International trade

Expert Voices

An obscure Chinese commission could change the future of AVs

A black illustrated car with yellow stars for headlights against red backdrop (like Chinese flag)
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released on Dec. 27 a sprawling roadmap for autonomous vehicle development that named an “Internet of Vehicles Development Commission” to lead work on AV policy.

Why it matters: AV leadership by this commission may indicate a more protectionist approach in China, given incentives to carry out President Xi’s goal of limiting reliance on foreign “core technologies.”

Expert Voices

Despite U.S. concerns, Djibouti may see gains from Chinese finance

Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on September 3, 2018 in Beijing, China.
Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, in Beijing, on Sept. 3, 2018. Photo: Andy Wong / Pool via Getty Images

In unveiling the Trump administration’s new Africa strategy last month, national security adviser John Bolton cast Chinese financial and military activity in Djibouti as a threat to U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa. He cited concerns about Djibouti's mounting debt burden to China and China's potential to take over a strategically located port, along with its establishment of a military base near U.S. base Camp Lemonnier.

The big picture: Djibouti has enjoyed a four-decade relationship with China, and in the past few years, this relationship has become more instrumental in Djibouti's development. China holds 77% of Djibouti’s debt, largely because of Vision Djibouti 2035, the country's agenda to become a logistics and commercial hub for continental trade and spur medium-term growth of 10% per year.

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