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February 17, 2021: Briefings on Taiwan-US relations

1) China considering limits on rare earth element trade with the US

· China may limit or stop rare earth metal trade with the US to see if restrictions would impact US production of weapons and military equipment.

· Some of the defensive weapons that the US sells to Taiwan require rare earth metals for production.

· Due to China’s central role in rare earth metal production, the US is looking to expand other supply lines and reduce reliance on China.

Read more here

2) Biden continues to add members to his China policy team

· US President Biden has added more staff members to the China team who have expressed tough stances on China in past writings, including Melanie Hart, Ely Ratner, and Elizabeth Rosenberg.

· Although the administration’s future China policies are still unclear, the new members’ positions could indicate more rigid and competition-oriented policies to come.

· Domestic divides on how the US should deal with China are still causing some difficulties for the Biden administration, especially over Huawei and 5G technology.

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3) Beijing unhappy with next Hong Kong Stock Exchange CEO

· JPMorgan banker Nicolas Aguzin has been selected to take over as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange CEO, drawing criticism from Beijing for choosing a foreigner.

· Some are concerned that Aguzin’s work ability may be impacted by his western upbringing and illiteracy in Cantonese or Mandarin.

· Aguzin previously stated that he hoped China would open more to western investment, which may be more difficult in the future due to US-China tensions over Hong Kong’s economic status.

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