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  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For years China has been one of the world’s most rapidly growing sources of outward foreign direct investment. Since peaking in 2016, however, Chinese outward investments, primarily to the United States but also the European Union, have declined dramatically, especially in response to changes in China’s domestic rules on capital outflows and in the face of rising nationalism in the United States. Concerns about growing Chinese influence in other economies, the ascendant role of an authoritarian government in Beijing, and the possible security implications of Chinese dominance in the high-technology sector have put Chinese outward investments under intense international scrutiny. This Policy Brief analyzes the most recent trends in Chinese investments in the United States and the European Union and reviews recent political and regulatory changes both have adopted toward Chinese inward investments. It also explores the emerging transatlantic difference in the regulatory response to the Chinese information technology firm Huawei. Concerned about national security and as part of the ongoing broader trade friction with China, the United States has cracked down far harder on the company than the European Union.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, National Security, Foreign Direct Investment, Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For more than three decades the goal of becoming “the factory of the world” has been at the core of China’s development strategy. This strategy, in combination with high rates of domestic investment and low rates of consumption, made Chinese production the most manufacturing intensive in the world. But as its wages have risen, China’s competitiveness in the most labor-intensive manufacturing industries has eroded. Its ability to assemble products remains a major source of its exports, but it has also tried to shift toward more sophisticated value-added production domestically. Chinese domestic spending has shifted away from investment toward more consumption as citizens’ incomes have grown. Like Americans, Chinese people are also spending more on services than on manufactured goods. All these changes are fundamentally altering the structure of China’s production, reducing the role of manufacturing, and increasing the skill levels of workers in manufacturing. This Policy Brief reviews the challenges posed by these developments for China’s long-term goal of achieving more inclusive growth. It presents evidence that commonly held perceptions that Chinese manufacturing employment growth is robust are wrong. In fact, such growth has peaked and China is now following the pattern of structural change that is typical of a more mature emerging economy, in which the share of employment in manufacturing declines as workers are increasingly employed in services.
  • Topic: Economic growth, Manufacturing, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Haisam Hassanein
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Port projects and other outreach may help President Sisi check off some of his policy goals, but giving China such a foothold could threaten a number of U.S. interests in the region. On August 5, Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese company Hutchison Ports to establish a Mediterranean container terminal in Abu Qir. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi himself attended the signing ceremony, where he praised the company’s global reputation in the field and emphasized the importance of executing the project in accordance with the highest international standards. The project is in line with Sisi’s track record of seeking Chinese help to fulfill his ambitious domestic and foreign agenda. Hutchison is one of the world’s leading port networks, operating terminals in twenty-seven countries; in Egypt, it operates the country’s two main commercial ports, Alexandria and El Dekheila. The company’s representatives commended the opportunity for direct investment in Abu Qir and announced that they will be training more than 1,500 Egyptian engineers and other workers for jobs at the terminal. According to them, the facility will be able to handle up to 1 million containers annually once completed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Economic growth, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Bertil Lintner
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The United Wa State Army, a force of some twenty-thousand fighters, is the largest of Burma’s ethnic armed organizations. It is also the best equipped, boasting modern and sophisticated Chinese weaponry, and operates a formidable drug empire in the Golden Triangle region. This report examines the history of the Wa people, the United Wa State Army’s long-standing political and military ties to China, and the Wa’s role in Burma’s fragile peace process.
  • Topic: Armed Forces, Ethnicity, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Burma, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The sub-regional multilateral format of China and 16 post-communist states (16+1) proved that it could last seven years and that it has the potential to absorb new members. Consequently, the European Union is increasingly concerned about its potentially divisive effects on the EU’s unity. The expected economic benefits of 16+1 for the European partners have been scarcely relevant; still, the European states exploit the 16+1 format for strengthening their bilateral agendas with China. Amidst the trade war with China, the US regards China’s rising influence in Central Europe as a political issue. Beijing’s priority in Europe is to calm down the tension with the EU, Germany, and France over the 16+1 platform. However, the accession of Greece to the enlarged format of 17+1 in the recent 16+1 summit in Dubrovnik and the gaining of support for the Belt and Road Initiative in Italy enable China to establish its foothold on the European South’s doorstep in connection with the 17+1 regional platform.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, France, Germany
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: The treatment of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has increased concerns over the risk of widespread and systematic human rights abuses and violations in China. The government’s approach to combatting religious extremism has resulted in the arbitrary detention of up to one million Uighurs, severe restrictions on religious practice, and pervasive surveillance and control of the entire Muslim population of Xinjiang. A new joint policy brief by the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect asserts that these policies may constitute crimes against humanity under international law. The policy brief provides an overview of China’s response to growing international pressure to halt the persecution of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region and offers recommendations on how to comprehensively address these issues.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Islam, Ethnicity, Freedom of Expression, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Atrocities, Crimes Against Humanity
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Xinjiang
  • Author: Pepe Zhang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Four new BRI trends to watch: (i) enforcement of transparency, debt, and environmental safeguards; (ii) growing participation of the private sector; (iii) the role of the advanced economies in BRI; and (iv) new BRI sectors beyond infrastructure Governments and companies in Latin America and the Caribbean should engage and help shape an evolving BRI, mindful of both the opportunities and risks involved The United States can play a key role in setting standards for economic development projects in the region and beyond
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Financial Markets, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Connectivity is high on the EU’s agenda, but its digital dimension remains underdeveloped. The short paragraph on digital in the EU connectivity strategy is telling. The EU’s distinct approach to digital connectivity – with a focus on the internal market, rule-making and development – differs from similar strategies, particularly China and its Digital Silk Road. "Now is the time to act on digital connectivity's practical as well as strategic elements of hard infrastructure and business operations." Needed, now, is a comprehensive strategic vision that spurs action on all three practical elements of digital connectivity – namely, telecommunications infrastructure, business and regulation – and gives strategic guidance in the political and even securitized sense, and not only from a market perspective. Read the full Policy Brief by Senior Research Fellow Maaike Okano-Heijmans.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Infrastructure, European Union, Digital Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s role as a global investor and financier has grown rapidly in recent decades, nowhere more so than in Europe. In 2017, a full quarter of China’s outbound foreign direct investment was destined for Europe. China has stepped up promotion of its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with Europe as its final destination, ever greater flows of investment in Eurasian connectivity are on offer. However, in recent years scepticism about rising flows of Chinese investment into the EU has grown. This report aims to carefully scrutinize the linkage between Chinese investment in Europe and China’s influence in the region and provides a nuanced and careful analysis that goes beyond the alarmism and polarization that dominates so much of the recent discussion about China’s role in Europe. It is based on a series of case studies examining a Chinese port investment in Greece, a Chinese-financed rail project in Hungary and Serbia, and two Chinese acquisition deals in the Netherlands. Thus, the authors shed light on the motives behind these individual Chinese investments and financial packages, including the interests of both the Chinese and the host governments and firms involved, evaluating what, if any, Chinese “influence” can be linked to the deals. According to the findings, the specific terms of each investment or loan package are dependent on the individual circumstances of the countries and firms involved. In each case there is an identifiable commercial basis for the Chinese investment, but economic and political viability of each deal varies.
  • Topic: Globalization, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Following his arrival and getting adjusted in Lhasa in March 1901, Japanese Buddhist explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi began familiarizing himself with the life and times of 20th century Tibet. Kawaguchi embarked upon his destination, Tibet, in June 1897 when he left Japan. Arriving in Lhasa nearly four years thereafter, in 1901, Kawaguchi was prepared for the challenges in store, though unaware of the scale of their manifestation. There was a sense of relief though, that he had been able to overcome perhaps the most arduous part of his journey, which was reaching this wearisome and forbidden land whilst being in disguise all through.
  • Topic: History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Nepal