China reported on Tuesday that its trade surplus grew for the seventh consecutive month to a record US$11.1 billion last month. The surplus helped send China's foreign currency reserves soaring further, lifting the economy to another year of extremely strong growth, Chinese officials announced. \nThe robust performance, however, is a double-edged sword for China. It is likely to increase pressure on Beijing to allow China's currency, the yuan, to rise in value against the dollar as foreign investment and export earnings pour into the country at an accelerating pace. \nChina's ballooning surplus also serves as a convenient backdrop for an increasingly polarized debate in the US over whether trade with China is good or bad for the economy. \nAs if on cue, Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, arriving in Beijing on Tuesday with a team of trade negotiators, prepared to hand China a stern warning of restiveness among lawmakers and businesses in the US. \nIn remarks set for delivery yesterday, Evans cautioned that China's surplus, and what US officials describe as unfair practices, including alleged government subsidies to exporters and patent violations, could trigger a backlash. \n"China must forcefully do more to lift barriers to free trade and confront widespread intellectual property theft that is undercutting American workers," Evans said. "China's willingness to tackle these challenges head-on will be the most important measure of the success or failure of its efforts." \nAdding more fuel to the fire, a research group in Washington reported on Tuesday that, had the US not run deficits with China since 1989, the country would have 1.5 million more jobs today. \nThe trade deficit with China grew to US$124 billion in 2003 from US$6.2 billion in 1989. The study was prepared for the United States-China Economic Security Review Commission, a congressionally appointed panel, by Robert Scott, the senior international economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. \nThe report said that jobs were lost in every state, but the highest numbers came from California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Among the hardest hit states as a share of total state employment were Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina. \nThe job losses were not just in labor-intensive industries, like textiles and plastics, but also from new sectors once thought to be out of China's reach, such as high technology. \n"What is really shocking is the rate that China has moved into the production of high skill, high technology product," Scott said. "China is now entirely responsible for our US$32 billion deficit in advanced technology products like computers, electronics." \nNot everyone agrees with Scott's conclusions. Daniel Gris-wold, the director of the center for trade policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, disputed both the report's methods and its findings. \n"There is no connection between employment and our trade with China," Griswold said. "But even if the finding of 1.5 million jobs is correct, it is spread over one decade and a half and that amounts to less than 1 percent of job displacement over the entire period." \nInstead of focusing solely on job losses, Griswold said the report should have included the money China invests in US Treasury bills that keeps interest rates down. \nChina's exports of everything from clothing to consumer electronics have been rising rapidly last year, and were 33 percent higher last month than in 2003, its Ministry of Commerce announced. \nBut high oil prices combined with China's attempts to build emergency oil reserves inflated the cost of the country's imports, until recently offsetting the big expansion of exports. \nLower oil prices are now allowing China's remarkable export performance to show up in bigger and bigger trade surpluses. \nTo prevent the yuan from rising in value, China's central bank has been buying up the extra dollars flowing into the country from the trade surpluses and from growing investment by multinationals and speculators alike. \nReuters reported from Beijing on Tuesday that the country's foreign currency reserves had surged to US$609.9 billion by the end of December, up 51.3 percent from last year.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.