Good evening. In 2000, the U.S. was the world’s top producer of aluminum. Today, it’s the ninth-largest. The toppling, of course, is due to China, which came on the aluminum scene fast and furious, dumping its cheap excess capacity on global markets and causing chaos in its wake. The U.S. has tried all the tricks in the trade policy book to combat China’s aluminum dumping, but as our cover story this week shows, it’s finally trying something different. Elsewhere, we have infographics on Primavera Capital, the Hong Kong-based firm that provided financing to Ant Group and ByteDance; an interview with Nicholas Burns on managing the competition with China; a reported piece on the (literal) art in diplomacy; and an op-ed from Nancy Qian on China’s youth unemployment problem. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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In the past few decades, no amount of U.S. tariffs or WTO complaints have been able to slow China’s takeover of the global trade of aluminum. But, as Grady McGregor reports, it could look far different in the coming decade. With aluminum, the Biden administration is attempting a surprisingly different approach to trade policy — one that centers environmental and human rights concerns.
The Hong Kong-based firm provided crucial financing to ByteDance and the Ant Group and even acquired Princeton Review, the New York-based college test prep firm. This week’s infographics by Aaron McNicholas look at Primavera Capital: its management team, its limited partners and its major investments.
R. Nicholas (“Nick”) Burns, the U.S. ambassador to China, is one America’s leading diplomats. He has held important posts dating back to the Clinton administration when he was the State Department spokesman. He began his stint as ambassador to China in April 2022. In this week’s Q&A with Bob Davis — part of our ongoing series, ‘The Rules of Engagement’ — he talks about managing the competition with China; the airing of grievances; the military-to-military stalemate; and if there is really a ‘thaw’ in U.S.-China relations.
Illustration by Kate Copeland
China is successfully bringing thousands of treasures from around the world back home — an initiative driven both by a desire to reclaim important historical items and to project China’s cultural and economic power. But as Katrina Northrop reports, how much future collaboration there will be between the U.S. and China on antiquity repatriations is currently in question.
New record-breaking figures for joblessness among workers aged 16 to 24 weaken the Chinese economy’s near- and long-term prospects, argues Nancy Qian in this week’s op-ed. If the trend persists, as seems likely, China will have an even harder time supporting its rapidly aging population.
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