Here’s How Texas Could Benefit From China’s Economic Slowdown

In industries where China lags, Texas is poised to make major gains.

By Laura Rice & Alain StephensJanuary 28, 2016 10:28 am,

It seems like any news about China lately has been all about an economic slowdown there, with falling stocks and sluggish GDP growth. But at least one scholar doesn’t think this slowdown is anything we need to worry about – at least not in Texas.

Jeremy Haft, an adjunct professor at Georgetown, thinks China’s slowdown could be good for Texas. Haft wrote “Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth about China’s Economic Miracle.” He says GDP is a misleading indicator of a nation’s wealth, and that China is closer to France in terms of national wealth.

“So, yes, it’s fairly wealthy, but it also is fairly limited,” Haft says. “It has great demands for goods and services that it can’t produce itself.”

Like food, for example. That’s where Texas comes in.

“You could fit the amount of arable land that China has on the state of Texas, to feed 1.3 billion people,” Haft says. “Texas is a very diversified state that sells a lot of (agriculture) to China. So even though China is slowing down, their households still have to eat. So many of the exports that Texas sends to China are going to feed families.”

Haft says the best way Texas can react to the China slowdown is ramp up industries, like agriculture and technology, that already have a strong foothold in the Chinese market. Haft says Texas is number three in terms of exporting states to China, but maybe not for long.

“Texas is actually poised to be number one if we invested in the key industries that are already exporting to China,” Haft says. “In the key areas where China is weak and is challenged, Texas – as a diversified state – is perfectly positioned to ramp up those sales and support jobs.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.