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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 14.07.2023

Mexico replaced China as America's top trade buddy — and it shows how the global economy is rapidly transforming

According to a new post from Luis Torres, a senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Mexico has once again cemented its place as America's top trading partner, with $263 billion worth of goods passing between the two countries in the first four months of this year. Trade with Mexico accounted for 15.4% of goods exported and imported by the US, just ahead of America's trade totals with Canada and China, which were 15.2% and 12% respectively.

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Communist Party cells influencing U.S. companies’ China operations, FBI Director Wray says

China is requiring U.S. and other foreign-owned companies to host groups that monitor their compliance with Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in congressional testimony Wednesday. It’s one way in which the Chinese government has “exploited” joint business ventures in order to obtain companies’ secrets and information, Wray told the House Judiciary Committee.

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Outlaw Alliance: How China and Chinese Mafias Overseas Protect Each Other’s Interests

The rise of Chinese organized crime in Europe highlights its ties to the Chinese state, national security officials say. Recent cases show the suspected role of mobsters in Beijing’s campaign to repress diaspora communities and amass influence. On a rainy June afternoon, six Chinese mobsters hurried across the plaza of a drab apartment complex near the medieval gates of this Tuscan textile capital. Their targets, two gang rivals in their early 20s, were eating in a small Chinese diner. Drawing machetes, the attackers stormed in.

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China's chip metal export curbs are 'a wake up call' for countries to diversify their supply chainsì

China's metal export curbs on gallium and germanium could spur some countries to diversify their supply chains away from China. "This could be a wake-up call for some [countries] to gradually build up production elsewhere," Stewart Randall of Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink told CNBC. "Whereas if China never did anything, most of the world would be perfectly happy to continue relying on China," said Randall.

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British response to China threat ‘completely inadequate,’ damning report warns

The British government has taken too long to act against Chinese interference, leading to a “serious failure” in its response and “one that the U.K. may feel the consequences of for years to come,” a cross-party committee of lawmakers warned Thursday. In a long-awaited and damning report, the Intelligence and Security Committee — which oversees the work of the U.K.’s intelligence community — said the resources dedicated to tackling security threats posed by China are “completely inadequate.”

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China’s Huawei Launches Innovation Center in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday welcomed the opening of a new Huawei Innovation Center in Johannesburg, praising the Chinese company for its “confidence in the South African economy and its potential.” Ramaphosa said that adopting Huawei’s new technologies would help Africa “leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Huawei was sanctioned in the United States in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump over concerns that Beijing was trying to monopolize networks and possibly use them for espionage. The company, however, already has a huge digital foothold in most of Africa, much of which struggles with low connectivity.

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Blinken, Wang meet again for talks aimed at managing U.S.-China competition

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held "candid and constructive" talks with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on Thursday in Indonesia's capital, an official said, the latest in a series of interactions Washington says are aimed at managing competition between the rival superpowers. In their second meeting in less than a month, Blinken raised alleged Chinese involvement in computer hacking a day after Microsoft said Chinese state-backed hackers had breached email accounts of U.S. government agencies, while Wang pushed back on what he called U.S. "interference" in China's affairs.

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