Highlights of this Month’s Edition: • Bilateral trade: U.S. exports struggle with a strong dollar and weak global growth; China remains the largest U.S. trading partner in goods. • Bilateral policy issues: Chinese companies spend more on acquisitions of U.S. firms in January and February than in all of 2015. • Policy trends in China’s economy: China lowers RRR, opens bond markets to foreigners to counter capital outflows; Chinese public increases travel and consumer spending during the 2016 Lunar New Year; New Chinese online content restrictions create uncertainty for U.S. tech and media companies. • Sector focus – GMOs: ChemChina makes $43 billion bid to acquire agriculture giant Syngenta; China seeks to boost agriculture productivity by increasing GMO crop production.
Highlights of this Month’s Edition:
• Bilateral trade: At $365.7 billion, U.S. goods deficit with China hits new record; U.S. services exports expanded to a record high in Q3 2015 driven by high Chinese travel to the United States. • Bilateral policy issues: U.S. firms rate Chinese interpretation of law as top concern and report lower profitability and future growth in China’s economy in American Chamber of Commerce survey. • Quarterly review of China’s economy: GDP growth slows to 6.9 percent on manufacturing deceleration; Beijing pursues new “supply-side” reforms; stock market volatility continues; the $500 billion surge in Chinese capital outflows places the Chinese government on the horns of a dilemma. • Sector focus – Real estate: The slowdown in China’s real estate sector remains a drag on GDP growth; government attempts to boost the sector have failed to halt the market’s decline.
The report examines the Chinese government’s actions to promote the use of its currency, the renminbi (RMB), in the global monetary system as a payment currency for cross-border trade and financial transactions, a vehicle currency for foreign trade and international capital transactions, and a reserve currency. The report analyzes the potential effects of the rising prominence of the RMB on the financial clout of the United States and the U.S. dollar’s role in denominating international trade transactions and settling cross-border financial transactions.
On January 16, 2016, Taiwan held its presidential and parliamentary elections. Focusing on economic and local issues in the campaign, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen and her running mate Chen Chien-jen won the election with over 56 percent of the vote, while the traditionally pro-independence DPP captured an outright majority in the Legislative Yuan (LY) for the first time in Taiwan’s history, winning 68 of 113 seats. With the DPP’s victories in the presidential and LY elections, the party can pursue its economic and cross-Strait goals. This issue brief analyzes the results of Taiwan’s elections and discusses the implications of the elections for cross-Strait relations and the United States.
After the stock market turmoil last August, Chinese regulators were hoping for a peaceful start to the year, preparing to wind down the ban on sales for big shareholders and launching a new mechanism (a circuit breaker) designed to prevent dramatic falls on par with those seen last year. The plan backfired. China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets crashed on January 4, the first day of trading, followed by another crash on January 7; in both cases, the circuit breaker halted trading. The combined rout erased more than $1 trillion of value. The government’s attempts to stem the meltdown only worsened the situation, confusing investors and raising fresh doubts over the ability of the Chinese government to manage a slowdown in the economy. They also exposed the contradiction inherent in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership trying to introduce market-oriented policies for the broader economy while maintaining control over the composition and behavior of the Chinese stock markets—an approach that leads to greater volatility and moral hazard.
Highlights of this month’s edition:
• Bilateral trade: U.S. goods deficit with China slowed in November 2015 as imports from China declined. • Bilateral policy issues: USTR challenges China’s discriminatory taxation policy for domestically produced small aircraft; the PBOC creates a multicurrency index for the RMB in a bid to deemphasize links to the dollar. • Policy trends in China’s economy: Beijing announces a slate of new reforms to improve quality of life, including changes to the household registration system; China a party to the Paris climate change agreement, but questions remain about reliability of China’s pledges. • Sector focus – Internet Privacy and Freedom of the Press: China passes antiterrorism law requiring decryption and other technological assistance from telecommunications and Internet services providers; Xi Jinping defends “Internet sovereignty” at Beijing-sponsored World Internet Conference despite China’s status as worst abuser of Internet freedom and jailer of journalists in 2015.
Leading up to the 2016 election, Taiwan’s electorate has grown largely dissatisfied with the state of the domestic economy and increasingly worried about Taiwan’s growing dependence on China. Amid stagnant growth and wages, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has focused its campaign on improving Taiwan’s domestic economy through expanded social welfare benefits, a higher minimum wage, and new local sources of innovation. Meanwhile, the economic platform of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT) has largely been defined by promoting Taiwan’s external economic relations, especially with China, as a means of supporting export-led growth. This report provides an objective review of major economic indicators in Taiwan, and evaluates the implications of political transition for Taiwan’s economic relations with China, the United States, and the international community.
Despite China’s rapidly growing overseas engagement and recent multilateral initiatives, the country still receives development finance from a variety of governments and institutions. From a development perspective, China thus challenges convention and, like other middle-income countries, straddles the divide between a developing nation requiring external assistance and an emerging power assuming global leadership roles. This report examines China’s concurrent positions as a recipient and a provider of development finance, evaluating the objectives driving global finance flows, and assessing the impact of these flows on U.S. economic and diplomatic interests.
Highlights of this Month’s Edition • Bilateral trade: October U.S. goods trade deficit with China at $33 billion, the smallest deficit in seven months. • Bilateral policy issues: RMB added to the SDR basket; a U.S.-China agreement on joint inspections of accounting firms falls through, placing U.S. regulators in violation of their mandate. • Policy trends in China’s economy: Chinese e-commerce soars as Singles’ Day eclipses Black Friday and Cyber Monday in online sales. • Sector spotlight – Traditional Chinese medicine: Internationalization and modernization key for increasing quality and regulatory acceptance and boosting exports to Western market.
Highlights of this Month’s Edition
• Bilateral trade: In September, the U.S. deficit in goods trade with China hit $36.3 billion, the highest monthly deficit on record; quarterly service imports from China reach highest level on record, weakening the U.S. trade in services surplus.
• Policy trends in China’s economy: Fifth Plenum sets course for the 13th Five-Year Plan; President Xi’s state visit to the UK nets expanded international role for the RMB.
• Quarterly review of China’s economy: China’s GDP grew 6.9 percent in third quarter; government moves to support the economy.
• Sector spotlight – Aluminum: Chinese subsidies and preferential policies have created overcapacity that has lowered global prices and eroded the profitability of the U.S. aluminum sector.
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.