Tag: trade

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http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190905-how-localisation-can-solve-climate-change Wow, so while we were fearing that the globalists will push their way forward with use of climate change, the agenda just got turned inside out (although it may take politicians awhile to refocus their efforts). Of course only a world government could possibly enforce this. Bonus: it could even fit right in with […]

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Trump’s Trade Travesty

 

On Friday, August 30, Trump confidently tweeted that anyone who thinks that his aggressive trade war with China could lead to a recession is sadly misinformed. He offered his own two-part explanation for a possible economic downturn. First, unnamed but “badly run and weak companies” are being undone by their own incompetence. Second, their present plight has not been caused by the trade war, but rather by the Federal Reserve’s failure to rapidly cut interest rates.

Chairman Jerome Powell has become a frequent target of the President’s ire. To be sure, the Fed did trim rates by a quarter of a point, from 2.25% to 2.00%, in July 2019. But Trump wanted the Fed to cut rates, already low by historical standards, by a full point. Even more, he wanted the Fed to further jolt the economy through another round of bond repurchases. In an attempt to prod Powell into action, Trump accused Powell of having a “horrendous lack of vision.” When Powell did not blink, Trump doubled down. “As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can ‘speak’ without knowing or asking what I am doing,” he tweeted. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” So much for the traditional independence of the Fed. Trump then lashed out at the private sector by ordering corporations to find alternatives to China. So much for limited presidential powers.

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Is China a ‘Strategic Partner’ or a Cold War 2.0 Foe?

 

President Trump may not be interested in cold war with China, but cold war is interested in him. Well, at least if his fellow Republicans have any say in the matter.

If there’s any clear takeaway from the G20 trade ceasefire, it’s that Trump views the fate of Chinese telecom giant Huawei as something to be negotiated. Just another pressure point. This Bloomberg headline pretty much nails it: “Huawei Lifeline Shows Trump Prefers Business Deals Over Cold War.

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A Democratic Debate That Ignores China and Trade Isn’t Much of a Debate

 

The core of Trumponomics is a protectionist trade policy built on tariffs, both threatened and implemented. All of America’s largest trading partners, including allies, have been in President Trump sights. And as the president gets ready to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, some analysts are wondering whether the entire US-China trading relationship will fall victim to a New Cold War.

But “trade” ⁠—⁠ in its economic context ⁠—⁠ was mentioned only once in last night’s Democratic presidential debate. And “China” was only mentioned a half dozen times, with four of those mentions in a rapid-fire round where candidates were asked to briefly mention the “greatest geopolitical threat” to America. Don’t blame the NBC moderators. Candidates had ample opportunity to explore the US-China trade conflict and more broadly China’s challenge to US superpower supremacy.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss what readers can expect in Jim’s new book, Between Two Scorpions. Joe Biden flip-flops on trade and calls President Trump “an existential threat” to the United States. Meanwhile, Democrats in Iowa grow more uncertain as to who they will support from the busload […]

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What’s Missing from Trump’s China Policy

 

The Dow plunged 450 points on the opening bell May 6 in response to this presidential tweet: “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No! The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday.” Economists eye this brinkmanship fearfully. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch’s global research team, among many others, has warned that a trade war could cause a global recession. Desmond Lachman of AEI notes that there are splash back effects of imposing harsh tariffs. They may succeed in weakening China, but “Any marked slowing in the Chinese economy is bound to have spillover effects on those economies with strong trade links to that country.”

Among those countries with “strong trade links” to China would be ours. Lachman is warning that Trump’s policies may be undermining the strong economy, and that this should worry him looking at 2020. But before we get there, spare a moment to savor the irony of what Trump’s policies have so far achieved on one of his favorite 2016 hobbyhorses — the trade deficit. In 2016, the goods and services trade deficit with China stood at $309 billion (which Trump frequently exaggerated to $500 billion). As of March, 2019, the trade deficit with China was $379 billion — a 23 percent increase.

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How Is This Tech Cold War with China Supposed to Work, Exactly?

 

Let’s assume the Trump White House blacklisting of Huawei in effect marks the beginning of a full-fledged Tech Cold War between America and China, complete with a Digital Iron Curtain. The full metaphor. How then does the conflict end in an American victory? And what does that even look like? Have the tech cold warriors, both within the White House and externally, given serious thought to any of this?

We know how the more comprehensive Cold War 1.0 concluded, with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire in 1991. It was a collapse that some predicted was inevitable. But at the time many others thought the scenario so unlikely as to be unworthy of speculation. The whole idea of 1970s detente was based on the perceived durability of the USSR. And this view held nearly to the very end. For example: The 1984 film “2010: The Year We Make Contact” was a sequel to the 1968 Stanley Kubrick-directed film “2001: A Space Odyssey” and concerns a joint US-USSR deep space mission.

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China Has a Master Economic Plan. Is It Better Than America’s?

 

Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon told CNBC viewers today that China has “a master plan to become an economic hegemon.” I mean, yeah. Sure. A quarter millennium ago, China was the world’s largest economy and it is no doubt eager to regain that position if possible. And not just in terms of nominal GDP, but also as an economy on the technological frontier. Thus its efforts to leap forward in advanced manufacturing and AI.

The former, GDP, is easier to measure than relative tech prowess. Well, not that easy. My AEI colleague Derek Scissors has argued that “claims that China’s economy is already the world’s largest may be exaggerated by up to 30%.” And a comparison of national wealth shows “the American lead expanding.” But clearly the Chinese economy is pretty big and getting bigger and is technologically sophisticated in a way that the Soviet Union never was.

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Is America Worrying Too Much About China’s Rise?

 

Recall the 2010 “Chinese Professor” television commercial from Citizens Against Government Waste. It depicted a futuristic Beijing classroom where students hear a triumphalist lecture on American decline. Despite (or maybe because of) its questionable economic substance, the ad really struck a nerve. (It currently has some 3 million YouTube views).

At the time, writer James Fallows called it the “first spot from this campaign season you can imagine people actually remembering a decade from now.” And I think he was right about that, probably because “Chinese Professor” tapped into both pre-Trumpian concerns America was no longer great and that fast-growing China was ready to surpass the United States as global hegemon just at the US surpassed Great Britain. Indeed, that angst probably gave added resonance to President Trump’s MAGA message, one that when he delivered it in the 1980s focused on Japan as the rising Asian threat.

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I see identity politics have gotten into Trump’s Mexico-Canada-US trade agreement. https://world.wng.org/2018/12/transgender_import?fbclid=IwAR2P95y_6fDpJga9S-Wil7LWge10YNcVyUccEiX5EfGRqb9bgWpBS8ovWbI More

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It’s Still Unclear What the US-China Trade War Is Really All About

 

“Jaw, jaw is better than war, war” is one of those well known Winston Churchill quotes that Churchill apparently never said. (Or at least not exactly like that.) But it’s still a pretty catchy phrase and not a bad first instinct. So from that perspective, perhaps, the results from the US-China trade negotiations in Buenos Aires are to be welcomed. Talks resulting in an agreement for more talks over the next three months is a pretty good alternative to a severe intensification in the ongoing trade conflict between the nations.

So here we are: The American tariff rate on $200 billion in imports from China will stay at 10 percent rather than rising to 25 percent. And China, according to the Trump administration, will “purchase a very substantial amount of agricultural, industrial and energy, products.”

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If the Old US-China Game Is Over, What Comes Next?

 

Phrase it whatever way you prefer. As my CNBC colleague said today on “Squawk on the Street,” “I think the president is saying, ‘Hey, listen guys, you are not going to make as much money in China as you used to. That game is over.’”

Or as my AEI colleague Derek Scissors writes in a new blog post, “…the Sino-American economic relationship is going to shrink, sooner or later.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Chad Benson of Radio America congratulate President Donald Trump for appointing more judges to regional circuit courts than any president has at this point in his term. They also criticize big businesses that are supporting Democrats in 2018 because of Trump’s trade and immigration policies. And they think the […]

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Trade Wars Are Easy to Win

 

The President demonstrated his ignorance of the basics of trade once again this morning with a classic tweet:

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Donald Trump’s Trade Travesty

 

The presidency of Donald Trump has been marked by a war between two totally inconsistent intellectual mindsets: his disastrous trade policy and his wise domestic policy. Let’s start with the good news first.

On the domestic front, Donald Trump has largely followed, to great positive effect, the classical liberal playbook, which spurs growth through a combination of low taxation and market deregulation. Under Trump’s leadership, removal of the government’s heavy foot from the throat of the economy has paid off. The key move was to junk the popular Keynesian paradigm with its flawed assumption that one or more low-interest economic stimulus programs could spend the United States back to prosperity. But these glorified transfer programs only take from Peter in order to pay Paul. Their net effect is virtually always negative. Making money cheap encourages borrowing, but it also discourages lending, creating at best a wash. The administrative costs of aggressive monetary policy, coupled with high levels of economic uncertainty it engenders, are a net drag on the overall economy, leading to the anemic growth levels and relative wage stagnation of the Obama years.

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In part one of this series, I explained the Cheney Doctrine which governed the GOP’s fiscal and trade policies in the 2000s. The Cheney Doctrine can be summed up as “give the voters low taxes and cheap foreign goods, and everyone will be happy.” This led to utter economic and political disaster in 2008 and […]

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[This is a two-part series. In part two I’ll explore whether Trump has invented a new fiscal strategy for the GOP] The Cheney doctrine, first articulated by Dick Cheney in the early 2000s, is that fiscal deficits do not matter. As the 2000s wore on, the doctrine was expanded to include trade deficits. This expanded […]

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Milton Ezrati joins Seth Barron to discuss President Trump’s talk of tariffs, China’s vulnerability in a potential trade war with the United States, and the history of the global trade order. A tumultuous recent meeting of the G7 nations, trade disputes with Canada, and tariff threats against China all point to a shakeup of world trade. While the global economy would likely suffer in a […]

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Begun, It Looks Like the US-China Trade War Has

 

It appears the war of words is over between the US and China. Or, more accurately, the conflict is moving beyond just words. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Beijing said it would retaliate immediately after the Trump administration announced Friday that it will impose tariffs on $50 billion of goods from China, raising the potential for a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.”

So, escalation. But how does it end? Probably not with China tweaking its state capitalist economic model anytime soon. That would require, if anything, a sustained, multiyear effort where, for instance, Chinese firms benefiting from theft of American intellectual property would face severe sanctions. As my colleague Claude Barfield argues, “Should Beijing remain obdurate against market-opening reform, the US should progressively close off sectors to Chinese investment and operations in this country. Further, in a progressive ratcheting up, Chinese companies should be excluded from US capital markets, including stock exchange listings and the use of American underwriters for capital offerings.”

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The $200 Billion Question: What Exactly Is the US Trying to Accomplish with Its China Trade Talks?

 
US Trade Representative and member of US trade delegation Robert Lighthizer leaves a hotel in Beijing, China, May 4, 2018.

This isn’t a shock: China’s Foreign Ministry now says Beijing hasn’t offered to cut its nearly $400 billion trade surplus with the US by $200 billion. Well, yeah. This rumor — perhaps just 3-D psychological chess from Team Trump — always appeared dodgy.

Because math. And because reality. Can a US economy with capacity utilization at a three-year high and unemployment at a 17-year low boost production by that much? Look at it this way: Aircraft ($16 billion) and soybeans ($12 billion) were the two biggest US exports to China last year. As Reuters points out, China would have to buy 667 more Boeing commercial jets a year to meet the $200 billion goal. (Boeing, by the way, made 763 such planes last year and has an order backlog for 5,654 jets.)

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