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What we are reading

Countering China on both sides of the Atlantic

Published 08 February 2022

What We are Reading is a curated list of articles and reports on the latest developments in sustainable trade and investment, technology, and geopolitics.

The world is waiting for a more comprehensive Asia policy from the US. But trade politics are complicating the formulation of a coherent strategy towards the region. Bob Davis examines the issue in Politico. And what would the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework contain? CSIS offers suggestions. 

For those still hoping for a US return to the CPTPP, read Alan Beattie’s insistence in the Financial Times that membership in the bloc is unnecessary for the US to maintain influence in the region.

Countering China, Part 2

Are there more ways for the US to counter China? More aggressive action is one option, according to a Bloomberg article about a group of US Senators responding to a US International Trade Commission report on censorship as a trade barrier. Congress is also considering a screening regime for outbound investment, explains a report by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Tensions are likely to escalate. A WTO arbitration panel sided with China in a dispute over tariffs originating in 2012. The decision has prompted concerns that this will further harden the the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, as Yuka Hayashi explains in the Wall Street Journal.

Competition over cutting-edge technologies continues. As Nikkei Asia reports about China’s new chip-making platform to attract industry giants, the Economist asks: Will China dominate the semiconductor sector? Which nation would suffer more from decoupling? Maybe not the US, reports the South China Morning Post. And the next sector for intense competition? Quantum computing, says the Wire China. 

Tensions are also brewing on the other side of the Atlantic. The EU is adopting measures to counter China. Meanwhile, the European Commission launches a case at the WTO for China’s targeting of Lithuania, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Developing economies through trade

The US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is up for renewal. Ed Gresser of the Progressive Policy Institute offers recommendations for the GSP to do more for developing countries. How can the economies that are struggling most advance up the value chain? Nikkei Asia explores the challenges Cambodia faces.

Africa offers opportunities too. The benefits of closer commercial ties with Africa are outlined in a report by the European Council for Foreign Relations, as the long-awaited EU-Africa Summit takes place in Brussels this month.

Trade financing – and cheese

Would a much-needed modernization of trade financing practices help to alleviate supply chain constraints? Alan Beattie in the Financial Times explores the archaic financial plumbing of global trade.

Lastly, the EU and US battle over geographical indications (GIs), most recently in the form of Gruyère cheese. The Indicator by Planet Money explains what GIs are and why they matter.

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