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FILE PHOTO: Semiconductor chips are seen on a printed circuit board in this illustration picture taken February 17, 2023.

REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration//File Photo

The US-China chip stranglehold

The Biden administration has already imposed severe restrictions on semiconductor companies selling to China through export controls. But now it’s considering additional steps to maintain an edge over its rival in the East. The new measures would reportedly restrict China’s ability to access a specific chip architecture known as gate all around, or GAA. GAA is a powerful type of transistor that large chipmakers — including AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Samsung — are planning to mass produce in the next year.

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EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. A security personnel looks on at oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300km (186 miles) east of the Strait of Hormuz January 17, 2012.

REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

India risks US sanctions over a new Iran port

On Monday, India signed a10-year-long agreement to operate and develop Iran’s Chabahar port. The move is meant to expand India’s agriculture exports to Afghanistan and Central Asia while bypassing existing routes through neighboring Pakistan, New Delhi’s main rival.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk steps out of a vehicle, during his visit to China, in Beijing, China, April 28, 2024, in this screen grab taken from a video.

Reuters TV/via REUTERS

Beijing gives Blinken cold shoulder, extends warm welcome to Musk

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a high-profile visit to China, marked by terse talk and some tough symbols. Two days ahead of Blinken’s arrival, China launched a submarine-based ballistic missile test, and as he departed, the Chinese air force flew jets over the Taiwan Strait. Beijing was not amused by the US Congress passing a supplemental spending bill last week, including billions in military assistance to Taipei.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport, in Beijing, China, April 25, 2024.

Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

Blinken meets with Xi, but no breakthroughs

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought up concerns over China's support for Russia with his counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday, before meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Blinken’s visit is largely meant to advance the mutual goal of stabilizing the relationship, and Xi said he wants to be "partners, not rivals" with the United States.

As Blinken landed in Shanghai for the first leg of his trip earlier this week, the Biden administration signed bills providing Taiwan with $8 billion in military aid and starting a process that could result in a ban of the popular video app TikTok in the US unless its Chinese owner, ByteDance, sells. The day before, the State Department released its annual human rights review, which criticized Chinese treatment of Muslim minorities.

Once he landed, Blinken pressed Shanghai Communist Party Secretary Chen Jining on treating US companies fairly. Meanwhile, he told students at NYU’s Shanghai campus that the cultural ties being built between both countries are of utmost importance.

Despite the many possible pratfalls during the first leg, China’s response has been fairly milquetoast. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “We hope that the US side will respect the principle of fair competition, abide by WTO rules, and work with China to create favorable [trade] conditions.” Hardly “Wolf Warrior” stuff, and Wang said Friday that ties are “beginning to stabilize.”

The casket of late former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is carried by pallbearers following his state funeral at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Quebec, Canada March 23, 2024.

REUTERS/Evan Buhler

Trade champion laid to rest

The Canada-US trade relationship lost its greatest champion when former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was laid to rest in Montreal on Saturday.

Mulroney was the architect of the original Canada-US free trade deal, which he and President Ronald Reagan signed in 1988. He negotiated the NAFTA agreement, which extended the arrangement to Mexico, although it was signed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien and President Bill Clinton in 1994. Then, after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, who threatened to tear up the deal, Mulroney played a key behind-the-scenes role in helping keep the negotiations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump’s team from going off the rails.

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Annie Gugliotta

Should Canada give three F’s?

For the past 17 years, Perrin Beatty has been the voice of business in Canada. And that means he cares about one key thing: the United States. After all, Beatty has long understood that for Canadian business, the biggest customer, opportunity, market, threat — you name it — has always been the United States. And Canada has been the biggest or second biggest market for the US. Beatty, who served as defense minister under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in the late 1980s, gave me his view of what to watch for in this volatile election year and why Canada’s three F’s matter more than people think.
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Paige Fusco

Graphic Truth: US trade deficit with Canada & Mexico

The US trade deficit in goods with Canada and Mexico reached an all-time high in 2023 of over $220 billion — and despite what you may hear from certain former US presidents, that’s a good thing. Yes, more money than ever is leaving the US and going to the neighbors. And in exchange, American consumers get more stuff from their neighbors than ever before and for better prices than they can find at home.

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Canadian Federal Minister for Business and Innovation Franois Philippe Champagne, Germany, Berlin, Press statement by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck and Canadian Federal Minister for Business and Innovation Franois Philippe Champagne.

IMAGO/Metodi Popow via Reuters Connect

Team Canada, Part Deux

Justin Trudeau’s “Team Canada” ventured south this past week to remind Americans that their trade relationship with the Great White North is vital. The new effort was announced by Trudeau in January, signaling a determination to prepare for the outcome of this year’s presidential election. His government, you’ll recall, was criticized in 2016 for being unprepared for Donald Trump’s win. But the Team Canada approach to NAFTA renegotiation was widely seen as a success since it led to the USMCA in 2020, which will be reviewed by all the parties in 2026.

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