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US and Chinese negotiators were back at it this week. Talks went nowhere, and the next round of tit-for-tat tariffs, on $16 billion in goods on each side, has gone into effect. The Trump administration's threatened next step is to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods in coming weeks.


Over the next few weeks, keep an eye on potential friction over the status of Taiwan, a central issue that feeds Chinese suspicion of US motives.

The National Defense Authorization Act, which calls “long-term strategic competition with China” a top US priority, also recommends that the US “improve the defense capabilities of self-ruled Taiwan.”

China’s Defense Ministry was quick to respond. “The Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is the most important and sensitive core issue in Sino-US relations… We urge the US to… carefully handle Taiwan-related issues.”

Washington hasn’t actually done much to help Taiwan lately, and there’s nothing new about US tensions with China over its status. But there are two factors that make Taiwan a more potentially dangerous flashpoint than it has been in many years:

  • China’s President Xi Jinping now leads a much more assertive Chinese foreign policy than any of his predecessors, and his insistence that Taiwan is part of China has become much more forceful in recent months.
  • There’s a US-China trade war underway, and Chinese officials are watching carefully for any evidence of US ambitions to contain China’s rise.

The bottom-line: Fair trade or containment of a rising challenger? It’s harder to resolve a high-stakes conflict when the two sides can’t agree on why it’s being fought.

Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.

Learn more about this rags to riches story in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

Donald Trump can still win re-election in November, but foreign governments read the same polls we do. They know that Joe Biden heads into the homestretch with a sizeable polling lead — both nationally and in the states most likely to decide the outcome. Naturally, they're thinking ahead to what a Biden foreign policy might look like.

They're probably glad that Biden gives them a half-century track record to study. (He was first elected to local office in 1970 and to the US Senate in 1972.) The six years he spent as ranking member, then chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his term as co-chairman of the Senate's NATO Observer Group, and his eight years as Barack Obama's vice president tell them that he's essentially a "liberal internationalist," a person who believes that America must lead a global advance of democracy and freedom — and that close cooperation with allies is essential for success.

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On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

Watch the episode.


On the GZERO World Podcast, Ian Bremmer explores the escalating tension between the world's two biggest geopolitical and economic players—the US and China. With guest Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bremmer discusses the modern history of China after the fall of the Soviet Union and why another Cold War might be inevitable.

Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and Vladimir Putin gather via Zoom for a meeting of the Pandemic Presidents. But who's the top Corona King of them all? #PUPPETREGIME