The relationship between the two economic juggernauts cannot exactly be characterized as free trade nirvana, and there is a growing sentiment in the United States that China has not fully lived up to the commitments it made when joining the WTO. This is fueled in no small part by concern over the massive trade surplus China has built up with the United States, its largest trading partner. By deliberately undervaluing its currency, critics charge, China has propped up its export-dependent growth model.
China is the world’s factory when it comes to counterfeit products: two-thirds of fake products seized last year by U.S. Customs originated in China. But Chinese consumers are growing increasingly wary of buying fakes for themselves.
It’s official: fourth quarter data have confirmed that Europe’s economy is headed south faster than expected. Both the GDP and industrial statistics paint a picture of a sharp downturn that has already turned into double-dip recessions in about half a dozen countries.