The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has a sore spot with American sorghum, the New York Times reports (paywall).
- The grain, widely used for cattle feed, is also a primary ingredient in China’s most popular liquor, baijiu.
- China imported about $1 billion worth of the stuff, or 4.8 million tons, in 2017, with nearly all of it coming from the U.S.
- Now the Ministry of Commerce believes that the U.S. may be unfairly subsidizing or dumping the product, and has started an investigation into the matter less than two weeks after the Trump administration slapped tariffs on Chinese solar panels and washing machines.
- This could lead to tariffs on American sorghum, and Chinese agricultural investors know it. Reuters reports that corn futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange “were up 0.7 percent at 1,817 yuan ($288.53) per tonne, on track for their biggest daily rise in a month.”
- Both the Times and Reuters noted that the investigation into sorghum had not been requested by the agriculture business in China, meaning that it is more likely that the product has been targeted by Beijing for trade retaliation.
China to stamp out cryptocurrency trading completely with ban on foreign platforms / SCMP
“‘To prevent financial risks, China will step up measures to remove any onshore or offshore platforms related to virtual currency trading or ICOs,’ said an article published on Sunday night by Financial News, a publication affiliated to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).”
China’s crypto crackdown sends miners scurrying to chilly Canada / Bloomberg
- Electric, autonomous, and export cars
Driverless car tests roll out on south China streets / FT (paywall)
“Two Chinese start-ups, Jingchi and Pony.ai, were offering rides to the public last week for the first time in what appeared to be part publicity stunt, part effort to address a widening gap in test miles with U.S. competitors. The start of legal road testing in China — albeit on a limited scale — is an important step for the country’s autonomous auto industry, which so far has done all testing in California.”
Nissan to invest $9 billion in China in race for EV dominance / Bloomberg
China wants to enter the U.S. car market, but a rough road lies ahead / LA Times
- Dodgy drugs online
China takes microscope to online drugstores / Caixin
“Last year, a woman in Beijing hallucinated after taking what she thought were overseas-produced diet pills that she bought from a contact on WeChat…” The problem comes from unregulated imports and domestically produced fakes. Online drugstores, including ones backed by ecommerce giants Alibaba and JD, are in regulators’ crosshairs.
- Film: Alibaba in, Dreamworks out
Alibaba leads $1.24 billion investment in film unit of China’s Wanda / Reuters
DreamWorks Animation bows out of Chinese joint venture / Caixin
- Strong services sector growth resilient start for Chinese economy in 2018
Services growth shoots up in January / Caixin