Research

Research
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report entitled China’s Biotechnology Development: The Role of U.S. and Other Foreign Engagement, prepared for the Commission by Gryphon Scientific and Rhodium Group. The report examines the development of China’s biotechnology industry and the role foreign trade, investment, and other linkages—particularly with the United States—have played in its evolution.
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The Trump Administration cited China as a major reason behind its decision to announce U.S. intentions to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. China is not a party to the INF Treaty, which has allowed Beijing to rapidly expand its missile arsenal as part of a military strategy designed to counter U.S. and allied military power in Asia. China has consistently refused to accede to the accord and expressed its opposition to U.S. withdrawal, positions that implicitly recognize the advantages Beijing derives from being unconstrained by the treaty’s limits. This report explains the importance of China’s ground-launched missiles to Beijing’s overall military strategy; surveys Chinese reactions to the potential U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty; and assesses both the positive and negative implications of U.S. withdrawal for the military balance in Asia, global arms control regime, U.S. relations with Asian allies, and China-Russia ties.
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The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission invites submission of proposals to provide a one-time unclassified report on China’s space and counterspace capabilities and activities. Electronic or hard-copy proposals must be submitted by 5:00PM (EST) on February 20, 2019.
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The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission invites submission of proposals to provide a one-time unclassified report on China’s smart cities development. Electronic or hard-copy proposals must be submitted by 5:00PM (EST) on February 20, 2019.
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China is the largest market for trafficked wildlife products. Its demand has been an important factor leading to declines in iconic species such as elephants and big cats, as well as in lesser-known species like pangolins. Although China’s legal regime establishes protections for many endangered species, loopholes regarding captive breeding and antitrafficking enforcement create opportunities for the illicit wildlife trade to flourish. Success in combating this trade varies by species: regarding the trade in elephant ivory, for example, a confluence of domestic and international pressure culminated in a U.S.-China joint ivory ban, completed in early 2018. Though indications following the ban appear promising, China’s recent partial reversal of its ban on the use of rhino horn and tiger bone highlights continuing shortcomings in its effort to combat wildlife trafficking.
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This issue brief provides an update to the Commission's February 2017 report on fentanyl flows from China, examining the progress of negotiations between U.S. and Chinese law enforcement authorities. Although the Chinese government has taken steps to reduce the manufacture and export of fentanyl-like substances, China remains the largest source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances in the United States. To combat these flows, U.S. authorities have begun taking legal actions against known Chinese drug traffickers, including announcing the first ever indictments and sanctions against Chinese fentanyl traffickers.
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The Internet of Things (IoT)—the interconnection of physical and virtual things via information and communication technologies—is being applied to virtually every sector from smart thermostats in households to swarms of autonomous drones in the battlefield. This report, contracted by the USCC and authored by SOS International, outlines China’s state-led approach to IoT development, assesses the implications for the U.S. economy, national security, and the privacy of U.S. data, and makes recommendations for U.S. policymakers. China’s concerted, state-led approach, including ongoing efforts to influence international IoT standards, has put China in a position to credibly compete against the United States and other leaders in the emerging IoT industry. China’s research into IoT security vulnerabilities and its growing civil-military cooperation raise concerns about gaining unauthorized access to IoT devices and sensitive data. In addition, China’s authorized access to the IoT data of U.S. consumers will only grow as Chinese IoT companies leverage their advantages in production and cost to gain market share in the United States based on the terms of use and sweeping Chinese government data access powers.
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The United States maintains close cultural, economic, and security ties with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). While the United States remains the largest economic and security partner in LAC, in the last decade China has rapidly deepened its economic, diplomatic, and military engagement to become the region’s largest creditor and second-largest trading partner. China’s efforts in the region are driven by four key objectives: (1) ensuring its access to the region’s abundant natural resources and consumer markets; (2) gaining LAC support for its foreign policies; (3) shaping LAC perceptions and discourse about China; and (4) gaining geopolitical influence in a region geographically close and historically subject to U.S. influence. Closer ties with China may reduce U.S. influence in the region; they can also reinforce the region’s overreliance on highly cyclical exports and create unsustainable debt burdens for some LAC countries, which China could use for political leverage. This report examines China’s objectives in the region, its economic, diplomatic, and military and security engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the implications of its expanding regional presence and influence for the United States.
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China uses “United Front” work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)—the agency responsible for coordinating these kinds of influence operations—mostly focuses on the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission. To carry out its influence activities abroad, the UFWD directs “overseas Chinese work,” which seeks to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and communities living outside China, while a number of other key affiliated organizations guided by China’s broader United Front strategy conduct influence operations targeting foreign actors and states. Some of these entities have clear connections to the CCP’s United Front strategy, while others’ linkage is less explicit. Today, United Front-related organizations are playing an increasingly important role in China’s broader foreign policy under Chinese President and General Secretary of the CCP Xi Jinping. It is precisely the nature of United Front work to seek influence through connections that are difficult to publically prove and to gain influence that is interwoven with sensitive issues such as ethnic, political, and national identity, making those who seek to identify the negative effects of such influence vulnerable to accusations of prejudice. Because of the complexities of this issue, it is crucial for the U.S. government to better understand Beijing’s United Front strategy, its goals, and the actors responsible for achieving them if it is to formulate an effective and comprehensive response.
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Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has leveraged relatively cheap labor, large economies of scale, industrial policies, and the manufacturing capabilities of neighboring countries to become an export powerhouse in an increasing range of industries, while often limiting market access for foreign products. China’s scale as a trading power coupled with its protectionist policies have contributed to rising tensions in bilateral trade relations. This report describes and analyzes patterns in the U.S.-China trade relationship in 2012–2017 and is an update to a staff research report published by the Commission in November 2012 which covered trends in trade in 2000–2011.