By Angela Bao
March 7, 2022
(Photo credit): Gettyimages.com/Yaorusheng
US-CHINA RELATIONS STRAINED OVER TAIWAN, UKRAINE AND TRADE
The tensions between the United States and China on trade, Taiwan and other issues continued to simmer in light of Russia’s attack on Ukraine (China, along with India and the UAE, remained largely silent on actions of Russia).
During a virtual forum marking the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the United States to improve bilateral relations between the two nations. Wang reinforced the idea that the United States should see China as a partner rather than a competitor and that the two sides should work together. In recent years, the United States has implemented more and more strict regulations and policy changes to address perceived threats to national security, ranging from tariffs on Chinese goods to restricting foreign investment in certain industries. The United States also claimed that China did not respect the commitments to the World Trade Organization to open its markets to foreign competition.
During the forum, the Chinese Ministry of Defense also “protested” against the passage of a US Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has increasingly become a point of contention for bilateral relations, particularly with successive US administrations approving arms sales and strengthening diplomacy with the island.
CHINA LAYS OUT PLAN TO STABILIZE ECONOMY
Beijing is getting ready sluggish economy in 2022, due to a slow recovery in consumption, investment, exports and a shortage of resources. In its annual government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang, the government will focus on domestic affairs for 2022, prioritizing social welfare, job creation and economic growth. Although the report makes no mention of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, China’s 5.5% economic growth target indicates that the continent is “strengthening” growth in the face of global uncertainty. However, China also plans to increase its military budget by 7.1%, indicating that the continent is preparing for an increasingly difficult world.
China’s economic growth targets for 2022 are at a three-decade low, though they are still higher than many economists believe China can achieve without government support. China’s economy grew by 8.1% in 2021, although the pace over the past four months has slowed considerably.
HOLLYWOOD’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA STILL UNCERTAIN
The video game adaptation from Sony Pictures, “Unexplored,” East ready to go out in China on March 14, allowing the studio to breathe a small sigh of relief. While a big-budget action flick starring Tom Holland (who also stars in the Sony franchise and Marvel’s Spider-Man) would have been a surefire hit in China a few years ago, things are far from be certain these days.
Several Hollywood tent poles have never been released in China, such as Marvel’s”Shang Chi” and “Eternalsin favor of national Chinese films. Even Hollywood movies that were approved by Chinese censors didn’t perform as expected, meaning the success of “Unexplored” in China is far from guaranteed. The last James Bond film and the last with Daniel Craig, “no time to die“, earned $64 million in China, compared to its 2015 predecessor”Spectrumwhich made over $83 million.
Some experts say the apparent move away from Hollywood stems from more than just a preference for Chinese content, although that is a factor. Beijing is also pushing for greater nationalist sentiment and “using film imports to punish political enemies”.
US BUILDS CLEAN ENERGY SUPPLY CHAIN IN RESPONSE TO CHINA
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a plan to boost clean energy supply chain wean itself off its dependence on China in this sector. Along with President Biden announcing a tariff extension on imports of solar panels and cells from China, the DOE announced that it was spending $44 million to provide technology to critical components for clean energy, as well as to create a manufacturing and supply chain office.
However, experts say the United States is a long way from achieving independence. China accounts for 70% of global solar module production, half of global wind turbine manufacturing and 88% of global storage battery production capacity. Experts point out that if the United States is serious about being competitive with its own clean energy supply chain, it will need much more financial support from the government. Even so, some say the gap is so wide in areas such as solar modules that it would significantly increase costs.
CHINA’S ZTE FACES PROBATION VIOLATION CHARGE
Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp. is expected to return to US federal court on charges she may have violated his probation starting in 2017, when ZTE pleaded guilty to illegally shipping US technology to Iran.
The possible violation is related to an alleged conspiracy to commit visa fraud by bringing Chinese nationals to the United States on work and study visas. If found guilty, the consequences for ZTE are unclear, but would likely result in hefty fines and penalties. In 2017, ZTE paid $892 million for violating sanctions against Iran.