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In an aerial view, shipping containers and a container ship are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 20 September 2021 near Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/AFP)

The truth behind the US’s huge trade deficit

Economics professor Zhang Rui notes that the US’s huge trade deficit cannot be looked upon in isolation from the dominance of the US dollar; when exporting countries hold more US dollars, they are more able to purchase US debt and support the US in issuing national debt and get US dollars to flow back to the US. This suggests that looking beyond the surface of its large trade deficit, the US's fundamentals remain strong and with the advantages it has in the capital account and services trade, there is little chance that its leading position in global trade can be usurped.
Workers produce adhesive tapes for flexible printed circuits (FPC) at a factory in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China, on 15 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

How can China benefit from the CPTPP?

China has made it clear that it wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will allow it to strengthen its image as an advocate of free trade, gain some cover from future sanctions by the US, and most importantly, spur domestic reform. Academic Gu Qingyang delves into the topic.
A worker stands in front of Mao Zedong sculpture at Dandong station at the border city of Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on 11 August 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's growing north-south gap: Can the north catch up?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes the growing gap between northern and southern China in terms of economic and population growth, as businesses and people become more concentrated in the south. How will the central government tackle this imbalance?
A billboard featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed at a compound in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A new paradigm needed: China cannot achieve 'common prosperity' with Marxism and class struggle

While Marxism failed 30 years ago in the case of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party of today claims that it owes its success to the “theoretical advantage” of Marxism. However, rather than hanging on to ideological orthodoxy, a revolution of ideologies is needed to steer the building of an inclusive and harmonious society undergoing the fourth industrialisation. In the new paradigm, much thought will need to go into thinking through knotty issues such as the role of the market in socialism, the value of labour in a hi-tech economy and the role that entrepreneurs can play as builders of socialism.
A worker operates a harvester machine at a tea plantation in Minamiyamashiro, Kyoto, Japan, on 14 May 2021. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg)

Lessons for China: The powerful position of the Japanese farming industry

Japan’s farming industry occupies a special position in the country’s political, economic and social development. Although farmers are few in number, they wield a strong influence. As a result, a protected farming ecosystem exists in Japan, which has enabled the country to make great strides in organic farming and reducing carbon emissions. The country has also been adept at leveraging its overseas industrial outposts to support its domestic farming sector. What can China learn from Japan’s experience?
Villas in Huaxi Village, once known as the "richest village in China", 2008. (SPH)

Huaxi Village: The rise and fall of the "richest village in China"

Huaxi Village was once known as the “richest village in China”, with stories of prosperity and luxury. But a recent video of people queuing in the rain to reclaim and cash out their investments seems to point to a very different reality. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out more.
In this aerial shot taken on 11 January 2021, workers are seen maintaining the Mohe Railway Station in Mohe county, the northernmost county in China, Heilongjiang province. (Xinhua)

Why China's railway development has fallen short of Sun Yat-sen's expectations

While China has soared ahead in other areas such as expressway construction and port development, it lags behind heavyweights like the US in railway development. A fundamental cause is relying on the government as its single investment channel. Plugging its railway gaps, literally and figuratively, would give China’s economic development a decided boost.
In this file photo taken on 24 January 2020, climate activists including Greta Thunberg (centre) march in a street of Davos on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Post-pandemic 'Great Reset': Can the world pull it off with Big Tech and China in tow?

At last year’s WEF, Prince Charles and other leaders proposed the “Great Reset” — a global effort to rebuild the global economic structure. However, as appealing as this may sound, Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao points out that the current slate of world leaders and international organisations are probably unable to rein in private juggernauts and get a handle on the Chinese wild card.
Data room operators work at the headquarters of online shopping platform JD.com during the Singles' Day shopping festival in Beijing on 11 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

72-hour workweek in China's tech companies: Driving innovation or destroying workers?

News of young employees dying from overwork at major Chinese tech companies are not unheard of. Last December, a 22-year-old female employee at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo died after working long hours past midnight. China's intense efforts at increasing national competences in new and advanced technologies have seen it moving up the value chain from a low-cost manufacturer to an innovator in science and technology. But is the “996 culture” of working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, feasible and sustainable?