank located in Beijing. Members of Brussels-based think tank Bruegel also joined the event this year. The theme of the conference was "Reform: Challenges and Opportunities," focusing on the difficult structural reforms facing China, Europe, and the United States.
Other issues at the conference included the prospect of long-term stagnation in both emerging and advanced economies, the declining importance of state-owned enterprises in the Chinese economy, global coordination on financial reform, efforts by central banks to tackle inflation and asset bubbles, and the effectiveness of the G-20 in response to the global economic downturn.
Through vigorous debate and exchange of ideas, the conference participants came away with a better understanding of the challenges facing the United States, China, and Europe and new approaches that policymakers can consider in addressing these challenges. With this volume, the Peterson Institute is pleased to share the conference papers contributed by the Peterson Institute participants.