December 2020 Trade Bulletin

Highlights of This Month’s Edition

  • Bilateral trade: U.S. exports to China grew 66 percent year-on-year to $14.7 billion in October 2020, setting a new monthly record; with U.S. imports also increasing to $44.8 billion, the monthly deficit remained higher than a two-year average.
  • U.S.-China trade tensions: Chinese companies come under renewed pressure to comply with U.S. listing standards as the House of Representatives passes legislation to strengthen oversight of U.S.-listed Chinese companies and U.S. regulators propose new rules on audit requirements; as new restrictions on Chinese companies take effect, the U.S. government continues to counter problematic practices, including forced labor, supplying the Chinese military, and undermining democracy abroad.
  • China policy update: The Chinese government is stepping up its regulation of the tech sector, including draft antimonopoly rules on platform economies, greater content moderation requirements for livestreaming, and draft rules on data collection by mobile apps.
  • Trends in China's economy: As Chinese companies backed by the government default on debt, investors question implicit guarantees of government support and reassess credit risks in China’s corporate debt market; Alibaba set another record in Singles’ Day sales, but questions remain over the resilience of China’s consumption recovery; the RCEP was concluded in November, linking China and 14 other Asian countries in a free trade agreement that stands to further integrate regional supply chains.
  • In focus – Alibaba: The cancellation of last month’s planned IPO of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Group has highlighted increasing domestic and international challenges for the world’s largest e-commerce company.