Here at our CUSEF blog, we share news, updates and stories about China and the United States. We provide more than a cursory glimpse of what’s going on between the two powers - here, we offer an in-depth look into their current state of affairs.

U.S. News Roundup

U.S. News Roundup- February 14, 2023



The U.S. reached its largest-ever trade deficit in 2022 as high inflation, disruptions from the Ukraine crisis, and the lingering effects of the pandemic resulted in a decline in global demand.

What’s happening: The Commerce Department reported that imports exceeded exports by $948.1 billion last year, up $103 billion from 2021.

  • According to the report, imports of goods and services in America declined in the third and fourth quarters of 2022. Economists said slowed down consumer spending contributed to the fall.


  • Rapid increases in price and rising energy contribute to the widening gap.
  • Some analysts noted that the record imports in 2022 partly reflected retailers restocking to prevent a repeat of previous shortages caused by blocked supply chains. The downturn in U.S. exports results from decreasing global demand and falling crude oil prices.

State of the Union

President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union on Tuesday to a newly divided Congress, calling for unity and bipartisanship.

Why it matters: While he did not bring up new plans, the State of the Union address came at a critical moment in Biden’s four-year tenure as he is likely to start a reelection campaign.

What’s happening: During the address, he review his legislative accomplishments in the past two years, vowed to stick with his economic agenda, and urged the Republicans and Democrats to work together.

  • Biden emphasized his focus on blue-collar workers, pledging strong support for American manufacturing and products with new standards requiring all building materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in the U.S.
  • He also underlined his commitment to the everyday American by supporting the Junk Fee Prevention Act, which would stop things like the airline from charging fees for families to sit together.
  • Several Republicans in the room stood up and shouted at the President as he spoke about Social Security, Medicare and fentanyl.

Opinions: Observers said the confidence and energy that President Biden showed in the speech made the case that he deserved a second term.

Statistics: About 27.3 million people watched Biden’s State of the Union address on TV, the second-smallest audience in at least 30 years, according to the Nielsen company. Seventy-three percent of those who watched Biden’s speech were 55 or older. Only 5% were younger than 35.

Biden investigation

House Republicans filed an official request to President Joe Biden’s family members for documents related to the overseas business deals.

Why it matters: The request was a manifestation of Republicans’ determination to investigate Biden after retaking the House.

What’s happening: In the statement, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, asked Hunter Biden, James Biden, the President’s son and brother, for documents and communications related to foreign business pursuits.

  • Comer stated that the scrutiny aimed to investigate Biden’s knowledge of and role in his family’s overseas business dealings to assess if he compromised national security.

Opinions: An attorney for Hunter Biden criticized the request Thursday, saying Comer was trying to sell his “inaccurate and baseless conclusions under the guise of a real investigation.”

Public health

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill to eliminate a requirement that most foreign air travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: That requirement is one of the few pandemic travel restrictions in place.

What’s happening: The legislation would nullify the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement that all adult visitors who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must show proof of a COVID vaccination before boarding a plane to the country.

  • However, the CDC opposed lifting the mandate, saying vaccines remain the most important tool for fighting against the virus. The White House sided with CDC, opposing lifting the requirement without a scientific review. It is unclear whether the Democrat-led Senate will bring it to the floor.

Hotspots in the field

  • Microsoft announced Tuesday that a new chatbot powered by ChatGPT-like technology would be added to its Bing search engine and Edge browser.
  • The wave of layoffs continued, with Zoom laying off 1,300 employees, or about 15% of its workforce, and Disney cutting about 7,000 jobs or about 3% of its workforce. While Boeing cut 2,000 white-collar employees, it planned to hire 10,000 engineers and manufacturers.

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