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Tom Orlik and Michael Pettis

Debate: Can China Survive Trump?

New trade barriers threaten the world's second-largest economy.
Exports are a much smaller part of the Chinese economy.

Exports are a much smaller part of the Chinese economy.

Photographer: STR/AFP/Getty Images

This week, President Xi Jinping will attend the Davos forum for the first time -- a sign of how concerned China is about a possible retreat from globalization. Till now, easy access to world markets has underpinned the country's remarkable expansion. How badly Chinese growth could be hurt by new trade barriers may be the most pressing question facing the world economy. Beijing University professor Michael Pettis, one of the best-known China skeptics, is gloomy; Bloomberg Intelligence economist Tom Orlik, less so. They met online to debate China's prospects.

Orlik: President-elect Donald Trump’s talk of tariffs and the rise of populist nationalism evident in the Brexit vote are warning signs of a coming storm. At this point, though, there’s no way of knowing how severe the storm will be. The history of U.S.-China relations shows tough talk on the campaign trail rarely translates into action in office.