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  • Author: Michael D Bordo, Mickey D. Levy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The ratcheting up of tariffs and the Fed’s discretionary conduct of monetary policy are a toxic mix for economic performance. Escalating tariffs and President Trump’s erratic and unpredictable trade policy and threats are harming global economic performance, distorting monetary policy, and undermining the Fed’s credibility and independence. President Trump’s objectives to force China to open access to its markets for international trade, reduce capital controls, modify unfair treatment of intellectual property, and address cybersecurity issues and other U.S. national security issues are laudable goals with sizable benefits. However, the costs of escalating tariffs are mounting, and the tactic of relying exclusively on barriers to trade and protectionism is misguided and potentially dangerous. The economic costs to the United States so far have been relatively modest, dampening exports, industrial production, and business investment. However, the tariffs and policy uncertainties have had a significantly larger impact on China, accentuating its structural economic slowdown, and are disrupting and distorting global supply chains. This is harming other nations that have significant exposure to international trade and investment overseas, particularly Japan, South Korea, and Germany. As a result, global trade volumes and industrial production are falling. Weaker global growth is reflected in a combination of a reduction in aggregate demand and constraints on aggregate supply.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Tariffs, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Simon Lester, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Donald Trump was a trade “hawk” long before he became president. In the late 1980s, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show and complained about Japan “beating the hell out of this country” on trade (Real Clear Politics 2019). As president, he has continued with the same rhetoric, using it against a wide range of U.S. trading partners, and he has followed it up with action (often in the form of tariffs). While many countries have found themselves threatened by Trump’s aggressive trade policy, his main focus has been China. As a result, the United States and China have been engaged in an escalating tariff, trade, and national security conflict since July 2018, when the first set of U.S. tariffs on China went into effect and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. In this article, we explore the U.S.-China economic conflict, from its origins to the trade war as it stands today. We then offer our thoughts on where this conflict is heading and when it might end.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Trade Wars, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joshua Cavanaugh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: A select delegation of leaders from the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties and the global business community traveled to Beijing, China to meet with senior officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on November 18-21, 2019. The discussions were part of the 11th U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue organized by the EastWest Institute (EWI) in partnership with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC). Launched in 2010, the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue seeks to build understanding and trust between political elites from the U.S. and China through candid exchanges of views on topics ranging from local governance to foreign policy concerns. The dialogue process consistently involves sitting officers from the CPC and the U.S. Democratic and Republican National Committees. In the 11th iteration of the dialogue, the CPC delegation was led by Song Tao, minister of IDCPC. Gary Locke, former secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, former governor for the state of Washington and former United States Ambassador of China; and Alphonso Jackson, former secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; lead the U.S. Democratic and Republican delegations, respectively. Throughout the dialogue, members of both delegations spoke freely on relevant topics including foriegn policy trends, trade disputes and emerging areas of economic cooperation. EWI facilitated a series of meetings for the U.S. delegation, which included a productive meeting with Wang Qishan, vice president of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People. The delegates also met with Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs; Dai Bingguo, former state councilor of the People’s Republic of China; and Lu Kang, director of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. delegates visited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and met with their president, Jin Liqun, as well as the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University to engage prominent scholars on the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Nan Tian, Fei Su
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Quantitative research on the finances of the Chinese arms industry has been limited by the scarcity of available data. A scoping study to estimate the financial value of the arms sales of companies in the Chinese arms industry—using a new methodology—found information on four companies: the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), the China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC) and the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO). These four companies cover three main sectors of conventional arms production: aircraft, electronics and land systems. The estimates suggest that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States and ahead of Russia. All four of the profiled companies would be ranked among the 20 largest arms-producing and military services companies globally in 2017, with three—AVIC, NORINCO and CETC—in the top 10. The new methodology improves the understanding of the structure, size and evolution of the global arms industry.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Weapons , Arms Trade, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China’s cooperation with the Western Balkans through the “17+1” format and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among others, is primarily political. In the economic sphere, Chinese investments are to a large extent only declarations, and trade is marginal in comparison to cooperation with the EU or others. China’s goals are to gain political influence in future EU countries and limit their cooperation with the U.S. Competition with China in the region requires more intense EU-U.S. cooperation, made more difficult by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Balkans
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic has become another contested area between the U.S., Russia, and China. The region’s growing importance for global trade and American security means the U.S. goal is largely to maintain freedom of navigation in the Arctic. For this reason, the Trump administration strives to increase American capacities to operate in the Arctic. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay implementing these plans; nevertheless, they will be achieved in the long term and the U.S. will also expect support in the Arctic from NATO allies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Joseph de Weck
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Do you want to know how Beijing would like Europe to act? Take a look at Switzerland. Switzerland and China have been close for decades. It was the first Western nation to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in January 1950. Bern wanted to protect investments in the new People’s Republic from nationalization and hoped Swiss industry could lend a hand in rebuilding China’s infrastructure after the civil war. Being friendly to China paid off, but only 30 years later, once reformer Deng Xiaoping took the reins of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In 1980, Swiss elevator producer Schindler was the first foreign company to do a joint venture in China. Today, Switzerland is the only continental European country to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Switzerland, Sweden
  • Author: June Teufel Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: According to geologists, rare earths are not rare, but they are precious. The answer to what appears to be a riddle lies in accessibility. Comprising 17 elements that are used extensively in both consumer electronics and national defense equipment, rare earth elements (REEs) were first discovered and put into use in the United States. However, production gradually shifted to China, where lower labor costs, less concern for environmental impacts, and generous state subsidies enabled the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to account for 97 percent of global production. In 1997, Magniquench, then-America’s leading rare earths company, was sold to an investment consortium headed by Archibald Cox, Jr., son of the same-named Watergate prosecutor, with two Chinese state-owned metals firms, San Huan New Materials and China National Nonferrous Metals Import and Export Company. The chairman of San Huan, son-in-law of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, became chairman of the company. Magniquench was shut down in the United States, moved to China, and reopened in 2003, where it fit in well with Deng’s Super 863 Program to acquire cutting-edge technologies for military applications, including “exotic materials.” This left Molycorp as the last remaining major rare earths producer in the United States until its collapse in 2015.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Exports, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sruthi V.S.
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The ambitious $400 billion deal between China and Iran has garnered worldwide attention. The 18-page draft proposal says that China will facilitate the infusion of about $280 billion to Iran. This major economic and security partnership between China and Iran has raised India’s concerns against the backdrop of its ongoing border conflict with China. According to the New York Times report, the proposed China-Iran deal talks about expanding China’s presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”, and in return China will receive a steady supply of oil from Iran for the next 25 years at a discounted price. There are more than 100 projects listed in the draft that will see Chinese investments; these include building Free Trade Zones and several very significant ports. The Chinese will also help Iran build infrastructure for 5G networks and come up with an internet filter like the Great Firewall in China. The stronghold of China in Iran could also result in undermining US policy in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Wendy Cutler
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Much attention has been focused on China’s unfair intellectual property practices and the imbalance in the U.S.-China trade relationship, but equally troubling are large-scale Chinese industrial subsidies, the behavior of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and in general, the oversized and opaque role of the Chinese state in the economy. While the U.S-China phase one trade deal tackled some important sources of bilateral tension and aimed to boost Chinese purchases of U.S. goods and services, it was silent on industrial subsidies and related matters, leaving them for the next phase of negotiations, the fate of which is now in question. U.S. concerns on these matters are shared by other trading partners including the European Union (EU) and Japan. Yet despite widespread disapproval of such practices, building new global rules to combat subsidies has proven challenging. This is due to several factors, ranging from gridlock at the WTO, differences of views among like-minded countries on the required level of ambition, and uncertainty as to how best to approach the enormous complexities in China’s subsidies and related policies. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has sought to unpack this complexity, conducting recent studies of Chinese subsidies in two key sectors: aluminum and semiconductors. Both studies illustrate how Chinese subsidies are not simple cash handouts from the state to protected firms so that they can sell at favorable and distorting prices. The OECD finds subsidies can take various forms, including downstream or upstream help that trickles up or down to the firm that’s intended to benefit. They can take the form of favorable equity or debt purchases or bonds provided at below-market rates. And with interconnected global value chains, subsidies can effectively be granted covertly, intended to benefit one firm that might be several links away along the chain. In China, the problem is compounded by an opaque “party-state” structure that obscures not only the recipients of subsidies, but also the source. According to Mark Wu, a Harvard Law School professor who previously served as the Director for Intellectual Property in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, subsidies not only flow directly from government bodies in Beijing, but also indirectly through informal responses to directives — sometimes even left unsaid, but understood — from the Chinese Communist Party. Against this backdrop, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) convened two roundtables in the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020 to discuss how best to build a new rules-based infrastructure that might combat such subsidies and prevent trade-distorting results such as unfair competition, market access barriers, and, above all, overcapacity in global markets. Experts from the private sector, think tanks, governments, and academia weighed in with possible solutions, which included: Negotiating new rules in the WTO; Using the WTO dispute settlement system, despite its often-discussed flaws; Forming ad hoc rules-based approaches, where possible, like the U.S-EU-Japan trilateral initiative; Plurilateral negotiations conducted on a sector-by-sector basis; Forming coalitions of like-minded trading partners to establish an alternative model, much in the way that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was framed. During the roundtables, most experts agreed that there is no silver bullet that solves the subsidy and related issues on its own. And most agree that, left unaddressed, the problem is likely to deepen. The COVID-19 pandemic might even exacerbate it by leading to more state involvement in economies around the world and making it hard to discipline Beijing’s practices. Recognizing all of these real challenges that the international trade community faces, the roundtables reached the following key conclusions: Transparency on the scope, level, and nature of industrial subsidies is vital; Efforts to publicize the ongoing work in these areas, particularly that being done by the OECD, should accelerate; Turning research into tangible new policies is a key step; and Persuading China to agree to updated rules will be necessary, given that China is a singular contributor to overcapacity.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Trade, Industry, WTO
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Egoh Aziz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Nkafu Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused waves of horror and anxiety across many nations in the world. Considering the intense unravelling of the pandemic, no exact figure as per the number of confirmed and death cases worldwide is definite because the situation changes almost every hour. However, on April 14, 2020 3:40 GMT, Worldometer reported 210 countries and territories across the globe having a total of 1,925,179 confirmed cases, and a dead toll of 119,699 deaths. The impact of the pandemic is disastrous globally affecting a variety of sectors including the service and supply chain, as well as trade, manufacturing, and tourism. This article aims to provide a synoptic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on Sino-African trade activities. It stresses that, if African policymakers revamp their efforts to quickly address COVID-19, the human casualty will be less and African economic growth may experience lesser shock as previewed by the IMF. On the other hand, if they relent their efforts, the human casualty will soar while the growth rate may decline. The effect of COVID-19’s outbreak in China has caused a slowdown on exports and services directed towards China.According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, in 2018, China’s total import and export volume with Africa was US$204.19 billion, a yearly increase of 19.7%, surpassing the total growth rate of foreign trade in the same period by 7.1 percentage points. Among these, China’s exports to Africa were US$104.91 billion, up 10.8% and China’s imports from Africa were US$99.28 billion, up 30.8%; the surplus was US$5.63 billion, down 70.0% every year. The growth rate of Sino African trade was the highest in the world in 2018. This shows that Sino-African trade has a significant contribution to the growth of African economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, Cameroon
  • Author: Marcelo Corrêa, Luiz Michelo, Carlos Schonerwald
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Institution: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Abstract: After two decades of intense debate about the determinants of economic development, with authors examining the variables that characterize geography, institutions and international trade, BRICS countries were left behind. Thus, in order to fill this gap, this paper uses econometrics of panel data to analyze the economic performance of these developing nations. Mainstream economists have run into serious problems to deal with these particular determinants within the traditional endogenous growth model, and they have not come up with an agreement, so they keep trying to figure out who is the “winner of this competition”. Empirical evidence shows that there is not a unique explanatorydeterminant, and recognizing which of them can provide the best understandingdepends on the particularities of each case (ROS, 2013).Examining BRICS as a group of countries demonstrates that these specific developing nations share some remarkable features. They are rapidly-growing nations with a vast amount of land and growing participation in international trade. So, empirical tests are feasible and desirable in order to understand their recent development. However, they are also different in many aspects, mostly in terms of institutional characteristics. Thus, our goal is to find out if the econometrics of panel data can shed some light on this ongoing debate.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Trade Policy, Economic Cooperation, Geography
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Alastair Iain Johnston
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many scholars and policymakers in the United States accept the narrative that China is a revisionist state challenging the U.S.-dominated international liberal order. The narrative assumes that there is a singular liberal order and that it is obvious what constitutes a challenge to it. The concepts of order and challenge are, however, poorly operationalized. There are at least four plausible operationalizations of order, three of which are explicitly or implicitly embodied in the dominant narrative. These tend to assume, ahistorically, that U.S. interests and the content of the liberal order are almost identical. The fourth operationalization views order as an emergent property of the interaction of multiple state, substate, nonstate, and international actors. As a result, there are at least eight “issue-specific orders” (e.g., military, trade, information, and political development). Some of these China accepts; some it rejects; and some it is willing to live with. Given these multiple orders and varying levels of challenge, the narrative of a U.S.-dominated liberal international order being challenged by a revisionist China makes little conceptual or empirical sense. The findings point to the need to develop more generalizable ways of observing orders and compliance.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Information Age, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: John Edwards
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The outlines of a trade deal between the United States and China are there. But without a return to the negotiating table, the dispute could rapidly escalate, magnifying the damage to world growth. With the Osaka G20 meeting looming, Chinese analysts and policymakers visited in Beijing are pessimistic about the prospects for a trade deal with the United States. If they are right, global financial markets are in for a much wilder shock than anything yet seen in this quarrel. Yet much of a deal has already been agreed, while the consequences of not reaching a deal have become increasingly dire.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Trade Wars, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Roland Rajah
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: East Asia is no longer reliant on US or Western markets to fuel its growth, giving it more room to manage amid global trade tensions. Heightened global trade tensions and the US desire to ‘decouple’ from the Chinese economy for national security reasons pose significant risks to East Asia’s export-driven growth model. However, the latest data suggests East Asia is no longer so dependent on exporting to the West, with China in particular eclipsing the United States as the leading source of ‘final demand’ for the rest of the region’s exports. This gives East Asia much greater room to manoeuvre, as regional integration is now a more viable platform for growth while US decoupling efforts will likely struggle to find traction in the region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Exports
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jie Bai, Jiahua Liu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is well known that various forms of non-tariff trade barriers exist within a country. Empirically, it is difficult to measure these barriers as they can take many forms. We take advantage of a nationwide VAT rebate policy reform in China as a natural experiment to identify the existence of these intranational barriers due to local protectionism and study the impact on exports and exporting firms. As a result of shifting tax rebate burden, the reform leads to a greater incentive of the provincial governments to block the domestic flow of non-local goods to local export intermediaries. We develop an open-economy heterogenous firm model that incorporates multiple domestic regions and multiple exporting technologies, including the intermediary sector. Consistent with the model’s predictions, we find that rising local protectionism leads to a reduction in interprovincial trade, more “inward-looking” sourcing behavior of local intermediaries, and a reduction in manufacturing exports. Analysis using micro firm-level data further shows that private companies with greater baseline reliance on export intermediaries are more adversely affected.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Reform, Tariffs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Panle Barwick, Shengmao Cao, Shanjun Li
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Are quid pro quo (technology for market access) policies effective in facilitating knowledge spillover to developing countries? We study this question in the context of the Chinese automobile industry where foreign firms are required to set up joint ventures with domestic firms in return for market access. Using a unique dataset of detailed quality measures along multiple dimensions of vehicle performance, we document empirical patterns consistent with knowledge spillovers through both ownership affiliation and geographical proximity: joint ventures and Chinese domestic firms with ownership or location linkage tend to specialize in similar quality dimensions. The identification primarily relies on within-product variation across quality dimensions and the results are robust to a variety of specifications. The pattern is not driven by endogenous joint-venture network formation, overlapping customer base, or learning by doing considerations. Leveraging additional micro datasets on part suppliers and worker flow, we document that supplier network and labor mobility are important channels in mediating knowledge spillovers. However, these channels are not tied to ownership affiliations. Finally, we calibrate a simple learning model and conduct policy counterfactuals to examine the role of quid pro quo. Our findings show that ownership affiliation facilitates learning but quality improvement is primarily driven by the other mechanisms.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Developing World
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jie Bai, Ludovica Gazze, Yukun Wang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Collective reputation implies an important externality. Among firms trading internationally, quality shocks about one firm’s products could affect the demand of other firms from the same origin country. We study this issue in the context of a large-scale scandal that affected the Chinese dairy industry in 2008. Leveraging rich firm-product level administrative data and official quality inspection reports, we find that the export revenue of contaminated firms dropped by 84% after the scandal, relative to the national industrial trend, and the spillover effect on non-contaminated firms is measured at 64% of the direct effect. Notably, firms deemed innocent by government inspections did not fare any better than noninspected firms. These findings highlight the importance of collective reputation in international trade and the challenges governments might face in signaling quality and restoring trust. Finally, we investigate potential mechanisms that could mediate the strength of the reputation spillover. We find that the spillover effects are smaller in destinations where people have better information about parties involved in the scandal. New firms are more vulnerable to the collective reputation damage than established firms. Supply chain structure matters especially in settings where firms are less vertically integrated and exhibit fragmented upstream-downstream relationships.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Business , Global Political Economy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 2018, the United States suddenly increased tariffs on nearly 50 percent of its imports from China. China immediately retaliated with tariffs on more than 70 percent of imports from the United States. This paper assesses what happened in 2018 and attempts to explain why. It first constructs a new measure of special tariff protection to put the sheer scope and coverage of the 2018 actions into historical context. It then uses the lens provided by the 2018 special tariffs to explain the key sources of economic and policy friction between the two countries. This includes whether China’s state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies, as well as China’s development strategy and system of forcibly acquiring foreign technology, were imposing increasingly large costs on trading partners. Finally, it also examines whether the US strategy to provoke a crisis—which may result in a severely weakened World Trade Organization—was deliberate and out of frustration with the institution itself.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Bilateral Relations, Trade Wars, Donald Trump, Imports
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olena Ivus, Marta Paczos
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In recent years, Canada has adopted the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Like other modern international trade agreements, CETA, the CPTPP and the CUSMA include protections for innovators’ profits and technologies in the form of intellectual property rights (IPRs) regulations. These trade agreements will have a first-order impact on the volume and composition of trade in goods and innovation with sensitive intellectual property (IP) in Canada, as well as having an impact on global welfare distribution. But is Canada’s membership in these agreements good for Canadian firms looking to compete globally? This paper begins with a review of the IP protections instituted through recent trade deals involving Canada. It discusses the nature and scope of Canada’s IP obligations under CETA, the CPTPP and the CUSMA and explains how these obligations fit within the current Canadian legal framework. The changes in the standards of IPRs under these agreements will have a first-order impact on the volume and composition of trade in IP-sensitive goods, innovation and global welfare distribution and so deserve thorough debate. The paper then proceeds with a broader discussion of the reasons to include IP provisions in international trade agreements and the rationale for international coordination of the IPRs policy. Next, the paper discusses how IP provisions in trade agreements limit the freedom to use IP policy to promote national interests, while acknowledging that the various IP obligations are counterbalanced by several flexibilities, including the right to establish local exhaustion policies. The paper concludes with policy recommendations.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, NAFTA, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Innovation, USMCA
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Asia, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Patrick Leblond
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the margins of the Group of Twenty leaders’ meeting in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29, 2019, Canada and 23 others signed the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy. This declaration launched the “Osaka Track,” which reinforces the signatories’ commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on “trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.” In this context, unlike its main economic partners (China, the European Union and the United States), Canada has yet to decide its position. The purpose of this paper is thus to help Canada define its position in those negotiations. To do so, it offers a detailed analysis of the e-commerce/digital trade chapters found in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the North American Free Trade Agreement’s replacement, in order to identify the potential constraints that these agreements could impose on the federal government’s ability to regulate data nationally as it seeks to establish a trusting digital environment for consumers and businesses. The analysis leads to the conclusion that Canada’s CPTPP and CUSMA commitments could ultimately negate the effectiveness of future data protection policies that the federal government might want to adopt to create trust in the data-driven economy. As a result, Canada should not follow the United States’ position in the WTO negotiations. Instead, the best thing that Canada could do is to push for a distinct international regime (i.e., separate from the WTO) to govern data and its cross-border flows.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, European Union, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Syed Fazl-e Haider
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the central component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in South Asia, has been a source of significant attention and controversy (China Brief, January 12, 2018; China Brief, February 15). Parts of South Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, however, are also host to another ambitious infrastructure program: the “International North-South Transport Corridor” (INSTC), a transportation development plan first established in 2000 by Iran, Russia and India. The INSTC envisions a network to connect Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf ports and rail centers to the Caspian Sea, and then onwards through the Russian Federation to St. Petersburg and northern Europe.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Leo Lin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on September 10-12 was not merely a state visit, but also signaled a new era in bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and China. During his visit, Tokayev met top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Tokayev also stopped in Hangzhou, where he visited the headquarters of the Alibaba Group and spoke with founder Jack Ma, as well as the new chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang (Sina Tech, September 12). The September visit has symbolic meaning for both Xi and Tokayev as they prepare for a new stage of their partnership—in the same year as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In March 2019, Italy and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed a broad and comprehensive, albeit not legally binding, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Italy to join the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This has triggered a significant debate—in Brussels as well as in Washington—about whether this decision signalled an Italian shift away from its historical pro-European and pro-Atlantic position, to a more nuanced position open to deepening strategic ties with China. The MoU is not definite proof of such a shift, and the Italian government has denied any strategic change. However, Italy is the first major European country, and the first Group of Seven (G7) member, to formalize its participation with the BRI project. As such, this development is particularly remarkable.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Italy
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: South Asian governments are becoming increasingly discontent with Belt and Road Initiative projects. In August, Pakistan’s new government expressed interest in reviewing the CPEC contracts that they perceive to be over-priced, unnecessary, or excessively in the favor of PRC companies (Dawn, September 11). Similar sentiments have been expressed by the new Maldivian government, which is reviewing BRI contracts signed during the rule of former President Abdulla Yameen (Economic Times, November 26). Such actions raise questions as to whether South Asian states might scale down or even cancel BRI projects.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Infrastructure, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Pasha L. Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This article examines the evolution of Taiwan’s relationship with Singapore since the 1960s as a unique case study in the Asia-Pacific. The theoretical concept of recognition in international relations (IR) and its nexus with international law are used to analyze the conclusion of the bilateral military and trade agreements absent diplomatic relations. The article argues that beyond security dimensions, the two states’ struggles for recognition exhibit the formation of national identities, which invigorate the claims for sovereign state status in global politics. First, this article explores the emerging notion of recognition in IR and sheds light on the significance of Taiwan’s presidential visit to Singapore under its one-China policy. Second, it explains Singapore’s pursuit of external sovereignty that led to substantive defense cooperation with Taiwan, as well as the role of Lee Kuan Yew in facilitating Beijing–Taipei negotiations. Finally, it assesses contemporary developments such as the inking of the Taiwan–Singapore free trade agreement and the first-ever summit between the presidents of China and Taiwan in Singapore. Hence, the political and legal analysis of Singapore–Taiwan relations enriches the study of IR and contributes to the understanding of the foreign policy of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Military Affairs, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration has taken an aggressive line on US-China trade issues. Starting with steel and aluminum tariffs in March 2018, the United States has gradually imposed a number of tariffs on various Chinese goods. China responded in turn to each round. Recent negotiations, though initially fruitful, foundered on issues of Chinese subsidies and what US trade representative Robert Lighthizer described as “an erosion in commitments by China.” Now the escalation cycle has resumed. According to surveys conducted in 2018 among foreign policy opinion leaders by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Texas, and the results of the 2018 Chicago Council Survey of the general US public, concerns about a potential trade war between the United States and China were already widespread before this most recent escalation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Public Opinion, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Craig Kafura
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the past 18 months, the United States and China have engaged in a steady escalation of tariffs. Beginning with steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in March 2018, the trade conflict has expanded to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade. Recent rounds of negotiations have made no new progress and have led to both sides escalating further. The most recent US tariffs on Chinese imports went into effect on September 1, covering $112 billion of goods. Beijing has countered with retaliatory tariffs and has halted all agricultural purchases from the United States, a move targeted at already-struggling US farmers. While Americans broadly support engaging in trade with China, they are split along partisan lines on how to engage in that trade. Republicans support raising tariffs on Chinese imports and believe it will help the US economy in the long run, while Democrats oppose doing so and believe it will be harmful.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Tariffs, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Xu Chunyang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The Chinese nuclear industry is actively pursuing international trade under China’s new “Go Global” policy. This development could strain Chinese nuclear export control systems in the coming decades. This paper investigates the evolution of the Chinese nuclear export control regime from the late 1970s to the present, describes the current state of the Chinese export control system, and investigates recent Chinese efforts to build a more robust system. It finds that although the Chinese strategic export control systems have grown tremendously since they first took shape and the capacity of the government to implement these controls has grown as well, significant improvements in both the legal basis for the controls and the capacity of institutions involved are still needed, including in how current laws define exports, in how government bodies are equipped to investigate violations, and in how violations are prosecuted. The Ministry of the Commerce is preparing a new “Export Control Law” that is expected to come into effect soon and to provide the basis for more robust controls that address many of the deficiencies identified above. The Chinese government’s growing commitment to undertaking its international obligations and safeguarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy provides reason for optimism, but in the near term, the effectiveness of these corrective efforts will depend on the completion, implementation, and enforcement of the new law.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Umar Farooq, Asma Shakir Khawaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The article is intended to find out the geopolitical implications, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Researcher reviewed both published research articles and books to find out geopolitical implication, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For this purpose, researcher also reviewed newspapers articles and published reports by government and non-governmental stakeholders working on CPEC. Review of the articles and reports indicated that CPEC had enormous benefits not only for China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. But different internal and external stakeholders are not in favor of successful completion of this project. Extremism, sense of deprivation, lack of political consensus, political instability are some of the internal constraints. On the other hand, Afghanistan, India, Iran, UAE and USA are posing constraints to halt the successful completion of CPEC.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, South Asia, India, Asia, Punjab, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Author: Kanwal Hayat, Rehana Saeed Hashmi
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: China claims South China Sea as its sovereign domain where it possesses the right to intervene militarily and economically. However, USA considers South China Sea as a common global passage where rule of law and freedom of navigation should prevail.These diverging viewpoints coexist in a wobbly peace environment where both US and China want their own version of international law to be applied and have occasionally resorted to minor armed conflicts over this issue. Every state claiming authority over South China Sea is willing to use coercion in order to get what they want, however, the extent of how far they are willing to go is not clear. This is resulting in a show of gunboat diplomacy involving maritime force of influential states that strives to manipulate the policy makers of the relevant nations (Costlow, 2012). The paper will focus on the situation in the South China Sea. South China Sea is not only claimed by China but various other Asian nations. Does this territorial strife possess the power to turn the region into a war zone? Being one of the most active trade routes in the world having complicated geography and the diverging regional and international interests makes it very sensitive area. China being the emerging economic giant gives competition to the USA in many spheres. Although America has no territorial claim in the South China Sea, it has strategic and economic interests. Where China wants a complete hegemonic control of the area, USA wants to find a way where free unchecked trade could be the future for all.Accompanied with numerous other South Asian nations claiming various portions of the region, a constant tension exists in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes, Hegemony, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Oceans
  • Author: A. Z. Hilali
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a set of projects under China‟s Belt and Road initiative, marks a new era of economic ties in a bilateral relationship between the two traditional friends. The multi-dimensional project will not only reform Pakistan economy but it will serve for people‟s prosperity and will help to revive the country economy of both countries. The visions of project partners are clear and the goals of the short term, mid-term and long-term plans of CPEC have been identified. So, the CPEC is not just a transit route for China and Pakistan‟s exports but it will transform Pakistan‟s economy and overcome its problems such as unemployment, energy, underdevelopment, and overall external economic dependency by building capacity in all necessary sectors. Therefore, CPEC could promote economic development and growth which will open new avenues and investment to the country which is based on shared partnership of cooperation, mutual benefits and sustainability. Thus, the CPEC is a grand porgramme and will deliver the economic gains to both China-Pakistan and it can be executed more efficiently and in a balanced way to serve the interests of both the countries. The project of CPEC is also important to China‟s energy and strategic security with reference to South China Sea and other regional and global players. Thus, CPEC could bring economic avenues to Pakistan and can improve regional economic and trade activities for greater development and prosperity. It has perceived that the project will not only foster socio-economic development but it will also reduce the level of political humidity and will be source of peace and harmony between the traditional adversaries. It has also assumed that regional economic integration through CPEC could be a harbinger to resolve the political differences by economic cooperation and regional economic connection could make 21st century the Asian century setting aside the perennial political issues to start a new beginning. Thus, in a longer perspective the CPEC can foster an economic community in the entire region of Asia and beyond if its vision is materialized in its true sense. The time will prove that the CPEC reap its fruits and will be advantages for not only Pakistan and China but for the entire region.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The major transformations that are occurring on the Chinese gas market have profound repercussions on the global gas and LNG markets, especially on trade, investment and prices. In just two years, China has become the world’s first gas importer and is on track to become the largest importer of Liquefied natural gas (LNG). China alone explained 63% of the net global LNG demand growth in 2018 and now accounts for 17% of global LNG imports. The pace and scale of China’s LNG imports have reshaped the global LNG market. Over the past two years, fears of an LNG supply glut have largely been replaced by warnings that the lack of investments in new LNG capacity would lead to a supply shortage in the mid-2020s unless more LNG production project commitments are made soon. There is now a bullish outlook for future global LNG demand which has encouraged companies to sanction additional LNG projects, based on the anticipated supply shortage. China’s gas imports can be expected to continue to grow strongly, from 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2018 to up to 300 bcm by 2030.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Gas
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: Chinese investment is flowing fast into Uganda, and spreading into the agriculture and forestry sectors. The government needs to keep pace with these developments so the benefits can be shared by Ugandans. A new analysis shows that, while the jobs and new businesses created are well received, the working conditions and environmental practices of Chinese companies are often poor. Many people evicted from their land to make way for new projects have not been compensated. To hold Chinese companies to account, government agencies, with support from NGOs, must share information about these investments and introduce stronger regulation — in particular to uphold community rights. In turn, Chinese companies must be more transparent, responsible and legally compliant. With a proactive and accountable strategy for Chinese investment management, Uganda could make major gains for sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Business , Accountability, Investment, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, China
  • Author: Peter Sufrin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: According to a recent State Department report, the United States is Brazil's second largest trading partner, and Brazil is the U.S.'s ninth largest trading partner. Not until the 1990s did the Brazilian government address trade liberalization, privatization, competition, and productivity as a way to increase commodities exports, and promote growth in imports of manufactured products. The possibility for further cooperation exists, particularly in the realm of Foreign Direct Investment, patent law, and a double taxation treaty, and with initiatives such as a U.S.-Brazil Commission on Economic and Trade Relations, a Defense Cooperation Dialogue, an Infrastructure Development Working Group, and an Economic and Financial Dialogue.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Alliance, Trade Liberalization, Free Trade, Exports
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Latin America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: Integrating China into the liberal trade order was expected to have a moderating effect on Beijing. Instead, under President Xi Jinping, China has asserted its military control over the South China Sea and cracked down on domestic dissent, all while continuing to use unfair trade practices to boost its economy. As a result, a bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington that the U.S. must rethink the assumptions underpinning its approach to China’s rise. But President Donald Trump’s confrontational approach, including a costly trade war, is unlikely to prove effective. This report provides a comprehensive look at the military and economic aspects of U.S.-China rivalry in the Trump era.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Military Affairs, Trade Wars, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Victor Carneiro Corrêa Vieira
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: In 1946, Mao Zedong began to elaborate his theory of the Third World from the perception that there would be an ‘intermediate zone’ of countries between the two superpowers. From there, he concluded that Africa, Latin America, and Asia, except for Japan, would compose the revolutionary forces capable of defeating imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism. The start of international aid from the People’s Republic of China to developing countries dates back to the period immediately after the Bandung Conference of 1955, extending to the present. Through a bibliographical and documentary analysis, the article starts with the following research question: What role did domestic and international factors play in China’s foreign aid drivers over the years? To answer the question, the evolution of Chinese international assistance was studied from Mao to the Belt and Road Initiative, which is the complete expression of the country’s ‘quaternity’ model of co-operation, combining aid, trade, investment, and technical assistance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Chas W. Freeman Jr.
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: The Trump administration has declared economic war on China. The United States has raised taxes on Chinese imports to levels not seen since the Smoot–Hawley tariffs of the Great Depression. Over the course of this year, Chinese imports of American goods have decreased by 26.4 percent, while China’s exports to the United States are down 10.7 percent. Washington has embargoed exports to China of a constantly expanding list of high-tech manufactures. It seeks to block Chinese telecommunications companies from third-country markets. The United States has mounted a vigorous campaign to persuade other countries to reject Chinese investments in their infrastructure, notably in the case of 5G telecommunications networks.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars, International Community, Exports
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Lola Wilhelm, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: The demand for infant formula in Australia is insatiable. Bare shelves have led supermarkets and chemists to ration sales, limiting the quantity customers can buy in a single transaction. But it’s not Australian parents fuelling the formula shortages. A high proportion, between fifty and ninety percent, of all Australian infant formula is exported to China. The situation has created tensions between the two countries. Australian shoppers complain of Chinese daigou (personal shoppers) buying formula before it is even stacked on shelves and stripping supermarkets in teams of people. In April 2019, eight people were arrested in Australia for stealing over a million dollars of infant formula in Sydney to sell in China. Two months later, Chinese military personnel were photographed loading boxes of formula onto a Chinese warship before departing Sydney Harbour.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Multinational Corporations
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Vivid Lam, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Pingyao (平遥) is a remote place for a tourist attraction. Located in the centre of Shanxi province, it is some 380 miles from Beijing and further from Shanghai or Hong Kong where the tourists tend to congregate. Yet, despite the isolation, come they do to Pingyao. The nearest airport to Pingyao is in Tiayuan, over one hundred kilometres away, so most visitors arrive by coach or by train; along the poorly paved streets and past the decaying houses until they arrive in the middle of the city. Here the tourists disembark from their coaches and their trains and find themselves transported to the days of the Qing dynasty emperors, surrounded by imperial architecture. The tourists wander slowly towards West Street. This is the home of the most popular attraction: the headquarters of Ri Sheng Chang (日昇), a late Qing company which revolutionised Chinese banking, now a museum and an increasingly busy tourist attraction. This is the story of how it came to be and how the little city in a small province in China rose to prominence, became the financial centre of the world’s largest economy, fell to obscurity and, now, rises again.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Clayton Cheney
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: The Digital Silk Road is the component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to establish China as the global technological superpower. While the Belt and Road Initiative is generally understood to be a foreign policy initiative, it is important to view the Digital Silk Road as both a foreign and domestically focused aspect of the initiative. The first step to analyzing this component of the Belt and Road Initiative is to create a conceptual roadmap to understand the components of the Digital Silk Road. This paper argues that it comprises four interrelated, technologically focused initiatives. First, China is investing abroad in digital infrastructure, including next generation cellular networks, fiberoptic cables and data centers. Second, it contains a domestic focus on developing advanced technologies that will be essential to global economic and military power. These advanced technologies include satellite navigation systems, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Third, because China recognizes the importance of economic interdependence to international influence, the Digital Silk Road promotes e-commerce through digital free trade zones. Last, digital diplomacy and governance, including through multilateral institutions, are key to China creating its ideal international digital environment.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Multilateral Relatons, Digital Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Artificial Intelligence, Silk Road
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Dan Steinbock
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s ‘America First’ policies come at a critical time in the global economy. These bad policies will have adverse consequences in international trade. In the absence of countervailing forces, they could unsettle the post-2008 global recovery and undermine postwar globalization.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Economy, Tariffs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Emerging challenges to international order require cooperation between the United States and China, two countries that share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly. U.S.-China relations are becoming more strained and antagonistic, however, and the prospects for cooperation appear to be receding. To explore whether there are still grounds for cooperation on issues of common concern between the two countries, in March 2018 the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of fifteen experts from the United States and China for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-China Cooperation.” CPA partnered with Peking University’s School of International Studies in Beijing for the workshop and also met with experts at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies in Shanghai. During the workshop, President Donald J. Trump announced plans to impose about $60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports. While trade was a major topic of discussion, it was by no means the only area discussed. Workshop participants assessed conflicting views of the sources of global disorder and examined areas of global governance such as international trade, development, the environment, and the future of various multilateral institutions. They also discussed the most pressing security challenges in East and Southwest Asia. Participants highlighted the need for a greater understanding between the United States and China on the evolving international order. No major transnational problems will be solved without some cooperation between the two powers. It is therefore imperative that the two countries avoid a further deterioration of the relationship and instead identify areas of potential cooperation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although the Barack Obama administration rhetorically made Southeast Asia a centerpiece of its “rebalance to Asia” strategy, the administration still largely focused on the Middle East and Europe, and Southeast Asia remained a low U.S. policy priority. The Obama administration did try to boost U.S. economic ties with Southeast Asia in 2016 by forging the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but that trade deal was broadly unpopular in the United States. The following year, the Donald J. Trump administration ended U.S. participation in the TPP, and it also suggested launching punitive economic measures against Southeast Asian states currently running trade surpluses with the United States. Many Southeast Asian leaders now worry that Washington has no clear security or economic strategy for the region, other than applying pressure on Beijing to respect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. In this perceived void of U.S. leadership and strategy, workshop participants assessed how Southeast Asia might change as China becomes an increasingly dominant regional security and economic actor. They also discussed the future of U.S. strategic and economic relationships with important partners in the region, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Participants further considered how China might use its growing leverage in Southeast Asia, and whether Beijing’s tactics could backfire. Finally, several workshop participants posited that the United States, China, and Southeast Asian states could cooperate on at least some nontraditional security issues, such as combating piracy and terrorism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski, Mark Katz, Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The great-power system has been in constant change since the end of the Cold War. The US became the hegemonic power, and under its shelter, the European Union was able to transform into a European-wide political body. Soon, a group of leading regional powers started to question the universalist aspirations of the Western-led international order. Two members of this club in particular were not satisfied with the role of a regional hegemon and had more global ambitions. China has already become the largest trading nation globally, and Chinese foreign policy has assumed an assertive tone. China has both the potential to challenge US hegemony, as well as the political will to use it. Russia’s project to achieve a global great-power status, on the other hand, is inspired by its historical identity and its alleged humiliation by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia longs for recognition of its great-power status in particular from the US. This report focuses on relations between China and Russia on the one hand and the US and Russia on the other. It analyses the current developments and future trends in these relationships, as well as their implications for the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert McDougall
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The impasse in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the appointment of new members of the Appellate Body is just one symptom of crisis in cooperation on trade. Driven by skepticism about multilateralism and binding dispute settlement, and by a growing strategic and economic rivalry with China, the current US administration has elevated longstanding US concerns about WTO dispute settlement to new heights. The inability of WTO members to exercise their collective authority to interpret the meaning of their WTO commitments has meant that the Appellate Body is effectively not subject to any checks and balances. As other WTO members blocked US efforts to negotiate more member control, the United States increasingly turned to unpopular unilateral mechanisms, culminating in the current block on new appointments as part of its more disruptive trade policy. Assuming the United States will eventually return to rules-based trade, restoring the WTO dispute settlement system to full capacity and enhancing its legitimacy will likely require some changes. This might include improving mechanisms for political oversight, diverting sensitive issues from adjudication, narrowing the scope of adjudication, improving institutional support and providing members more say over certain procedures. Preserving compulsory, impartial and enforceable dispute settlement in the WTO will require an accommodation of different perspectives on how the system should function. Achieving this, in whatever form, will contribute to maintaining and even strengthening multilateral cooperation on trade.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Global Political Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Cobus van Staden
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Several ambitious schemes have been proposed to link Africa’s east and west coasts, some of which are closer to full realization than others. Most notable in this respect is a plan to expand the existing Trans-African Highway 5 (TAH5) into a true cross-continental road and rail link, the early stages of which China has helped bring to fruition where Western consortiums failed. Likewise, Chinese investment in African infrastructure through Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may help create expanded sub-regional linkages, particularly in East Africa, that could help facilitate the emergence of an eventual, true East-West link in the long term. However, in the short-to-mid-term, the obstacles to a truly robust set of East-West transport links are formidable, and it is unlikely that China’s involvement will be a panacea.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Gustaaf Geeraets
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Against a background in which the United States is increasingly drawing into question its commitments to free trade and the global commons, the challenge for the EU and China is to deal with a global governance system that is evolving from a multilateral system centred around the US into a more diffuse system resting on the three strong trading poles: China, the EU and the US.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Anshuman Rahul
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: The OBOR initiative of China often termed as ‘Modern-day Silk Road’ is based on President Xi Jinping’s epic vision to make ‘China Great Again’ by reviving the Silk Route of ancient times. This initiative aims to engage Eurasia economically by creating a network of infrastructure. In this regard, the article attempts to understand the geo-politics behind India’s refusal to join OBOR and strategic response to counter the most appealing economic engagement of the present era but considered to be a debt-trap by India.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Military Strategy, Silk Road
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Monica Heinzaelmann, Leonardo Faria de Mattos
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy International Relations
  • Institution: Postgraduate Program in International Strategic Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  • Abstract: The Antarctic Treaty was signed during the Cold War and intended to preserve the continent and transform it into a conflict free territory, prioritizing scientific cooperation. Despite having quadrupled the number of its signatories, the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) faces nowadays the uncertainties of the new international order. Starting out from John Mearsheimer’s realistic perspective, this paper aims to analyze, the strategic importance of Antarctica and the interests that China and India have on the continent, as well as speculate on how their rise on the international scenario can impact the future of the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, Antartica
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Several Middle Eastern countries, such as Turkey and Iran, have been recently shifting into international currencies or local currencies, instead of the US dollar, in their foreign trade. This shift comes amid the US economic sanctions on Iran in tandem with its souring relations with Turkey. What is striking in this regard is that there is an international acceptance of other currencies, especially the Chinese yuan, with the pricing of some oil contracts in the same currency. This move seems to have a particular political significance, namely rejecting the impact of the US dollar on the trade of these countries rather than its economic feasibility, amid the sharp fluctuations in the local currencies of Iran, Turkey, and India in the past period.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Currency, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Eurasia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe, Jean-François Boittin
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Under particular US legal rationale, such as calling foreign imports a “national security threat”, President Donald Trump has started imposing tariffs and/or quotas and has launched national security investigations on a growing number of imported goods from US allies and others alike.In March and June 2018, the US imposed tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminium on all trading partners, but Australia. In July and August 2018, the US began imposing tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese industrial goods on the ground of unfair trade practices. As China has retaliated with tit-for-tat measures, President Trump has imposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 24 September 2018 onwards, and in an unprecedented escalation of his trade war with China, he has also threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese goods. If eventually carried out, Trump’s latest threat could result in tariffs on all Chinese goods entering the US. China has retaliated and imposed tariffs on $60 billion in US goods, including a 10% duty on liquefied natural gas (LNG). For the time being, trade tensions have had a limited impact on the energy market. But the new round of US tariffs and retaliation measures by China suggest that this is going to change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Gas, Renewable Energy, Coal
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: On March 22, 2018, Trump proposed to impose tariffs on up to $50 billion of Chinese imports leading to a significant concern over the "Trade War" between the US and China. We evaluate the market responses to this event for firms in both countries, depending on their direct and indirect exposures to US-China trade. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China have lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks in the short time window around the announcement date. We also find that firms' indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcement. These findings suggest that the structure of US-China trade is much more complex than the simplistic view of global trade that engendered Trump's "Trade War" against China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Global Political Economy, Trade Wars, Exports
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Alice Amorim
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: This brief focuses on climate finance, as it encompasses a substantive part of the resources in this broader sustainability agenda. Having a better understanding of this field is important given the possible risk of other development resources being hijacked by the climate finance rhetoric. The paper also presents updated data on climate finance flows and for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Finally, it presents some evidence of how China and Chinese-led financial institutions are becoming key players in this field.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Trade and Finance, Regulation, Finance, Risk, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Carlos Eduardo Carvalho, João Paulo Nicolini Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Institution: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Abstract: The launch of a vision document for Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) at the African Development Bank meeting in Gujarat in 2017 reveals an important aspect to grasp the awkening of a strategy to face China’s rise. This conference of the African Development Bank (AfDB) is a landmark for this initiative. This bank is a mechanism for economic and social development with the participation of non-African members (e.g. China, India, Brazil, the United States, and Japan). The main contributors to the African Development Fund -linked to this bank -are the United Kingdom, the USA and Japan. Beijing does not figure among the most influent members of this organization. Thus, it was an opportunity for think tanks, supported by India and Japan, to introduce the idea of a corridor aimed to link Asia to Africa in order to increase co-operation in agriculture, social development and technology sharing.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic growth, Banks, Trade, Economic Development , Trade Policy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: CHRISTOPHER K JOHNSON, Amy Searight, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is evident that China’s rise will continue to dominate the geopolitics of Asia. How do the Chinese view this? Do its neighbors view it as inevitable, benign, or concerning? Where is there greatest convergence of Chinese views with that of its neighbors, and where is the greatest divergence?
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Heather A. Conley
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of the Arctic as a region of political and economic opportunity adds a new dimension to U.S.-China relations. Despite divergent priorities in the region, there are opportunities for greater cooperation. Both countries experience the physical challenges of climate change while investing in scientific research to gain a better understanding of a transforming Arctic. They both also seek cooperation through the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization to promote governance in the region. For these reasons, among others, the United States and China should create a more purposeful dialogue on a range of Arctic issues. U.S.-Sino Relations in the Arctic: A Roadmap for Future Cooperation is the result of fruitful exchanges between American and Chinese experts who addressed a range of issues: the future of Arctic governance, geopolitical factors shaping the Arctic’s future, international maritime issues in the Central Arctic Ocean, future trends in sustainable Arctic development, and new bilateral scientific research initiatives in the Arctic. Through frank and candid exchanges, this report aims to lay the foundation of strong bilateral cooperation between the United States and China in the Arctic.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: China, America, Arctic
  • Author: Jennifer M. Harris
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese outbound investment is on the rise, and much of it is finding its way into the United States. Be- tween 2010 and 2015, China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the United States grew by an average of 32 percent annually.1 Within the past two years alone, Chinese foreign investment inflows to the United States increased four-fold, and available data suggests 2017 will see the second highest annual investment on record, after 2016.2 This is not a two-way street: the United States and other foreign investors do not enjoy similar open market access in China. China maintains a dizzying assortment of formal and informal barriers to for- eign investment—from outright restrictions and quotas to mandatory joint ventures, forced localization measures, and domestic licensing regimes. Despite years of negotiations, these barriers are, if anything, growing more cumbersome in many sectors. U.S. firms paint a darkening picture of the business climate they face in China. U.S. FDI in China has slowed considerably in recent years: after growing roughly 180 percent from 2002 to 2007 (albeit from a low baseline), U.S. FDI flows into China have declined since 2012.3 The one-way surge of Chinese investment into the United States comes against a backdrop of strategic mistrust between Washington and Beijing. Ongoing accusations of state-sponsored cyber predation of U.S. firms, Beijing’s increasing aggressiveness over territorial disputes, its systematic efforts to under- mine the U.S. alliance system in Asia, and mounting tensions over North Korea all contribute to a dark- ening mood in the U.S.-China relationship. And, like so much involving China, this investment is simply different. Rarely, if ever, has the United States seen an increase in investment of this magnitude—espe- cially from a non-ally and especially from one where the lines between state ownership and private own- ership are so inherently blurred. For all the concern surrounding Japanese investment in the United States in the 1980s—coming as it did amid fierce economic competition—those debates ultimately re- mained under the umbrella of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. All of this raises questions about whether the United States needs to tighten its stance on Chinese in- bound investment; proposals to that effect have bipartisan support in the Congress. The Donald J. Trump administration has signaled its desire for a tougher approach in its economic dealings with China, which U.S. businesses seem to welcome. One foundation for such an approach is the principle of reciprocity. Roughly two dozen sectors in China—construction, mining, banking, insurance, and so on—remain effectively off-limits to American investment, because the Chinese government protects its domestic companies through regulations and financial subsidies. Even in sectors that technically allow foreign investment, discriminatory industrial policies tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese firms. Until this changes, Washington would be justi- fied—even obligated—to limit Chinese investment in the U.S. market. However, U.S. policymakers do not have a consensus on what a policy of reciprocity would entail, and different policy interpretations could spell quite different economic and foreign policy consequences for the United States. The United States should aim for a version of reciprocity that allows it the flexibility to maximize pressure on the broad range of Chinese industrial policy concerns while leaving a clear route to negotiations. The United States should also encourage European and other Western countries, many of which are seeing similar increases in Chinese investment, to adopt this new approach.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Evan Ellis
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Though superpower diplomacy dominated coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) leaders summit in November, China’s upgrading of a free-trade agreement with Chile served to highlight the strength of an economic and political relationship that it has built with the country, and the influential position Chile currently occupies in shaping Chinese engagement with Latin America.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Chile
  • Author: Inayat Kalim
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with all its associated projects, favorably influences the geo-strategic and geo-economic prospects of China. Geo-strategic location of Gwadar further facilitates China to capture transit trade with Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Middle East and influence this regional accessibility with a viable and secured corridor for further expansion of regional economic cooperation. Since the emergence of China as an energy importer in late 90s, it has adopted a „go out‟ strategy to secure energy assets through procurement and long term energy investment in the energy rich countries, mostly in the Persian Gulf states and convert historical routes into a modern grid of energy pipelines, roads and railways for its energy supplies. The strategy aims at using financial means such as building new seaports, infrastructure development and military and hydrocarbon cooperation between regional countries to establish an artery for ensuring uninterrupted crude oil supply to its territory. This Chinese approach has been referred by many intellects around the globe as the revitalization of the Silk Road Strategy to link China with surrounding regions to generate immense economic dividends.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Geopolitics, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia, Punjab