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What we are reading

RCEP, CPTPP, China’s ambitions, and US industrial policy


Published 11 January 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.

Happy new year, readers!

What does 2022 have in store for global trade?

To learn about upcoming trends in trade, check out John Miller’s top 10 list in the Trade Data Monitor. For US trade policy, Stephen Overly at Politico has five predictions, while Aime Williams in the Financial Times forecasts trouble for President Biden’s trade policies.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) became operational on January 1. The United Nations Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) calls it the world’s new center of gravity for global trade.  Deborah Elms of the Asian Trade Centre explains the agreement’s benefits.

The CPTPP is another power bloc. Cecilia Malmström, now of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, argues for the EU to strategically use its trade power and perhaps consider joining the trade bloc. Jeffrey Schott provides a helpful overview of the composition – current and aspirational – of both the CPTPP and RCEP.

Emerging trends in US-China trade

The end of 2021 saw new US restrictions imposed on trade with China. How will they impact the trade relationship in 2022? WilmerHale gives a comprehensive breakdown. Meanwhile, two years after the “Phase One” agreement, the Economist counts the costs to both sides.

Certainly, China continues its efforts to lead the global pharmaceutical industry, as explained by Nikkei Asia. China’s forays in artificial intelligence, including the latest regulations to govern the sector, are detailed by Matthew Sheehan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Worker-centric trade policy = industrial policy + protectionism?

Examining this question through the lens of the US solar industry, Gavin Bade in Politico reports on the Biden Administration’s efforts towards industrial policy. Meanwhile, the trials and tribulations of industry resuscitation in the US is documented by Lili Pike in the Wire.

Lastly, supply chain troubles continue to vex countries around the world. Nations are taking action. As Politico reports, the EU is laying the groundwork for a new law seeking emergency powers over supply chains.

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