Vietnam’s trade deficit with China has grown rapidly since 2001, and its heavy dependence on Chinese intermediate and capital goods creates vulnerabilities in its entire production chain. Besides, China has a history of using trade as a weapon to punish countries with which it has disputes. To reduce its trade dependence on Beijing, Vietnam has signed a number of new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in recent years, but these efforts have not produced desired outcomes. Vietnam will need to increase the utilisation rate of these agreements and push forward economic and institutional reforms to strengthen its overall economic resilience.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on many industries, annual global semiconductor sales still increased by 10.8% in 2020 to reach US$464 billion. The current global semiconductor supply chain is highly internationalised. While it is dominated by a small number of countries and regions, none of them has full control over every segment in the supply chain and geopolitics can be a risk factor. While the US has imposed sanctions and trade restrictions on China to hinder its development in chip making, academic James Pang says that given the nature of the industry, the current status quo will be maintained for some time.
Recently, the West has proposed infrastructure plans in developing countries in a clear bid to rival China’s BRI. Chinese academic Bu Shaoying thinks that while it may be difficult for the West to succeed in achieving their ambitious plans, China and the West should consider working together, and turn competition into a win-win situation.
Chinese society is facing the debate of whether to aim for "zero-Covid" or to "live with the virus", with its former health minister Gao Qiang and top infectious diseases expert Zhang Wenhong offering opposing views. While the West believes that the world needs to live with an endemic Covid-19, China is still adopting a zero-Covid stance. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk puts together the arguments and concludes that for China, the zero-Covid stance is here to stay. Why is China determined to achieve zero-Covid?
Portugal has in the past decade developed very lucrative relations with China. Chinese investment significantly assisted its recovery from the 2008 global economic crisis. However, Lisbon’s increasingly close ties with Beijing have raised serious concerns in Washington.
As a British Carrier Strike Group heads towards Southeast Asia, speculation is rife that a Royal Navy warship will conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. A recent incident in the Black Sea may shorten the odds of that happening.
Chinese academic Zhang Jingwei notes that the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a step towards easing US-Russia relations. But fundamental tensions remain, not least due to NATO’s wariness of Russia and the US-China-Russia triangle.
Negotiations on the investment agreement between the EU and China were concluded at the end of last year but the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to freeze any consideration or discussion of the agreement. This was following retaliatory sanctions from China after the EU's round of Xinjiang-related sanctions. NUS academic Cai Daolu sees the suspension as a economic and trade relationship hiccup in the short run. But if prolonged, it would turn into a missed opportunity, not just for EU and China, but for the global economy as well.
The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was effectively frozen by the European Parliament last week, in consideration of China’s human rights issues in Xinjiang and its sanctions on individuals and organisations from the EU. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong asks: will this be the end of the deal, or is there still hope of a revival?