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What we are reading

US-China trade and technology competition

Published 21 February 2023

What can we expect in the coming years as the US and China continue to tighten restrictions on trade in advanced technologies? What form will China’s response take? Which global institutions support trade reform? Explore our reading list for the latest developments in global trade.

US-China tit-for-tat on tech trade 

The United States escalated competition over semiconductors with game-changing export controls.  What can we expect in the coming years as trade restrictions rise? The Biden Administration is preparing to curb US investment in advanced technologies in China, per New York Times. American investors contribute to China’s artificial intelligence development in a variety of ways, according to the Center for Security and Emerging Technology. China’s new Minister for Industry and Information Technology says China should focus on self-reliance, reports Bloomberg and a scholar at Peking University offers his ideas for responding to chip sanctions. China may impose export controls on solar panel technologies. American cloud companies compete with Chinese counterparts for business in Southeast Asia, reports the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Ford has announced a new partnership with China’s CATL, prompting scrutiny from both Chinese and US authorities.

Mentioned publications 

  1. U.S. Aims to Curtail Technology Investment in China – Ana Swanson and Lauren Hirsch, The New York Times, February 9, 2023
    The US Government is preparing to restrict US investment in advanced technologies in China.
  2. U.S. Outbound Investment into Chinese AI Companies – Emily S. Weinstein and Ngor Luong, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, February 2023
    In what ways are US companies investing in China’s AI development and is this a cause for concern? 
  3. China’s New Tech Czar Lays Out Plan to Transcend US Sanctions – Bloomberg News, February 16, 2023
    China’s new Minister for Industry and Information Technology advocates for Chinese self-sufficiency.
  4. US-China Chip War – Policy Recommendations by PKU Scholar Lu Feng – Sinification, February 1, 2023
    A Peking University academic offers insights into how China could respond to US export controls. 
  5. China drafts new export controls to shore up solar dominance – Nadya Yeh, The China Project, February 1, 2023
    China considers imposing its export controls on advanced solar technologies.
  6. American Cloud Companies Face Challenge From China in Southeast Asia – Rafaelle Huang, The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2023
    Chinese companies have a cost advantage in a region where cloud companies are investing heavily.
  7. China to Scrutinize Ford-CATL EV Battery Deal to Ensure Core Technology Isn’t Shared – Bloomberg News, February 16, 2023
    A new collaboration between a US carmaker and a Chinese battery maker faces scrutiny from all sides. 

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Apple’s supply chain challenge  

Apple’s production is deeply entrenched in China.  What does this mean for Apple’s future as US-China tensions escalate? Patrick McGee offers a deep dive into how Apple decided to tie its fortunes to China, what it would take to shift its operations out of China, and initial views of whether India offers a viable alternative. McKinsey Global Institute presents an important context on concentration in global trade

Mentioned publications 

  1. How Apple tied its fortunes to China – Patrick McGee, Financial Times, January 17, 2023
    Apple’s bespoke supply chain is deeply embedded in China.
  2. What it would take for Apple to disentangle itself from China – Patrick McGee, Financial Times, January 18, 2023
    Apple will find it hard to shift production out of China due to the sophistication of its operations there.
  3. Apple’s manufacturing shift to India hits stumbling blocks – Patrick McGee and John Reed, Financial Times, February 14, 2023
    Apple discovers challenges in sourcing from India.
  4. The complication of concentration in global trade – McKinsey Global Institute, January 12, 2023
    Trade can be highly concentrated, by choice and by necessity. 

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Economic integration and the institutions that support it 

The Asian Development Bank offers insight into how Asian economic integration has fared over the past year.  OECD assesses if the global economy has become more integrated through services trade.  What global institutions best support trade reform leading to greater economic integration investigates the Peterson Institute for International Economics.   

Mentioned publications 

  1. Asian Economic Integration Report 2023: Trade, Investment, and Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific – Asian Development Bank, February 2023
    Trade growth in Asia is strong but facing challenges. 
  2. OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index: Policy trends up to 2023 – OECD, February 2023
    Services trade rules were dynamic in 2022, with an increase in regulatory changes compared to 2021.
  3. The World Bank, the IMF, and the GATT/WTO Which Institution Most Supported Trade Reform in Developing Economies? – Douglas A. Irwin, Peterson Institute for International Economics, December 2022
    The IMF’s focus on currency and exchange rate reforms may have had the greatest impact on trade.

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