Highlights of this month’s edition
Bilateral trade: The U.S. June trade deficit in goods was the highest yet this year; although the U.S. surplus in services increased in the first quarter of 2014, the overall U.S. deficit is headed for another record; Bilateral policy issues: Latest S&ED sets a timeline for BIT negotiations, few other outcomes; WTO issues a mixed ruling in China’s challenge to U.S. countervailing duties; Ralls wins a limited legal victory in battle with CFIUS; Chinese investment in U.S. real estate jumps; Microsoft under investigation by Chinese antitrust authorities; Quarterly review of China’s economy: Momentum sustained despite housing slump; surge in exports and PMI; lack of rebalancing; corporate bond boom and new private banks; Beijing deepens ties with Latin America and co-establishes BRICS bank; and Sector spotlight – China’s meat industry: U.S. companies under fire in meat safety scandal; broader questions raised about China’s food regulation and discrimination against foreign companies.
Since the Commission’s examination in 2008 of prison labor issues in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), there has been little substantive reduction in the scale and scope of China’s broad network of prison labor facilities. These facilities, led by local officials, continue to produce goods intended for export on a potentially large scale, in violation of U.S.-China agreements on the exports of prison labor goods to the United States. Although U.S. representatives in Beijing have continued to engage with their Chinese counterparts regarding suspected prison manufacturing facilities, the pattern of long delays and minimal cooperation by officials in the PRC Ministry of Prisons persists. Further, it is unclear whether the recent abolition of “reeducation through labor” (RTL) and reported release of up to tens of thousands of prisoners will have a significant impact on the prison labor system and export of prison labor products.
Highlights of this month’s edition:
Bilateral trade: U.S. exports to China stage modest recovery, driven by transportation equipment; monthly goods deficit at highest level so far this year; Bilateral policy issues: State Dept official previews S&ED talking points; China disappoints at WTO ITA talks; solar dispute with China splits U.S. interest groups; 25th Tiananmen anniversary makes China business difficult for Google; China’s economy: Property slump adds to concerns of slowdown; anticorruption crackdown intensifies with SOE auditing campaign and indictment of top military official; and Sector spotlight sovereign wealth funds: China Investment Corp. under siege from Chinese auditors; adds to concerns about fund’s governance and investment strategy
In May 2014, Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce website, filed for a U.S.-based initial public offering (IPO) in what is expected to be one of the largest in U.S. history. The highly anticipated IPO will be just one in a recent wave of Chinese Internet companies launching IPOs in the United States. The trend has raised some misgivings among U.S. regulators about the corporate structures of these companies. To bypass Chinese government restrictions on foreign investment in the Internet sector, Chinese Internet companies use a complex and highly risky mechanism known as a Variable Interest Entity (VIE).
On May 21, China signed a 30-year, $400 billion gas supply deal with Russia. The agreement concluded a decade of protracted negotiations, and coincided with an escalation of the Ukraine crisis in Europe. This paper examines the conditions, motives, and implications of the deal. It begins by looking at China’s energy needs and gas import strategy, as well as Russia’s Asia pivot. It then analyzes the key points of contention – the price, shipping route, and payment and investment conditions – and whether or not these were resolved in China’s favor. Section 3 places the deal in the context of Sino-Russian relations, in terms of geopolitics, economic ties, and a maturing energy partnership. The paper closes with implications for the United States, Europe, and Japan.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.