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China’s Hunger for U.S. Planes and Cars: Assessing the Risks

April 8, 2014 Comments off

China’s Hunger for U.S. Planes and Cars: Assessing the Risks (PDF)
Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

The U.S. trade deficit with China continues to grow but at a slower rate. A key reason for this is the boom in U.S. automotive and aerospace shipments to China. As China becomes more affluent and urbanized, ordinary Chinese are driving more cars and traveling more by frequently by air. China’s future demand, however, could be affected by pollution, traffic bottlenecks, and other factors. U.S. companies must also contend with China’s industrial policy, which tilts the playing field toward domestic industry. In the long run, technology transfer and off-shoring could erode U.S. competitiveness and take business away from U.S. plants.

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Reforms in Land Use and Local Finances Will Help Make China’s Urbanization More Efficient

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Reforms in Land Use and Local Finances Will Help Make China’s Urbanization More Efficient
Source: World Bank

  • In the last 30 years, urbanization helped lift half a billion people in China out of poverty
  • Urban strains caused by inefficient urban sprawl are showing
  • New report lays out comprehensive reform agenda toward efficient, inclusive and sustainable urbanization

AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.

CRS — Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), particularly since late 2013, have heightened concerns among observers that ongoing disputes over these waters and some of the islands within them could lead to a crisis or conflict between China and a neighboring country such as Japan, the Philippines, or Vietnam, and that the United States could be drawn into such a crisis or conflict as a result of obligations the United States has under bilateral security treaties with Japan and the Philippines.

More broadly, China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and EEZ claims have led to increasing concerns among some observers that China may be seeking to dominate or gain control of its near-seas region, meaning the ECS, the SCS, and the Yellow Sea. Chinese domination over or control of this region, or Chinese actions that are perceived as being aimed at achieving such domination or control, could have major implications for the United States, including implications for U.S.-China relations, for interpreting China’s rise as a major world power, for the security structure of the Asia-Pacific region, for the longstanding U.S. strategic goal of preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon in one part of Eurasia or another, and for two key elements of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II—the non-use of force or coercion as a means of settling disputes between countries, and freedom of the seas.

mHealth in China and the United States: How Mobile Technology is Transforming Health Care in the World’s Two Largest Economies

March 20, 2014 Comments off

mHealth in China and the United States: How Mobile Technology is Transforming Health Care in the World’s Two Largest Economies
Source: Brookings Institution

Health care represents a major challenge for many countries as rising health care costs, aging populations, access disparities and chronic illnesses threaten traditional health care systems. Mobile technology can help address these issues, argue Darrell West, Joshua Bleiberg, and a number of academics with the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of MIIT, by boosting productivity, aiding communications, encouraging better health data collection, and analysis and helping providers improve affordability access and treatment.

In particular, China and the United States provide strong examples of recent developments and emerging opportunities in mobile health, or mHealth. In order to best leverage these advances, China and the United States must change operations and policy practice in order to facilitate the growth of the mHealth sector and ultimately capture the benefits of mobile technology in healthcare, these scholars assert.

The authors suggest four ideas that policymakers can extol and undertake to speed the development and adoption of mHealth:

1. Mobile devices offer the potential to improve affordability of health care by lowering disparities based on geography and income. Policymakers should encourage the use and adoption of cellphones, smartphones, and tablets in medical care;

2. Public officials should reimburse health providers who offer consultations, diagnoses, and treatment through remote monitoring devices and other types of mobile technologies;

3. Mobile phones aid the patient experience by providing a means to deliver medical reminders and diagnostic information to patients and physicians. Reminders via text messages or mobile phones can encourage patients to take medication at the suggested time and dosage, and this will improve the quality of patient care;

4. mHealth helps policymakers by encouraging better health data collection and analysis. Figuring out what works and doesn’t work is one of the biggest challenges in health care.

Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Chinese Engagement in Africa: Drivers, Reactions, and Implications for U.S. Policy
Source: RAND Corporation

Most analyses of Chinese engagement in Africa focus either on what China gets out of these partnerships or the impacts that China’s aid and investment have had on African countries. This analysis approaches Sino-African relations as a vibrant, two-way dynamic in which both sides adjust to policy initiatives and popular perceptions emanating from the other. The authors focus on (1) Chinese and African objectives in the political and economic spheres and how they work to achieve them, (2) African perceptions of Chinese engagement, (3) how China has adjusted its policies to accommodate often-hostile African responses, and (4) whether the United States and China are competing for influence, access, and resources in Africa and how they might cooperate in the region.

The authors find that Chinese engagement in the region is primarily concerned with natural resource extraction, infrastructure development, and manufacturing, in contrast to the United States’ focus on higher-technology trade and services as well as aid policies aimed at promoting democracy, good governance, and human development. African governments generally welcome engagement with China, as it brings them political legitimacy and contributes to their economic development. Some segments of African society criticize Chinese enterprises for their poor labor conditions, unsustainable environmental practices, and job displacement, but China has been modifying its approach to the continent to address these concerns. China and the United States are not strategic rivals in Africa, but greater American commercial engagement in African markets could generate competition that would both benefit African countries and advance U.S. interests.

CRS — China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress

March 10, 2014 Comments off

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

China is building a modern and regionally powerful Navy with a modest but growing capability for conducting operations beyond China’s near-seas region. The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning. The question is of particular importance to the U.S. Navy, because many U.S. military programs for countering improved Chinese military forces would fall within the Navy’s budget.

As a part of the U.S. strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region announced in January 2012, Department of Defense (DOD) planning is placing an increased emphasis on the Asia- Pacific region. Observers expect that, as a result, there will be a stronger emphasis in DOD planning on U.S. naval and air forces. Administration officials have stated that notwithstanding constraints on U.S. defense spending, the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region will be maintained and strengthened.

USPS OIG — Inbound China ePacket Costing Methodology

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Inbound China ePacket Costing Methodology (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

The Postal Service did not isolate the cost of China ePackets, which limits its ability to establish effective pricing strategies. Although China Post sorts and dispatches ePackets separately from other mailpieces, the Postal Service did not calculate ePacket cost data separately from other letter post mailpieces or report it separately in the annual performance report to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

ePacket volume and revenue have increased, but the Postal Service still lost at least $39 million during FYs 2011 and 2012. Until accurate costs for ePackets can be identified and used as a basis for pricing, the risk of revenue loss for ePackets remains high.

The Postal Service could also pursue a product classification change for inbound letter post packets, which could increase revenue from China Post and other business partners in emerging global markets.

New From the GAO

February 11, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Report

1. U.S.-China Trade: United States Has Secured Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues, but U.S. Agency Reporting on Status Should Be Improved. GAO-14-102, February 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-102
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660823.pdf

Related Product

U.S.-China Trade: Detailed Lists of Commitments in Key Bilateral Dialogues (GAO-14-224SP, February 2014), an E-supplement to GAO-14-102, February 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-224SP

Statement for the Record

1. Personnel Security Clearances: Actions Needed to Ensure Quality of Background Investigations and Resulting Decisions, by Brenda S. Farrell, director, defense capabilities and management, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-138T, February 11, 2014.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-138T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/660831.pdf

Country Analysis Brief: China

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: China
Source: Energy Information Administration

China has quickly risen to the top ranks in global energy demand over the past few years. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer behind the United States and became the largest global energy consumer in 2010. The country was a net oil exporter until the early 1990s and became the world’s second-largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in 2009. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that China will surpass the United States as the largest net oil importer by 2014, in part due to China’s rising oil consumption. China’s oil consumption growth accounted for one-third of the world’s oil consumption growth in 2013, and EIA projects the same share in 2014.

Natural gas use in China has also increased rapidly in recent years, and China has sought to raise natural gas imports via pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG). China is the world’s top coal producer, consumer, and importer and accounted for about half of global coal consumption, an important factor in world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. China’s rising coal production is the key driver behind the country becoming the world’s largest energy producer in 2007. In line with its sizeable industrialization and swiftly modernizing economy, China also became the world’s largest power generator in 2011.

The Surprisingly Swift Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Employment

January 27, 2014 Comments off

The Surprisingly Swift Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Employment
Source: Federal Reserve Board

This paper finds a link between the sharp drop in U.S. manufacturing employment beginning in 2001 and a change in U.S. trade policy that eliminated potential tariff increases on Chinese imports. Industries where the threat of tariff hikes declines the most experience more severe employment losses along with larger increases in the value of imports from China and the number of firms engaged in China-U.S. trade. These results are robust to other potential explanations of the employment loss, and we show that the U.S. employment trends differ from those in the E.U., where there was no change in policy.

Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries

January 23, 2014 Comments off

Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries (PDF)
Source: Societies

Exposure to neighborhood danger during childhood has negative effects that permeate multiple dimensions of childhood. The current study examined whether mothers’, fathers’, and children’s perceptions of neighborhood danger are related to child aggression, whether parental monitoring moderates this relation, and whether harsh parenting mediates this relation. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 1293 children (age M = 10.68, SD = 0.66; 51% girls) and their mothers (n = 1282) and fathers (n = 1075) in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Perceptions of greater neighborhood danger were associated with more child aggression in all nine countries according to mothers’ and fathers’ reports and in five of the nine countries according to children’s reports. Parental monitoring did not moderate the relation between perception of neighborhood danger and child aggression. The mediating role of harsh parenting was inconsistent across countries and reporters. Implications for further research are discussed, and include examination of more specific aspects of parental monitoring as well as more objective measures of neighborhood danger.

The U.S. Army in Southeast Asia: Near-Term and Long-Term Roles

January 22, 2014 Comments off

The U.S. Army in Southeast Asia: Near-Term and Long-Term Roles
Source: RAND Corporation

This RAND report explores the role and force posture of the U.S. Army in Southeast Asia, both now and out to 2020. The author argues that, under the current, largely benign conditions, the military will focus mainly on supporting defense reform and modernization, facilitating disaster relief response operations, providing assistance to address nonconventional transnational threats, and helping to balance China’s increased influence into the region. If the security outlook in Southeast Asia remains favorable, these mission areas will not fundamentally change over the near term. However, should the general outlook deteriorate — perhaps as a result of a severe economic slowdown — the geopolitical environment will become far less certain and more prone to crisis. Governments that have derived legitimacy from rapid development would suffer from a loss of grassroots support. State-to-state rivalries would become more acute, especially with regard to the South China Sea disputes. And natural catastrophes would take on greater security relevance because of tighter fiscal constraints for underwriting disaster preparedness and response. To meet these challenges, the United States will need to adopt an agile strategy that is thin in physical presence but broad in programmatic execution. Specifically, there are four areas in which the Army should concentrate its efforts: (1) enhancing the defense capacities of partner nations to meet both conventional and nonconventional dangers; (2) concluding new base agreements for hosting small, mission-oriented expeditionary forces; (3) expanding support for regional humanitarian assistance activities; and (4) initiating appropriate responses to counter a more outwardly adventurist China.

Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite
Source: Center for Public Integrity (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)

Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, a leaked cache of documents reveals.

The confidential files include details of a real estate company co-owned by current President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and British Virgin Islands companies set up by former Premier Wen Jiabao’s son and also by his son-in-law.

Nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong appear in the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women — including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS and other Western banks and accounting firms play a key role as middlemen in helping Chinese clients set up trusts and companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centers usually associated with hidden wealth, the records show. For instance, Swiss financial giant Credit Suisse helped Wen Jiabao’s son create his BVI company while his father was leading the country.

CRS — China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues

January 16, 2014 Comments off

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress has long been concerned about whether U.S. policy advances the national interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of China’s technology reportedly included Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. This CRS Report, updated as warranted, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, supplies from China have aggravated trends that result in ambiguous technical aid, more indigenous capabilities, longerrange missiles, and secondary (retransferred) proliferation. Unclassified intelligence reports told Congress that China was a “key supplier” of technology, particularly with PRC entities providing nuclear and missile-related technology to Pakistan and missile-related technology to Iran.

Policy approaches in seeking PRC cooperation have concerned summits, sanctions, and satellite exports. PRC proliferation activities have continued to raise questions about China’s commitment to nonproliferation and the need for U.S. sanctions. The United States has imposed sanctions on various PRC “entities” (including state-owned entities) for troublesome transfers related to missiles and chemical weapons to Pakistan, Iran, or perhaps another country, including repeated sanctions on some “serial proliferators.” Since 2009, the Obama Administration has imposed sanctions on 16 occasions on multiple entities in China for weapons proliferation.

Strengthening Understanding and Engagement with China’s Air Force

January 9, 2014 Comments off

Strengthening Understanding and Engagement with China’s Air Force
Source: Air & Space Power Journal

Since the historic coming together of China and the United States in 1972, this strategic relationship has benefited both our nations and fostered an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region. Our relationship with China, however, has had its ups and downs over the past four decades. In recent years, growing distrust and increasing misperception have made the need to improve lines of communication between our two governments and militaries all the more urgent.

Consumption Based Estimates of Urban Chinese Growth

January 3, 2014 Comments off

Consumption Based Estimates of Urban Chinese Growth
Source: International Monetary Fund

This paper estimates the household income growth rates implied by food demand in a sample of urban Chinese households in 1993–2005. Our estimates, based on Engel curves for food consumption, indicate an average per capita income growth of 6.8 percent per year in 1993–2005. This figure is slightly larger than the 5.9 percent per year obtained by deflating nominal incomes by the CPI. We attribute this discrepancy to a small bias in the CPI, which is of a similar magnitude to the one often associated with the CPI in the United States. Our estimates indicate stronger gains among poorer households, suggesting that urban inflation up to 2005 in China was “pro-poor,” in the sense that the increase in the cost of living for poorer households was smaller than for the average one.

CRS — China-U.S. Trade Issues (updated)

January 2, 2014 Comments off

China-U.S. Trade Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially over the past three decades. Total U.S.- China trade rose from $5 billion in 1981 to $536 billion in 2012, and is projected to reach $558 billion in 2013. China is currently the United States’ second-largest trading partner, its thirdlargest export market, and its biggest source of imports. China is estimated to be a $300 billion market for U.S. firms (based on U.S. exports to China and sales by U.S.-invested firms in China). Many U.S. firms view participation in China’s market as critical to staying globally competitive. General Motors (GM), for example, which has invested heavily in China, sold more cars in China than in the United States from 2010 to 2012. In addition, U.S. imports of low-cost goods from China greatly benefit U.S. consumers, and U.S. firms that use China as the final point of assembly for their products, or use Chinese-made inputs for production in the United States, are able to lower costs. China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities ($1.3 trillion as of October 2013). China’s purchases of U.S. government debt help keep U.S. interest rates low.

CRS — China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (updated)

December 27, 2013 Comments off

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Prior to the initiation of economic reforms and trade liberalization 34 years ago, China maintained policies that kept the economy very poor, stagnant, centrally controlled, vastly inefficient, and relatively isolated from the global economy. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free market reforms in 1979, China has been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, with real annual gr oss domestic product (GDP) growth averaging nearly 10% through 2012. In recent years, China has emerged as a major global economic and trade power. It is currently the world’s second-largest economy, largest merchandise exporter, second-largest merchandise importer, second-largest destination of foreign direct investment (FDI), largest manufacturer, and largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.

Africa’s Rising Exposure to China: How Large Are Spillovers Through Trade?

December 19, 2013 Comments off

Africa’s Rising Exposure to China: How Large Are Spillovers Through Trade?
Source: International Monetary Fund

The rapid growth in China’s domestic investment in recent decades has generated a large appetite for global goods, including from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper estimates the impact of changes in China’s investment growth on SSA’s exports. Although rising trading links with China have allowed African countries to diversify their export base across countries, away from advanced economies, they have also led SSA countries to become more susceptible to spillovers from China. Based on panel data analysis, a 1 percentage point increase (decline) in China’s domestic investment growth is associated with an average 0.6 percentage point increase (decline) in SSA countries’ export growth. This impact is larger for resource-rich countries, especially oil exporters. These effects could be mitigated, however, to the extent that countries can reorient their exports.

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