Dr. Scott MacDonald's blog

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

Italy Signs on to the Belt and Road Initiative

In late March 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to Rome, where he met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who signed a memorandum of understanding pursuant to which Italy signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), making it the first Group-7 country to do so.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

China and Rebuilding Syria: War, Opportunity, and Risk

Syria’s civil war has been highly destructive. Basic infrastructure in much of the country has been destroyed, cities have been leveled, and huge populations displaced. However, the war is winding down, leaving the autocratic al-Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, in power. While the political situation is being sorted out, China is quietly emerging as an important player in what comes next, the estimated USD $200 billion reconstruction of Syria.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

Rising Chinese FDI in Grenada’s Future

China’s interest in the Caribbean has increased considerably over the past decade. Most Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) has been directed to those countries with natural resources or geo-strategic port locations—e.g., the Bahamas, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. However, Chinese FDI has been active in other Caribbean countries as well, including Grenada, where it jumped from USD $4 million in 2006 to $14.5 million in 2013.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

The Return of the Great Game and Infrastructure

The Great Game was a geopolitical contest for influence and dominance in Central Asia between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire that occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The game was played out over vast distances, with a mix of spies, money and armies.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

China Needs to Rethink its Game

One factor that has allowed China to expand its global role has been financial diplomacy in the form of loans, business deals and other investments. However, in overlooking issues such as public discontent with dictatorships, corruption and economic mismanagement, Chinese companies have also assumed considerable risk.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

Shipping, Trade, and China

Shipping remains a critical factor in global trade and also has been a key factor in the rise of the Chinese economy since the last decades of the 20th century. However, the 2008 Great Recession caught global shipping in a period of fleet expansion and greater capacity to carry freight per ship. Post-2008 the shipping industry has faced tough times. Trade has not recovered from levels prior to that year. Rates have been drastically cut, company revenues have plummeted, some companies went into bankruptcy (as with South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping in 2016), and other companies have merged.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

The Hanjin Bankruptcy and Choppy Seas

In early September the Korean shipping company, Hanjin, went into bankruptcy, no longer able carry the burden of its $5.5 billion debt, a long string of losses, and brutally intense competition coupled with the loss of support from its bankers.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

China, Football FDI, and Soft Power

It is often said football or soccer is a universal language that everyone understands. It is estimated around 250 million people play football in 200 countries, making it the world’s most popular sport.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

Chinese Companies and the Changing Business Landscape

Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) are finding the new global business landscape daunting. In their transformation from being domestic-oriented firms into companies expanding into foreign markets and acquiring foreign enterprises, Chinese MNCs have benefited from easy access to international capital markets and foreign and Chinese state-owned financial institutions. However, this is changing. Looking at the turmoil in international financial markets, access to capital likely will be harder to obtain as foreign investors are now more risk-adverse and taking a harder look at corporate risk profiles. Furthermore, many state-owned Chinese companies have relatively high debt portfolios compared to many of their Western counterparts.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

China-Venezuela relations: The Ties that Bind?

Chinese government officials and businesses must be rethinking their commitment to Venezuela. Although the Latin American country holds the largest proven oil reserves in the world, it remains questionable if PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, has the ability to repay the debts it has incurred in past years.

Pages