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THE CHINA EFFECT
#1: While the US is the world’s beef king, China far and away is the world’s leading pork producer. Unfortunately, China is also the world’s biggest source of mutant virus strains – think SARS.
#1: While the US is the world’s beef king, China far and away is the world’s leading pork producer. Unfortunately, China is also the world’s biggest source of mutant virus strains – think SARS. That’s why its big news when a news and very nasty virus hits China’s pig population. Financial markets have acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis as pork prices are up sharply. But the most ominous question in a post-SARS era is just what exactly is this virus. Unfortunately, as in the early stages of the SARS episode, Chinese officials have leaned more towards a cover-up than full disclosure.
#2: This week, China continued its hard line, “tit for tat” policy of retaliation against the U.S. and other countries that reject any Chinese products on the basis of quality or defects. The latest target was 272 heart pacemakers produced by St. Jude’s Medical – returned by Chinese quality control bureaucrats to the U.S. on safety grounds.
#3: In a deal that will put a further squeeze on energy supplies for Europe, China and Kazakhstan signed a big deal to build a pipeline that will transport oil and gas east to China from the Caspian Sea rather than west to European markets. This was yet another skirmish in the ongoing war for petroleum in Central Asia – where, one might add, US oil companies are aggressively seeking to develop resources. So far, China is winning this Coming China War.