Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The United States and China Are Poised to Pioneer Path to Prosperous, Sustainable Ocean Economies, Says New CAP Report
Press Release

RELEASE: The United States and China Are Poised to Pioneer Path to Prosperous, Sustainable Ocean Economies, Says New CAP Report

Washington, D.C. — “Developing a Blue Economy in China and the United States,” a new report released today by the Center for American Progress, explores how the United States and China can learn from each other and cooperate to establish thriving Blue Economies: economies that optimize and sustain both the economic and environmental benefits provided by marine resources.

The two world powers each reap hundreds of billions of dollars in economic value from their oceans and coasts annually. Without embracing the essential principles of the Blue Economy, however, they risk undermining their ability to sustain this prosperity. Many of the industries that underpin this wealth—such as oil production and mining—come with environmental costs that damage other contributing industries that rely on healthy marine ecosystems.

“As the world’s two economic juggernauts, the United States and China have an opportunity and a responsibility to lead other nations toward a future that recognizes the fiscal benefits of environmental sustainability. Long-term economic growth is inextricably linked to the ocean’s environmental health. Sometimes, giving nature a little breathing space to do her thing can actually produce greater benefits than resource exploitation,” said Michael Conathan, CAP Director of Ocean Policy and one of the report’s co-authors. “Healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems produce more than half of the oxygen we breathe; absorb 90 percent of the heat trapped by global warming greenhouse gases; buffer coastal communities against storm surges  and sea-level rise; and attract innumerable visitors annually for rest, recreation, and spiritual fulfillment. Exploiting our oceans’ resources without regard for the complete value of their goods and services is a short-sighted approach that would eventually leave us unable to serve global populations.”

By examining each country’s approach to fostering its ocean-based economic sectors, the report shows how these two economic powerhouses are poised to jointly develop a policy framework that provides robust economic development and a restoration of the coastal and oceanic ecosystems on which both the United States and China depend. The report explains how this Blue Economy framework is essential for both nations’ long-term prosperity.

The report calls on the United States and China to:

  • Jointly develop a methodology to account for the long-term economic contributions of healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems
  • Establish joint initiatives under the U.S. Department of State’s EcoPartnerships program, incorporating ocean planning and Blue Technology clusters
  • Enhance and expand existing bilateral partnerships and develop new agreements to ensure sharing of best practices and consistency of oceanographic data collection and dissemination

Click here to read the report.

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For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Elise Shulman at 202.796.9705 or