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August 2020 Trade Bulletin

Highlights of This Month’s Edition

  • Bilateral trade: The U.S. goods trade deficit with China fell to $131.7 billion in the first half of 2020; U.S. energy and electronics exports expanded, while imports contracted across most sectors; U.S.-China services trade plunged in the first quarter of 2020 as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic halted travel.
  • Bilateral policy issues: New allegations of Chinese government-directed hacking and theft of U.S. technology came to light in July, underscoring increasing U.S.-China tech tensions; following the Chinese government’s implementation of a national security law for Hong Kong, the Trump Administration revoked Hong Kong’s special treatment in U.S. law and signed a bill authorizing sanctions against entities that contribute to this effort; the U.S. government enhanced its response to human rights abuses in Xinjiang by issuing an advisory on associated supply chain risks, adding to the Entity List 11 Chinese companies involved in human rights violations, and sanctioning Chinese government officials and organizations.
  • Policy trends in China: A new data security law draft released by the China National People’s Congress contains extraterritorial provisions similar to the Hong Kong national security law, extending the Chinese government’s digital regime beyond China’s borders; Chinese regulators step up scrutiny of corporate governance issues and financial misconduct.
  • Quarterly review of China’s economy: China’s economy grew 3.2 percent in Q2 2020, according to official statistics; flooding in central and southeastern China displaced millions and drove agriculture prices higher; General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated the need for economic self-reliance in new formulation “dual economy.”