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negotiating style

3 Negotiating Takeaways from the NK Coal Boat Maneuver

Win-Win with Chinese Characteristics

The new US administration seemed to score a big coup in Asia last week, when China blocked a fleet of North Korean cargo ships carrying coal to Chinese markets. On the surface, it seemed a perfect win-win for both Washington and Beijing.

North Korea Coal BoatsIt turned out, however, that the Chinese policy had already been in place since mid February – in response to UN pressure after the earlier round of Pyongyang missile tests.  It’s still a powerful win-win deal, but now with Chinese characteristics: Beijing wins when they agree to the policy, and Beijing wins again when they implement.  

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5 Negotiating Lessons from Sec. of State Tillerson’s Beijing Trip

That treacherous opening Chinese toast.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first official visit to China last weekend, and the White House probably sees it as one of the bright spots in a rocky transition. His Beijing hosts, however, will view the meet as a major step towards their goal of regional hegemony and global respect. Like many western execs before him, Sec. Tillerson doesn’t seem to understand what the Chinese believe he’s agreed to.

This was how the new Sec of State described the US China relationship in January:

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Last Man Standing Part 3: POV Counts.

POV counts. Chinese have opinions too.

In US China negotiation, POV changes everything.
POV changes everything in negotiation

Some westerners are pushing back against the idea that we are facing the risk of rising trade barriers or a breakdown in orderly trade regimes. Their logic is that, “The US has a lot of levers, and we can assert our rights without necessarily sparking a trade war that the Trump Administration doesn’t want.” Not wrong, but it makes the dangerous assumption that trade relations are going to be something Washington stays in control of.

Trade frictions almost always take on a life of their own due to a single inconvenient point: Both sides in a dispute get an opinion. If you don’t know the other guy’s point of view (POV) then you have absolutely no control over the final result.

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Chinese Negotiating Agendas Stated vs. Real (Part 4)

Using Trial Balloons in a Chinese Negotiation setting

We have been discussing ways of surfacing a Chinese negotiator’s actual agenda for the deal Sign up for the ChinaSolved newsletteryou are working on.  We’ve looked at the direct method of asking open-ended questions, and a less direct method of trying to read the truth behind their misdirection and obfuscation. The last technique we’ll talk about here is the trial balloon.

A trial balloon is an idea you float to test the other side’s reaction. It is somewhere between a direct question and passive listening for information. A typical trial balloon might be, “We’re considering setting up a WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) in Pudong…” and then you stop talking. That’s important. Now you gauge his reaction – what he says and the non-verbal cues. He will probably be either positive and encouraging or skeptical and cautious. Follow up with an open-ended question that gets him talking – in broad terms at first – about what his thoughts are.

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Good Deal Structures Lead to Successful Chinese Negotiations

Smart Deal Structures Make Negotiating in China Much Easier (still tough though)

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Westerner negotiators with experience and a successful track record inChina structure their deals AND China business models completely differently than newcomers do. They take longer, spend a lot more time in the early stages, know a lot more about their counter-party and never try to force out-of-town rules onto a Chinese game. That doesn’t mean they do things the ‘Chinese way’ – they do it the ‘Smart-Westerner-in-China way’.

What do smart westerners in China do differently than newcomers?

1. They are in it to win it, both during the negotiation and in the all-important post deal phase.

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10 Common China Negotiating Mistakes (slideshow)

International negotiators doing business in China have been making the same mistakes for years. ChinaSolved.com has compiled a “least wanted list” of Western worst-practices for doing business in China. Make sure you – or people you rely on – aren’t committing these highly-avoidable blunders.

China Negotiation Mistakes – ChinaSolved.com’s Least Wanted List from ChinaSolved

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Download the PDF report by clicking here.