When industrial workers in the West lose their jobs, the bogeyman is usually China. Earlier this year, steelworkers from all over Europe took to the streets in Brussels to protest against cheap Chinese steel imports. They had the backing of powerful lobby groups and populist politicians who accused China of damaging the global steel market and succeeded in pressuring governments across Europe to demand concessions from China.
In times of rising diplomatic tensions in the South China Sea, the European Union (EU) tries to bolster the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a counterweight to China in the region. To this end, the EU has offered generous financial support to foster the regional integration process and sponsor the still politically toothless ASEAN secretariat.
For years, China has been the United States’ main antagonist in cyberspace – despite the fact that Russia has made a comeback as the evil foe during this year’s presidential election campaign. But in recent weeks, China has been back in the spotlight – though not for the reasons you may have expected.
“Only one of the two ‘mountains’ will stay”. The title of this article, which was published on 27 October on the overseas Chinese website aboluowang.com, speculates about the political fate that awaits two high-ranking cadres of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at next year’s 19th Party Congress. Wang Qishan and Liu Yunshan have both reached the CCP’s unofficial retirement age of 68. Both names end with “shan”, the Chinese character for mountain.
The Chinese government’s reaction to Trump’s stunning win was as predictable as it was restrained. President Xi Jinping congratulated Trump and told him that he looked forward to working with him. A commentary in the official Xinhua news agency called Trump’s victory a "quiet revolt of ordinary Americans“ against the Washington elites. But there was no triumphant finger pointing or open criticism.
The future of US international trade and investment policy has been thrown into extraordinary uncertainty after the election of Donald Trump. In line with his campaign pledges the president-elect has announced to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was concluded this year. Under US law, such unilateral action on trade policy would not require Congressional approval.
The outlines of a future Trump foreign policy may be blurry at best, but this much is clear: the world can no longer count on the US to participate, let alone to lead, on big multilateral issues such as trade and climate change. The implications of this shift became clear during the recent APEC summit in Lima as well as the climate conference in Marrakech, the follow-up meeting on the Paris Agreement.
China’s real estate market is heating up. Despite the recent slowdown in economic growth, house prices in China’s cities are rapidly increasing. In Shenzhen, a hub for innovation, prices grew by up to 40 per cent this year alone. The situation is similar in many coastal cities, causing concern among Chinese officials and economists. Yet, at least until now, there are no signs for an acute overheating. Warnings of “bubbles” in China’s markets go back to the 1990s, especially in the real estate sector.
After his election as the future US president, Donald Trump has renewed his previous rants against China. In a recent series of angry tweets, he accused the country of impeding US exports and threatening US manufacturing jobs by depreciating its currency. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is right to assume that China manipulates its currency, Trump barks up the wrong tree if he accuses China of having an undervalued currency.