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China

China expands its economic reach into the United States’ backyard

While China’s presence in the region has grown substantially in the past decade, it is unlikely that China will replace the United States as the dominant political, economic and military power in Latin America for the foreseeable future.

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In early March 2023, General Laura Richardson, head of the United States Southern Command, told a US congressional hearing that Chinese actions in South America posed a threat to US safety.

Author: Loro Horta, Dili

According to General Richardson, China is on a relentless march to replace the United States as the leader in the region.

While China’s presence in the region has grown substantially in the past decade, it is unlikely that China will replace the United States as the dominant political, economic and military power in Latin America for the foreseeable future.

On the economic front, China has made inroads into South America and the Caribbean, a region where US power once went unchallenged. Starting in the late 1990s, Chinese interest in South America and the Caribbean began to grow. In order to sustain its unprecedented economic growth China began to search the globe for oil and other raw materials. In 2000, Chinese trade with the region totalled US$12 billion, reaching US$314.8 billion in 2021. In 2023, China is the largest trading partner of nine countries in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

While the growth in trade between China and the region is impressive, the United States remains Latin America and the Caribbean’s largest trading partner. In 2020, US trade with the region was US$758.2 billion. But 71 per cent of this trade was with Mexico. In 2021, Chinese foreign direct investment in the region totalled US$130 billion.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the biggest lender to the region, with Chinese development banks having issued US$66.5 billion in loans — mostly for infrastructure projects that offer Chinese companies better access to the region’s rich natural resources. A small portion of these loans were provided under China’s Belt and Road Initiative(BRI).

While China’s economic footprint in the region has increased significantly, the United States and the European Union remain the largest foreign investors, accounting for 36 per cent and 34 per cent of total investment respectively. As China faces an economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese loans have dried up. When countries in the region fall into financial crisis, Western institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have provided the lion’s share of structural adjustment loans, not China.

The extent to which China’s economic gains in the region have resulted in political and diplomatic influence is unclear. While China has been Brazil’s largest trading partner for over a decade, tensions have arisen under both left- and right-wing Brazilian governments. In Panama, after relentless US pressure, several multibillion dollar infrastructure contracts initially awarded to Chinese companies were cancelled and given to South Korean and Japanese companies.

During her testimony to Congress, General Richardson also warned that China has increased its support for anti-US regimes in the region including Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. But with the exception of Venezuela, Chinese investment and trade with these countries is minimal compared with its presence in most other countries in the region. In the cases of Cuba and Nicaragua, their desperate economic situation and US sanctions render them less attractive to China.

In the defence and security sector, China…

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China Implements New Regulations for Fair Competition Reviews to Enhance Business Environment

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The State Council released Fair Competition Review Regulations to ensure a level playing field for state-owned and private companies. Administrative authorities must conduct fair competition reviews of policy measures to prevent favoritism. Policy measures that restrict market access, flow of goods, or increase production costs will not be issued.


On June 6, 2024, the State Council released the final version of the Fair Competition Review Regulations (the “regulations), in an effort to “unify the domestic environment” and level the playing field between state-owned and private companies.

The regulations, which are based on China’s Anti-Monopoly Law, will require administrative authorities to conduct fair competition reviews when drafting laws, administrative regulations, local regulations, rules, normative documents, and policy measures (hereinafter collectively referred to as policy measures), to ensure that they do not unfairly favor certain market entities.

The regulations prohibit drafting authorities from including any content in policy measures that may negatively impact market access, the free flow of goods and resources, production and business costs, or production and business activities. Policy measures found to contain any such content during the review process (or that do not qualify for the exemptions, see below) will not be issued.

Specifically, the following content that may directly or indirectly restrict market access and exit cannot be included:

They also cannot include the following content that may restrict the free flow of goods and resources:

Without a legal or administrative regulatory basis or State Council approval, they also cannot include the following content that affects production and business costs:

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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A Timeline of EU-China Relations Post-2024 European Elections

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EU-China relations are crucial in global business, with geopolitical shifts and technological competition shaping the dynamic. The recent EU Parliament elections have brought a political realignment, leading to a more assertive stance towards China. Strategic discussions and new working groups aim to navigate the evolving relationship.


EU-China relations play a crucial role in the global business landscape. The current circumstances, marked by geopolitical shifts, economic interdependence, and technological competition, contribute to the volatility and frequent adjustments in this relationship. In this timeline, we aim to capture key milestones and developments that shape EU-China ties.

The European Parliament elections, held between June 6 and June 9, 2024, have ushered in a new era for EU-China relations. The election results revealed a significant shift in the political landscape, with centrist parties losing ground to far-right groups like the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). This political realignment is poised to influence the EU’s approach to China, introducing more varied and potentially conflicting perspectives on policy.

Traditionally, the EU has maintained a cautious stance toward China, epitomized by the 2019 publication of the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which framed the relationship as one of “partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry.” This tripartite approach was later reiterated in the European Council’s Conclusion on China. However, the narrative toward China has taken a decisive turn with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech delivered on March 30, 2023. This speech marked a shift towards a more assertive stance, further strengthened by the release of the European Economic Security Strategy in June of the same year.

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the increased fragmentation within the EU Parliament suggests a more complex and uncertain path to forming a cohesive strategy toward China. This uncertainty poses challenges for European companies conducting business with China, as well as Chinese and global businesses operating in Europe, who must now navigate a more unpredictable regulatory environment.

Amid these developments, the Chinese government is keenly observing the evolving dynamics within the EU. China aims to cultivate allies within the European bloc, and this intent was evident during President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour, which included official visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary. During his visit, President Xi reiterated the EU’s significance as China’s major trading partner.

As the new EU Parliament begins its work, strategic discussions have been underway to address key issues, including the EU’s technological and strategic autonomy. To manage different views and promote collaboration on shared interests with China, new cross-regional working groups have been established. These groups are focusing on sectors such as agriculture, aviation, artificial intelligence, energy, and finance, aiming to enhance resilience and foster dialogue.

In this article, we present a timeline of EU-China relations following the EU Parliament elections, reflecting the complexities and opportunities presented by this new chapter in bilateral relations.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024

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Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.


The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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