Don’t make China the centrepiece of an export strategy, cautions analyst

Where Brazil and Mexico have the potential to emerge as hot markets in the longer term, China is a market that one geopolitical analyst says should be sold to when the opportunity arises, but should not be the centre of a trade strategy.

Jacob Shapiro with Cognitive Investments strongly cautions Canada, and the U.S. too, against the draw that is the Chinese market, largely because of the fickleness of the trade with the super-power.

Where are trade flows headed? Where will global unrest disrupt lives next? In this interview, RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney asks Shapiro about Russia and Ukraine, China, Brazil, Mexico and more (full summary points are below the player).


  • Specializing in geopolitics right now means you’ve been busy
  • Are we imaging some of the “busy-ness” of the geopolitical events?
  • It is true that it has likely been much more volatile in the last 18 months for likely the last 10 or 12 years
  • De-globalization has begun, and it will take time
  • What does that mean?
  • There will be and have been “boring” changes that are creating volatility because of it
  • Add in instability, COVID-19, and Russia, and it does get really overwhelming
  • Is the Russia/Ukraine war a two to three year conflict?
  • Ukraine is winning, but Russia’s economy has been more resilient than expected
  • What happens if Putin is gone? Or a Russian revolution?
  • Flipside: What happens if the Ukrainians lose supports?
  • A 2023 recession creates domestic pressure to reduce or reconsider dollars sent overseas
  • The longer the conflict goes on, the more likely the U.S. will have to begin spending money on building weapons
  • Sanctions against Russia have not deterred or stopped Russia
  • The sanctions have likely have gone as far as they are going to
  • U.S. and the EU would hurt too much by going further
  • On to China, expect more of the same
  • An invasion of Taiwan is likely five to 10 years from now, not immediate
  • Xi is facing two big problems: the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the real estate crisis in China
  • Middle class China invests in real estate and if that fails, prosperity will take a huge hit
  • Export-led model is not going to work
  • China shouldn’t be the centrepiece of an export strategy for the U.S. and Canada, he warns
  • That’s a big concern for agriculture
  • Sell to China if you can, and opportunity is there — but it’s a bonus, not the centre
  • It’s not a stable access point
  • Politics isn’t objective, it’s visceral
  • Hungry people are people on the edge of revolt. Remember that
  • Keep your eye on political instability in Iran and Turkey heads to elections in the summer
  • Brazil is a sleeping giant and will come in to its own
  • Mexico and GM corn and the U.S. are on a collision course

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