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U.S.-China News Brief
April 29, 2022

U.S.-China Trade Relations

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released its 2022 Special 301 Report. Part of the report addresses China’s intellectual property protections, stating that there are ongoing “concerns about the adequacy of [IP] measures and their effective implementation, as well as about long-standing issues like bad faith trademarks, counterfeiting, and online piracy.”

When asked about possible tariff reductions during a press briefing on April 25, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “our effort — which has been ongoing, of course — has been to ensure current Section 301 tariffs align appropriately with our economic and trade priorities… And we’re certainly looking at where we see costs being raised at a time where we’re seeing heightened inflation; certainly, that’s on our minds. It’s also about addressing the core issues we have with how China has approached, you know, their engagement around economic issues as well.”

An ongoing investigation by the Commerce Department into possible violations of tariffs on imports of Chinese solar panels has “essentially frozen” the solar industry in the U.S. More than 300 projects have been delayed or canceled.

U.S. Views on China

Pew released a new report detailing survey results about American views on China. According to the survey, 66 percent of respondents believe China’s influence is getting stronger, 67 percent see that influence as a major threat, and 62 percent see the China-Russia partnership as a “very serious” problem for the U.S.

Covid Outbreak

The covid outbreak in China continues, with both Shanghai and Beijing facing lockdowns, testing, closures, and more. Shanghai still reports over 15,000 new cases daily and Beijing is undergoing mass testing and targeted lockdowns in an attempt to avoid Shanghai-style measures. Upcoming tests in Shanghai will determine if their severe lockdowns will be eased.

Overall, 27 cities and 180 million people throughout China are affected. The Shanghai lockdowns have already exacerbated supply chain issues, leading to increased concerns about the effect additional lockdowns in Beijing might have on the global economy.

Additional News

According to a statement after a politburo meeting chaired by Xi Jinping on April 29, China’s top leadership plans to “strengthen macroeconomic policy adjustments to stabilize the economy, and strive to achieve the expected economic and social development goals for the full year.” Comments that they will also “promote the healthy development” of the internet sector suggest there might be a loosening of recent restrictions and crackdowns on tech companies.

On April 27, British foreign secretary Liz Truss said in a speech that “NATO must have a global outlook, ready to tackle global threats…We need to pre-empt threats in the Indo-Pacific, working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure that the Pacific is protected. We must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.” Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded, “NATO has long clung to the old security concept, engaged in bloc confrontation and become a tool for certain countries to seek hegemony… NATO, a military organization in the North Atlantic, has in recent years come to the Asia-Pacific region to throw its weight around and stir up conflicts.”

On April 28, China announced they would be eliminating import tariffs on coal from May 1, 2022-March 31, 2023.

On April 25, a United Nations team arrived in China ahead of the May visit of Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They are currently quarantining in Guangzhou.

President Biden plans to visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24, his first Asia trip as president.