In this file:


·         U.S. trade agency sees negotiating new WTO rules to rein in China as futile

·         The Coming Chinese Storm



U.S. trade agency sees negotiating new WTO rules to rein in China as futile


David Lawder & Chris Prentice, Reuters 

Feb 4, 2019


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Negotiating new World Trade Organization rules to try to rein in China’s “mercantilist” trade practices would be largely a futile exercise, the Trump administration’s trade office said on Monday, vowing to pursue its unilateral approach to protect U.S. workers, farmers and businesses.


The U.S. Trade Representative’s office used its annual report to Congress on China’s WTO compliance in part to justify its actions in a six-month trade war with Beijing aimed at forcing changes in China’s economic model.


The report also reflects the United States’ continued frustration with the WTO’s inability to curb what it sees as China’s trade-distorting non-market economic policies, and offered little hope that situation could change soon.


“It is unrealistic to expect success in any negotiation of new WTO rules that would restrict China’s current approach to the economy and trade in a meaningful way,” the USTR said in the report.


Some U.S. allies, including Canada, the European Union and Japan, which are also frustrated with pressures created by China’s economic policies, have begun talks on the first potential changes and modernization of WTO rules since it was founded in 1995.


But any WTO rule changes must be agreed by all 164 member nations, and past efforts have stalled. It was “highly unlikely” China would agree to new disciplines targeting changes to its trade practices and economic system, the USTR said.




The report shed little light on progress in talks between the United States and China to ease a bruising tariff fight, despite a swiftly approaching March 2 deadline to hike U.S. tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods imports.


The WTO report follows two days of intense talks between high-level U.S. and Chinese officials last week centered on U.S. demands for structural policy changes. These include enforcing intellectual property protections, ending cyber theft of trade secrets, halting the forced transfers of American technology to Chinese firms and reining in industrial subsidies...







The Coming Chinese Storm


Mark Kelton, The Cipher Brief

Feb 5, 2019


Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week about the comprehensive threat that China poses to U.S. national security.


While there were a number of areas where the IC assessed a serious national security threat, including in the areas of cyber, counterintelligence, space and counterspace, just to name a few, the DNI also laid out the threat based on China’s expanding global reach and predicted a coming ideological battle between the U.S. and China.


“We assess that China’s leaders will try to extend the country’s global economic, political, and military reach while using China’s military capabilities and overseas infrastructure and energy investments under the Belt and Road Initiative to diminish U.S. influence,” reads Coats’ Statement for the record.  The statement also includes the IC’s prediction of a coming ideological battle...