U.S.–China Week: CFIUS revision, tech CEOs meet Xi, Aluminum duties, Trump trip (2017.10.30)

Welcome to Issue 118 of U.S.–China Week. I’m continuing with abbreviated editions of the newsletter during a very busy travel schedule over the next two months. Some editions may therefore be delayed or skipped. Of course, the big macro stories in U.S.–China relations are affected by the elite politics surrounding Xi Jinping in China and the evolving investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and its dealings with Russia. But here I stick to the hard, bilateral news blips that may otherwise be drowned out in the torrent of news.

As always: Please encourage friends and colleagues to subscribe to U.S.–China Week. Here is the web version of this issue, ideal for sharing on social media, and you can follow me on Twitter at @gwbstr. Please send your comments, quibbles, and suggestions to [email protected].


  • Trump congratulates Xi on ‘extraordinary elevation.’
    With Trump’s trip to Asia slated to begin Nov. 3, he tweeted that he congratulated Xi “on his extraordinary elevation.” A White House readout of the call did not include the congratulatory language. But the Xinhua readoutdid. The U.S. accounts of the call mentioned North Korea. China’s did not. In a Fox Business interview, Trump said, “People say we have the best relationship of any president-president, because he’s called president also … Now some people might call him the king of China. But he’s called president.”
  • ‘Trump’s China Trip to Broker Billions of Dollars in Energy Deals’ –Bloomberg
    “Representatives from about 40 companies are expected to accompany President Donald Trump on the first presidential trade mission to China Nov. 8-10 and sign deals for billions of dollars in U.S. investments. … Among the companies tentatively listed as working on China-related deals in conjunction with the trip, according to a government document obtained by Bloomberg News, are General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc., Westinghouse Electric Co., Alaska Gasline Development Corp., the Boeing Co. and Qualcomm Inc. The companies represent a variety of sectors from life sciences to heavy machinery. Other companies that may have deals in progress, according to the document, include Cheniere Energy Inc., Terex Corp., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Applied Materials Inc., Caterpillar Inc. and Blackstone Group.”
  • Amb. Cui Tiankai delays retirement for Trump visit –SCMP
    “Despite rumours he was about to step down and speculation about likely successors, ambassador Cui Tiankai, 65 this month, had been asked to postpone his retirement amid preparations for the Trump visit, diplomatic sources said.”
  • U.S. moves to impose antidumping duties against Chinese aluminum
    The Commerce Department announced “its affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of aluminum foil from” China. “Commerce is scheduled to announce its final determination on February 23, 2018.” See fact sheet. A Ministry of Commerce statement reported by Bloomberg said, “It not only hurts the interests of Chinese companies but also dents the seriousness and authority of multilateral rules.” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly spoke with Vice Premier Wang Yang the same day.
  • Zuckerberg, Musk, Cook among CEOs who met with Xi in Beijing
    At an annual meeting of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management Advisory Board, Xi addressed assembled tech/business leaders including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Elon Musk of Space X and Tesla, Steven Schwarzman, Hank Paulson, and others, according to WSJand a participant. The showy part of their meeting made CCTV’s Xinwen Lianbo.
  • CFIUS revision bill reportedly coming this week
    From WSJ: “Two influential Republican lawmakers plan to unveil legislation as soon as next week that would ratchet up scrutiny of foreign investment, taking aim in particular at Chinese technology deals. The identical bills from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.), a prominent anti-China hawk, would broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. … One of the bill’s key provisions would broaden the types of transactions CFIUS vets to include joint ventures and other arrangements that require U.S. technology companies to provide intellectual property and support to a foreign person, according to a copy of the bill seen by the Journal.”

‘U.S. Companies Active in Hong Kong’

“Geoffrey Archer, executive director of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, said here last week that in the last 18 months, 150 United States companies had opened regional offices there. Since Communist disturbances in the territory began last April, Mr. Archer added, another 20 American companies have established Hong Kong branches, or are on the verge of opening them. … He evaluated Hong Kong as a strategic area for trade with Asian countries, including mainland China, and he expects no difficulties from the Peking Communist regime, particularly after recent evidence that the administration in Peking is determined to maintain the flow of trade and capital, which currently is worth about $1 billion a year. … The nonarrival of trains from the mainland with the customary cargoes of live animals and other foodstuffs was due, in his interpretation, to civil strife in Canton between pro-Maoist and anti-Maoist supporters, which delayed railway schedules. Despite later arrivals, he said, the shipments from the mainland have come in as usual and the situation is gradually being stabilized.’”

(Source: The New York TimesThis entry is part of an ongoing feature of U.S.–China Week that follows U.S.–China relations as they developed in another era of change and uncertainty, 50 years ago.)


U.S.–China Week is a weekly news and analysis brief that covers important developments in U.S.–China relations and features especially insightful or influential new policy analysis.

Graham Webster is a senior research scholar, lecturer, and senior fellow of the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, where he specializes in U.S.–China diplomatic, security, and economic relations through research and Track II dialogues. He is also a fellow for China and East Asia with the EastWest Institute. His website is gwbstr.com, and he is based in Oakland, California.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are my own (and I reserve the right to change my mind).

Free Subscription to U.S.–China Week by clicking here or e-mailing me is open to all, and an archive of past editions appears at my long-running website on East Asia and the United States, Transpacifica.

Contact: Follow me on Twitter at @gwbstr. Send e-mail to [email protected].






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