As a global initiative unprecedented in scope, the “One Belt, One Road” initiative often gets a negative reputation. News pundits accuse Beijing of using OBOR as a means of forcing unsustainable levels of debt onto weaker partner countries to seize the precious loan collateral. In this piece, we examine OBOR projects in Kenya and Sri Lanka to determine whether Beijing is engaging in debt trap diplomacy.
Oil is critical to ensuring China’s growth over the next few decades, and securing it has become a top priority for the nation. By financing multiple OBOR development projects to circumvent key oil supply chains through the Strait of Hormuz and Strait of Malacca shipping lanes, China has chipped away at competing oversight in these regions, allowing it to secure access to resources while strengthening relationships with OBOR partner countries.
Internationally, McDonald’s has long been dominant, but in China, KFC reigns king. KFC has twice as many outlets, with experts having long explained KFC’s dominance through better localization efforts. While this argument holds water, the competitive relationship between the world’s largest fast food chains has also bolstered their mutual success in one of largest and most complex markets in the world.
China is considering a new series of free trade agreements to rebalance trade objectives with its national interests. Two of the largest agreements in history, the RCEP and TPP11, may not only help China expand its economic footprint, but also act as a backdoor should old trade relationships fall apart.
The Curse of the Skyscraper is a theory that claims that skyscrapers are usually a sign of poor investment and an economy careening towards recession. China has over half the world’s skyscrapers, and the central government is beginning to limit the height of buildings in an attempt to avoid the Curse.
In the third article in “The Rise of the Renminbi” series, TCG explores the role of bilateral swap agreements (BSAs) in China’s RMB internationalization ambitions. Despite Beijing’s hopes that the initiative would foster increased RMB-denominated trade, results have been lackluster thus far. Regardless, BSAs may play an increasingly important role in the sustainable offshore circulation of the redback over the long-term.
Today, China eats more crawdads than the rest of the world combined. The story of this crustacean’s journey from Louisiana to China is one of accident, ingenuity and natural market forces. In a time of isolationism and trade wars, it is important to remember the little things that drive the larger economy within a globalized world.
Continuing upon the first article in “The Rise of the Renminbi” series, TCG explores China’s strategic approach to the long journey towards RMB internationalization. China has intertwined its global RMB ambitions with the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, a large-scale infrastructure development plan. By providing funding to economically underdeveloped nations, China aims to lead a strong global trade bloc through which new trade and investment can be facilitated in RMB.
While the pandemic reveals the dangers of overreliance on a single nation’s production facilities, Washington is calling on American MNCs to shift supply chains away from China. However, the economic relationship between the world’s top two economic powers is complex and a rushed decoupling could sink the global economy to unprecedented depths. Instead, both nations should carefully consider how to effectively diversify the risk of economic overdependence while continuing to maintain healthy trade relations.
In its push for an international RMB, China squares off against the “impossible trinity,” an economic principle stipulating that no open economy can simultaneously manage exchange rates, control monetary policy, and allow for full capital mobility. In recent years, China has attempted to juggle all three at once, but seen limited success. To reap the benefits of a fully internationalized RMB, China must consider the pros and cons of taking a bolder step towards one side of the triangle.