China challenges U.S. tariffs, lodging case at WTO


A World Trade Organization (WTO) logo is pictured on their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

 

China files WTO lawsuit against US tariffs on $300 billion Chinese goods

China filed a lawsuit under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism on the US’ 15 percent tariffs on $300 billion Chinese goods, the first batch of which started on September 1, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced on Monday.

China lodges tariff case at WTO against the U.S. – Reuters

 

 

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China will not proactively escalate the trade war, and will not discriminate against US companies that invest in China due to the trade war. As the trade war is messing up the world, China is bound to be stronger.

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US mixed move on Huawei ban shows its limited hand in dealing with China: analysts


Move reflects Washington’s limited options: analysts

The US on Monday moved to grant another 90-day reprieve for Chinese telecom firm Huawei Technologies, but it also appeared to be increasing pressure on the company by adding more subsidiaries to its Entity List, in a sign of its increasingly limited options in cracking down on the company and China.

The move underscored the delicate situation faced by the Trump administration, which wants to continue its ill-intentioned goal of containing China’s technological and economic rise but is also under intensifying domestic pressure as its actions also inflict pain on US companies and consumers, analysts noted.

The US Department of Commerce announced on Monday (US time) that it will extend the temporary general license, which allows certain US companies to continue supplying Huawei, for another 90 days. The current 90-day reprieve was due to expire on Monday. But in the same statement, the agency also announced that it had added 46 additional subsidiaries of Huawei to its Entity List.

Huawei opposes the US decision to add another 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, which is politically motivated, the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday.

The extension of the temporary license does not change the fact that the company has been treated unjustly, and today’s decision won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way, the statement said.

“This is typical of the US: tough on words but soft on actions,” Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday, noting that the US is facing more difficulties in following up on its tough threats. “They know that they can’t do much about Huawei without hurting themselves.”

In the statement, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross acknowledged the dilemma. “As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” he said.

But the new moves are unlikely to either ease or add new pressure that Huawei hadn’t anticipated, said Jiang Junmu, the chief writer at telecom industry news website c114.com.cn.

Huawei’s sign is seen at an exhibition hall of MWC19 in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

“Huawei has already been forced to the bottom and whatever the US decision is will not change Huawei’s rise,” Jiang told the Global Times, noting that the company has been preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Since being added to the US blacklist, Huawei has mounted a fierce response to US accusations against its products and has moved to release a series of new technologies and products in anticipation of the ban. Most notably, the company has launched its own Harmony operating system to replace Android, which is from Google.

“The US move will only speed up Huawei’s adoption of its Plan B,” said Jiang, who follows Huawei closely.

The US decision will also have a limited impact on the trade negotiations between Chinese and US officials, which are facing a rough road as the US continues to adopt its bullying tactics.

Even as new talks are scheduled for Washington in September, the US administration announced a 10 percent tariff on more than $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. In another sign of its limited control over trade, the US later delayed tariffs on some household goods ahead of the Christmas shopping season to quell rising domestic pressure.

“The US has not changed its tactics but increasingly its hand is forced,” Bai said.

Newspaper headline: US ups pressure on Huawei

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Huawei launches HarmonyOS, could replace Android at ‘any time’

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei released its much-anticipated operating system HarmonyOS on Friday amid the US ban still that is imposed on the company and escalating China-US trade tensions. A Huawei executive said the groundbreaking move, considered a Plan B that the company has long prepared, could be used at any time if
the company is no longer able to access Google’s Android.

 

Singapore growth forecast down to 1%


Unknown future: As Singapore further cut its growth forecast, New Zealand, India and Thailand also cut their interest rates signalling concerns on growth outlook. — AFP

SINGAPORE: Singapore slashed its full-year economic growth forecast as global conditions were seen worsening and data confirmed the slowest growth rate in a decade amid mounting fears of recession in the city-state.

The government cut its forecast range for gross domestic product in Singapore – often seen as a bellwether for global growth because international trade dwarfs its domestic economy – to zero to 1% from its previous 1.5%-2.5% projection.

Singapore’s downgrade adds to concerns globally about the effect of increasing protectionism on exports and production.

The deterioration in the global outlook has pushed central banks to cut interest rates and consider unconventional stimulus to shield their economies.

“GDP growth in many of Singapore’s key final demand markets in the second half of 2019 is expected to slow from, or remain similar to, that recorded in the first half, ” the trade ministry said in a statement to the media yesterday.

The ministry flagged a host of growing economic risks including Hong Kong’s political situation, the Japan-Korea trade dispute, the Sino-US tariff war, slowing growth in China and Brexit.

Final second quarter GDP data yesterday showed a 3.3% on-quarter contraction on a seasonally-adjusted annualised basis. That was slightly smaller than the 3.4% decline seen in the government’s advance estimate but deeper than a 2.9% fall predicted in a Reuters poll and a sharp contrast to the robust 3.8% first quarter expansion, which was driven by brisk construction activity.

Yesterday’s data also confirmed annual GDP expanded 0.1% in April-June from a year earlier, its slowest rate in a decade, and lower than poll expectations of 0.2% and the first quarter’s 1.1%.

Singapore’s benchmark stock index fell 1.2% to a two-month low in early trade, underperforming other bourses in the region.

Singapore has been hit hard by the Sino-US trade war, which has disrupted world supply chains in a blow to business investment and corporate profits.

Also yesterday, Singapore cut its full-year forecast for non-oil domestic exports to a 9% contraction from an 8% fall previously.

That comes after a 26.9% drop in electronics exports in the second quarter year-on-year.

“With trade tensions between the US-China unlikely to abate anytime soon, we expect exports and trade-related services to push the economy into technical recession in Q3, ” said Sian Fenner, lead Asia economist at Oxford Economics.

New Zealand, India and Thailand all cut interest rates last week, signalling major concerns about the outlook for economic growth. Last month, the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time since 2008.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an annual speech last week that the government stood ready to stimulate the economy.

“It feels like the storm is coming if you look at the whole macro economic fundamentals softening, ” said Selena Ling, head of treasury and strategy at OCBC Bank.

“All the downside risks are piling up on one side, ” Ling added, pointing to the myriad of global risks flagged in the trade ministry statement. — Reuters

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Peter Navarro, a hawk that ‘lacks intellect and common sense’ is Trump’s trade adviser or political agitator?

 

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American anti-China Hawks ignited the trade war, are Trump’s advisors

Peter Navarro, a hawk that ‘lacks intellect and common sense’ is Trump’s trade adviser or political agitator?


A profile photo of Peter Navarro Photo: IC

○ Navarro used the idea of the seven sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind

○ Navarro has been called the US President Donald Trump’s “spirit animal” as Donald Trump Jr. called him “a fierce warrior” for his father’s America First trade agenda

○ Politicians like Navarro have ruined the efforts made in the China-US trade talks and US society will pay for this, analysts said

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday said that China must end the “seven deadly sins,” a remark that was criticized by Chinese experts as “absurd and full of hostility” and that Navarro’s dominance of economic issues in the White House is a source of sadness in current China-US trade ties.

Navarro, 69, is a White House trade adviser and ardent supporter of the trade war. Several days earlier, Trump escalated his tariff war with China and Navarro was the only person at the announcement who supported it.

Navarro used the Christian concept of the seven deadly sins to criticize China, which showed his narrow and distorted mind. His willful moves to stir up hatred between countries are the real sin, analysts said.

He has written three books discrediting China and produced documentaries portraying Beijing as a threat. He ingratiates himself with those in the White House in order to get promoted. He has a “big mouth” and was told to shut up after saying the Canadian Prime Minister deserves “a special place in hell.” He has written a number of books, but has always been an unrecognized “non-mainstream economist.”

Navarro’s distinguishing feature among White House staff and senior officials is likely not that he is more of a “hawk” than others, but that he lacks intellect and common sense. He is highly compatible with his leader in his use of irrational methods, a Chinese scholar told the Global Times.

A US cargo ship (back) is seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018. Photo: VCG

Out of favor

“Imagine the United States simultaneously engaged in trade wars with China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Brazil and Turkey,” said a report by the Axios news website in August 2018.

Axios has obtained a copy of a draft executive order Navarro put together in the fall of 2017 that would have imposed tariffs on every product imported from every country doing significant business with North Korea, according to Axios.

“Its death is thanks to — well, just about everyone. Officials at Commerce, State, Treasury, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative all considered the proposal totally unworkable,” Axios reported.

As long as he’s in the administration, there will be a persistent, noisy, enthusiastic voice for these kinds of tariffs, according to Axios.

In fact, Navarro was out of favor in the White House when he proposed the tariffs. The American website Vox Media recalled that in the fall of 2017, John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, began controlling advisers’ access to Trump by having Gary Cohen, director of the White House national economic council, restrain Navarro.

What did Navarro do? In order to get more direct contact with Trump, he often lurked in the West Wing of the White House at night and on weekends.

Navarro was named director of the newly established White House national trade council after President Trump’s election in 2016, and he remained director after it was transformed into the White House office of trade and manufacturing policy in April 2017. However, Navarro’s first year in the White House was difficult because Trump’s economic team was run by “globalists.”

An American with ties to Trump’s business team told the Global Times that Navarro did not have his own team in the first few months in the White House and had to attend meetings alone. Not only was he excluded from many high-level strategy meetings, he was also required to copy all work emails to Cohen.

However, two personnel changes in early 2018 gave Navarro an opportunity. In February, Rob Porter, a top political aide and White House staff secretary who was a key supporter of free trade, resigned over domestic violence allegations. In March 2018, Cohen resigned after Trump insisted on tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

Navarro was eager for the vacant position and went all out for it in private, but publicly pulled his punches and said he wasn’t competing for it, Politico reported.

Navarro eventually failed, but rose in stature. According to one American trade expert, Trump wanted protectionism, but almost everyone in the room disagreed.

Lü Xiang, an American issues expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, told the Global Times that Navarro’s role in the process of economic policymaking in White House was elevated after Cohen’s resignation. It is said that his annual salary was raised from second class to first class from March 2018, lower only than that of the President and vice president, which shows the appreciation with which he has been received.

In May 2018, the China-US high-level trade consultation was held in Washington.

A reporter at Bloomberg said the White House had not scheduled Navarro for the talks because of his inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. But Navarro criticized Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the US Treasury, in the media for giving too much ground in the talks. A few days later, Trump repudiated the negotiations and imposed taxes on $50 billion worth of Chinese products.

Given Navarro’s influence, Time magazine published an article in August 2018 saying that he does not have as much power as Mnuchin or the same responsibilities as trade representative Robert Lighthizer, but that his role should not be underestimated. If Stephen Miller, a controversial White House senior adviser, is the infamous player behind immigration, Navarro is the core leader of a series of much-criticized economic policies.

Unpopular loser

In published photos, Navarro looks somber, with a high forehead and gray hair.

He has a lot more to show for himself, with his Harvard degree, his doctorate and so on, but it is his paranoia that is his most memorable feature. In fact, Navarro originally wanted to be a politician, not an adviser, but he had a problem: people don’t like him.

Navarro was originally registered as a Republican, but ran unsuccessfully for office four times as a Democrat in the 1990s. He was once close to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When he ran for congress in 1996, then-president Bill Clinton opposed him. His defeat was devastating: his wife divorced him and he fell deeply into debt.

Until 2008, he was a supporter of Democratic politicians, especially Hillary Clinton. But in the election of 2016, Navarro became an adviser to Trump. Trump is said to have suffered without the help of economists, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner asked Navarro to join after searching Navarro’s book on Amazon.

Born into a working-class family, Navarro grew up with his mother and was a hard-working graduate of two prestigious universities, Tufts and Harvard. However, his experience can be described as changeable and ill-fated.

Lü argues that his life experience has led to Navarro’s perennial unhappiness, and that he will spare no effort to translate his absurd claims into concrete policies once he is promoted by a leader who approves of him.

Although he is valued by his leader, Navarro was not liked by his colleagues. According to some American media, Navarro has a tough personality, and can be unaccommodating and unpopular. Navarro is as rude as ever when Trump cannot hear, scolding and belittling those who disagree with him.

‘Spirit animal’

Navarro was called “President Trump’s spirit animal” by Axios news website, as many scholars and experts in economy poured scorn upon his ideas on trade.

“Peter is a fierce warrior for my father’s America First trade agenda, and while it may upset some members of the failed bipartisan establishment of the Washington Swamp, he understands that we can’t allow China to continue taking advantage of American workers and hollowing out our industrial base,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement to The Washington Post. “His only agenda is my father’s agenda and the White House is lucky to have him.”

Some media pointed out that Navarro is the president’s intimate friend only when they talk about tariffs.

Experts said that Navarro was away from the spotlight for a while but then came back with a madder attitude.

Navarro appeared on Fox news on June 13, criticizing China in many fields, including intellectual protection and currency.

Many of Navarro’s propositions on trade and economy are condemned as unreasonable. Many mainstream economists think he has created a new school of economics dubbed the “stupid school.” His theories usually go against the principles of economics and he has made basic mistakes. In his articles, he has confused tariffs with added-value tax, Lü said.

“While purportedly an economist by training, Navarro’s economics is misguided, inaccurate and politicized,” Stephen Roach, a faculty member at Yale University, and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote in an editorial for the Global Times in July 2018.

It is normal that China and the US have differences, as they have their own interests. Instead of offering constructive advice to deal with these differences, Navarro has acted more like a political agitator. China and the US have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks and are trying to find ways to reach a consensus. The actions of some politicians, including Navarro, remind us that certain politicians’ tricks have ruined the good momentum of the trade talks again and again, Chinese experts noted that the US society will eventually pay for these politicians’ wrong deeds.

By Liang Yan, Qing Mu and Fan Lingzhi, Wang Huicong contributed to the reporting Source link 

Headless Hawk

Peter Navarro Photo: IC

Peter Navarro: trade adviser or political agitator?

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday accused China of committing the “seven deadly sins.” He said China must “stop stealing our intellectual property, stop forcing technology transfers, stop hacking our computers, stop dumping into our markets and putting our companies out of business, stop state-owned enterprises from heavy subsidies, stop the fentanyl, stop the currency manipulation” before the trade war comes to an end.

The “seven deadly sins” refer to the seven original vices in Catholic teachings. Such a metaphor reflects Navarro’s narrow-mindedness and psychological distortion. He wantonly hyped hatred between major powers, which is a real sin.

Navarro’s seven accusations against China are all clichés. The accusations are long-term China-US disputes and different definitions of the disputes. But of all remarks made by US officials on such differences, Navarro’s summary was the most vicious. It was not only ridiculous, but also full of hostility. His words have exposed the fact that his virtues can’t compare with his position. It is the woe of China-US economic and trade relations that such a person is hijacking the White House’s economic discourse power.

US media reported that Navarro is a key figure who has helped bring about the US decision to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products. He is a major spoiler contributing to the US breach of promises.

China has led its 1.4 billion people to prosperity and development. The country has not been involved in any war in more than 10 years, and has played a positive role in the UN’s climate action. As a trading power, China has made every deal with the US by mutual consent.

It is normal for China and the US to have different standpoints toward their disputes. Trade is mutually beneficial and China cannot force the US to have hundreds of billions of trade with it. This is common sense. By no means can Chinese people understand why the US could define China-US trade disputes in so many weird ways. The US side stubbornly insists on its values about interests, which are not suitable in current globalized world.

The two countries can improve trade balance by adjusting many practices. The Chinese side is willing to take into consideration some of the US’ concerns.

But wielding a tariff stick is unacceptable to China. Navarro said China-US trade won’t end unless China satisfies all the conditions. He speaks as if it’s only China’s one-side wish to end the trade war. Isn’t it boring to still threaten China so shallowly after one and a half years of trade war?

The fact is if the US side has no sincerity to reach a fair deal, China is prepared to fight the trade war to the end. China is being forced to do so, but it can do it well under pressure until the other side is discouraged.

It seems Navarro didn’t offer the president a technical solution to solving China-US differences. He behaves more like a political agitator. The two sides have gone through 12 rounds of trade talks through which negotiating teams work hard to find common ground.

But Navarro reminds us that some people’s political calculations keep impacting on the US negotiating position. American society will eventually pay for these people’s politics.

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Malaysia economic outlook looking better on firmer ties with China, says Manulife


KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 1): The economic outlook in Malaysia is looking to be better as the strengthening relationship with China is expected to pave way for rising investment flows from China to Malaysia, according to Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd.

In its mid-year market outlook report today, Manulife Asset Management Services head of total solutions and equities investments Tock Chin Hui said the revival of major infrastructure projects is expected to pump-prime the economy for the second half of the year.

“Malaysia corporates and consumers are expected to spend more due to the progressive disbursements of tax refunds and the resumption of infrastructure projects, which will eventually drive domestic consumption, and investor sentiment is expected to improve as the government continues to embark on structural changes to overhaul the economy and future-proof it.

“Looking ahead, Malaysian equities offer attractive dividend yield and significant defensiveness amid uncertainty caused by trade tension. The Malaysian market is expected to show resilience and could outperform regional peers given its defensive trait and year-to-date laggard performance,” said Tock.

Commenting on the region, Manulife said Asian assets could offer opportunities given their resilience to market volatility in the first half of 2019.

It said Asian equities have held up strongly despite the negative impact of escalating Sino-US trade tensions, and the US Federal Reserve’s increasingly dovish stance has allowed Asian bonds to remain in a good position.

Manulife Investment Management chief economist and head of macroeconomic strategy Frances Donald said central banks have entered a global easing cycle in response to the deteriorating global growth activity and heightened uncertainty surrounding international trade policy.

“This uncertainty has created a confidence shock that is slowing global hiring and business investment along with global trade.

“We expect the Federal Reserve will cut rates at least twice in 2019 as insurance against deteriorating growth in the face of heightened uncertainty but also to stoke inflationary pressures which have been absent.

“Should trade tensions re-escalate in the second half of the year, we would expect the Federal Reserve to respond with more than two rate cuts,” said Donald.

Source link 

 

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Trade War Spurs Recession Risk in Singapore


The Tanjong Pagar container terminal in Singapore.
  • Shock contraction in quarterly GDP raises risk of job losses
  • Officials already grappling with aging, productivity threats

Singapore’s economic data have gone from bad to worse this month. Exports slumped to their second-worst rate since the global financial crisis, the purchasing managers index slipped into contraction for the first time since 2016, and the economy shrank the most in almost seven years in the second quarter.

Exports, manufacturing PMIs sink to multi-year lows

 

After spending much of early 2019 enjoying relative resilience, a recession 
is now looming. That’s a warning shot for regional and global economies, since Singapore’s heavy reliance on trade makes it somewhat of a bellwether for the rest of Asia.

The severity of the slump may be down to trade tensions and a global slowdown, but Singapore has been grappling with longstanding economic threats that have been slowly eroding the city state’s growth potential: rapid aging, labor market shrinkage, and sluggish productivity among them. Those risks will become more acute for policy makers now.

“Any undue turbulence or prolonged stresses from the trade war are only
going to compound the challenges of all the other issues — productivity, demographics, anything else,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics & strategy at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “External demand concerns will be at the top of the list for now, because if you don’t get that one right it’s that much more difficult to solve everything else.”

Singapore remains one of the most export-reliant economies in the world, with trade equivalent to 326% of gross domestic product, according to World Bank data. That puts the city state at the center of the storm stirred up by its top two trading partners sparring
over tariffs.

The shock GDP figures earlier this month prompted some analysts to downgrade
their Singapore forecasts for the year to below 1%. The government is set to revisit its own 1.5%-2.5% range next month, but for now, it’s remaining calm, seeing no recession for the full year.

What Bloomberg’s Economists Say…

“Barring a swift rapprochement in U.S.-China trade relations, our forecast for a 0.2% year-on-year contraction in Singapore in 2019 remains on course.

The government has ample firepower to cushion the blow, but it may not be enough to avoid a recession.”

-Tamara Henderson, Asean economist

The slump is largely contained so far to manufacturing, which makes up about a fifth
of the economy, but could soon spread to other sectors such as retail and financial services. That increases the risk of job losses at a time when businesses like International Business Machines Corp. are already laying off workers and banks such as Nomura Holdings Inc. cut staff.

The number of retrenched  workers in Singapore rose to the highest in more than a year in the first quarter, though the unemployment rate has remained fairly steady at 2.2% amid a recovery in construction.

“The labor market looks to be on two tracks at the moment — there’s a weak market in the manufacturing sector but a steady one in the services sector,” said Shaun Roache, chief Asia-Pacific economist at S&P Global Ratings in Singapore. “High-frequency indicators including industrial production and trade suggest that the environment will remain challenging in manufacturing for the year.”

While those cyclical headwinds buffer the outlook, policy makers are also grappling with structural impediments to growth.

SINGAPORE AGING
An employee clears tables at a food center in Singapore.

Faced with a rapidly aging population, the government has been on an aggressive campaign to re-skill its labor force and prepare workers for a postponed retirement.
The median age is set to rise to 46.8 years in 2030 from 39.7 in 2015, faster than the other top economies in Southeast Asia as well as the world as a whole, according to United Nations projections.

Tied to its rapid aging is Singapore’s productivity conundrum.

As the labor pool shrinks and gets older, the city state’s answer to the productivity challenge has been to automate and digitize. With an ambition to become a “Smart Nation,”  the government has poured money and energy into digitization projects
of all kinds, from helping seniors fine-tune smartphone skills at digital clinics to attracting financial technology giants to set up shop and test their ideas.

Silver-Medal Race

It’s that technological advancement, along with its world-beating infrastructure and efficiency, that continues to make Singapore attractive to businesses like Dyson Ltd., the U.K. manufacturer that picked the city state for its location to build its first electric cars. It’s also a reason why officials are confident Singapore can meet its foreign investment targets for this year.

“They’re saying the right thing, doing the right thing,” said Edward Lee, chief economist for South and Southeast Asia at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, who has penciled in 1% growth for 2019. “Retraining, ongoing structural reforms on the labor side — those are the right things.”

By

— With assistance by Cynthia Li

Trump is the biggest threat


Not much help: Despite his use of
tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US firms, the very
industries Trump has tried to help have become the weakest links in the
otherwise solid economy.

WASHINGTON: At rallies and whistle-stop campaign tours, President Donald Trump proclaims a renaissance in US factories rebuilding the nation with “American steel”, “American heart” and “American hands”.

But in reality, despite his relentless use of punitive tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US companies, the very industries he has tried to help have become the weakest links in the otherwise solid economy.

With just over a year to go before he faces re-election, Trump takes credit for the most vigorous economy in the industrialised world, with the expansion entering its 11th year and historically low unemployment.

But while services and office jobs dominate the US economy, Trump continues to promote the factory and mining jobs that were the lifeblood of the economy in the last century.

“American steel mills are roaring back to life,” he declared last month in Florida – the same day US Steel announced it would idle plants in Michigan and Indiana until “market conditions improve”.

And to West Virginians he said, “The coal industry is back.”

But in fact each of the sectors Trump has championed – coal mining, steel, aluminium and auto manufacturing – have been buffeted by a combination of market forces and changing technologies – factors beyond his control – or damaged by the very things he did to protect them, economists and analysts say.

Last month, a national survey of manufacturing activity hit its lowest level in nearly three years – narrowly avoiding slipping into contraction – while regional surveys have also seen record declines.

In March, the number of workers in US manufacturing shrank for the first time in nearly two years and it is now growing more slowly than the rest of the American workforce.

Trump has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions in imports, renegotiated trade agreements and dangled the threat of worse over China and Europe and Mexico – all while publicly browbeating companies that close US factories or move production offshore.

But weak foreign demand, a strong US dollar and a decades-long evolution away from domestic manufacturing have progressively shrunk America’s industrial sector, said Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

Trump’s world trade war has not helped either.

“The policies that have been implemented in terms of protectionism have hurt the very sectors they were meant to protect. There’s no escaping that,” Daco said. – AFP/The Star

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China can effectively sanction US companies who sell weapons to Taiwan: experts

The US is deploying a double standard by calling China’s proposed sanctions on US companies for arms sales to Taiwan a “foolish action,” Chinese mainland analysts said on Sunday, pointing out that the sanctions could not only cut base material supply to these companies including rare earths but also block their non-military products from entering Chinese markets.

 

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American China Experts open letter against Trump’s China policy; Hong Kong attacks a political act


‘China is Not an Enemy’ Says Open Letter Signed by 100 American China Experts to Trump

 

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: VCG
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: VCG

Experts tell Trump that China is not the enemy, so who is?

A hundred American academics, diplomats and experts from the military and business communities signed an open letter calling on President Donald Trump to reexamine his policy toward China. The letter was published Wednesday in the Washington Post.

In the letter, titled “China is Not an Enemy,” the signatories express concern over the negative orientation of the Trump administration’s China policy.

“We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere,” the experts say in the letter.

The five authors are M. Taylor Fravel, a professor at MIT; J. Stapleton Roy, a former U.S. ambassador to China; Michael D. Swaine of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Susan A. Thornton, the former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Ezra Vogel, a professor at the Harvard University Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.

The deterioration of the bilateral relationship is not in the interests of the U.S. or the rest of the world, and Trump’s attempt to “decouple China from the global economy” will damage the U.S. global reputation, according to the letter.

“The United States cannot significantly slow China’s rise without damaging itself,” the authors write.

“The fear that Beijing will replace the United States as the global leader is exaggerated,” the letter says. “Most other countries have no interest in such an outcome, and it is not clear that Beijing itself sees this goal as necessary or feasible.”

The key message of the letter is that the U.S. should not make China its enemy, especially in a rash manner, said Li Cheng, director of the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, who signed the letter.

Signatories are representative as they hold different views toward China — some are pro-China and others are more critical, Li said. But they all disagree with the Trump administration’s China policy, Li said.

“I won’t say we are the majority,” Li said. “Maybe we are the minority that can’t change some people’s extreme views, but among those who reexamine the U.S. policy on China, many have started reconsideration.” Additional scholars have endorsed the letter after its publication online, he said.

A better policy orientation for the U.S. would focus on building long-term alliances that support economic and security objectives based on a realistic assessment of China’s ideology, interests, goals and actions, the experts write.

“We believe that the large number of signers of this open letter clearly indicates that there is no single Washington consensus endorsing an overall adversarial stance toward China, as some believe exists,” the letter concludes.

Views toward China vary significantly among different social groups in the U.S. and also inside the government, Li said.

“There is a need for different voices to let China know that there is no consensus on America’s China policy, and there won’t be one for a long time,” Li said.

Most of the signers are older experts who don’t represent the views of younger Americans, some observers said. Although the open letter originally targeted senior scholars with strong academic backgrounds, Li said it’s inappropriate to argue that younger scholars view China in a more adversarial way. A public poll showed that Americans under 29 are actually friendlier toward China, Li said.

Older scholars and officials have a better understanding of China after witnessing the country’s changes over recent decades, but members of younger generations will also know China better as time goes by, Li said.

“A proper discussion of China policy is very important, and it shouldn’t be limited inside the government,” Li said. Although it is unclear whether the letter will influence policy, he said it sends a strong message that “the views toward China between the U.S. government and scholars are different.”

Since last year, the two countries have been locked in a trade war, slapping tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed last week at a G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, to resume trade talks. The U.S. also agreed not to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports.

This story was updated with Li’s comments.

By Qing Ying, Ren Qiuyu and Han Wei

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (qiuyuren@caixin.com); Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

 

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Trump urged to  take ‘wiser’  approach with  Beijing in open letter from China
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Letter to exert positive impact but unlikely to be taken seriously by White House: experts

An open letter to US President Donald Trump signed by scores of Asia specialists including former US diplomats and military officers has revealed that rational voices are emerging to challenge paranoid ideas, Chinese experts noted on Thursday.

China insists all trade war tariffs must be eliminated as part of a trade deal

‘Hong Kong attacks a political act’ – Asean+ | The Star Online

During an interview Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt still refused to directly criticize the violent protesters who stormed and vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Instead, he superficially stated that the UK condemns “all violence” and warned China again. He did not elaborate on the “serious consequences” that he previously warned China that it may face, but said the UK is “keeping options open” over China.

Almost all analyses believe Hunt is putting on an air. Nobody believes the UK will send its only aircraft carrier to China’s coast. Nor would anyone believe the UK will punish Beijing at the cost of hurting trade with China. The UK has been dwarfed by China in military and trade. Hunt’s inappropriate statements make many British people nervous: Will Beijing cancel an order from the UK to warn British politicians?

If China-UK relations deteriorate, will expelling Chinese diplomats become a card for London? This was the way that the Theresa May government used to deal with Moscow when a former Russian spy was poisoned in the UK. BBC reporters asked Hunt about the possibility for expelling diplomats. But it seems more like these BBC reporters, who bully politicians for pleasure, were using the unreliable option to make things difficult for Hunt.

Launching a diplomatic war against China leads to nowhere. European countries will not stand by London on the Hong Kong issue. By worsening diplomatic relations with China, the UK will only isolate itself.

What’s important is that Beijing has done nothing wrong on the Hong Kong issue. It is obvious to all that China persists in the “one country, two systems” policy, and Hong Kong’s system is different from the mainland’s. The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, proposed by Hong Kong regional government, was a small cause of the unrest. It was politicized and magnified by opposition factions. The situation escalated according to the logic under Hong Kong’s system, not that of the mainland. But such storming and vandalizing is not acceptable under Hong Kong’s system or any system worldwide.

Instead of blaming violent protesters, Hunt directed his ire against Beijing, which is based on his selfish interests to win the election. Hunt wants to defeat Boris Johnson. In charge of diplomacy, Hunt believes the Hong Kong issue is a chance that dropped into his and the UK’s lap. But this is not the 19th century when the Opium War broke out. The UK has gone past its prime.

Hunt knew that Beijing would sniff at his threat of “serious consequences.” But he still said it because he needed to play in front of voters. This is political fraud. Hunt obviously believes that the British people can be manipulated like a flock of sheep.

But Hunt’s stunt has no good effect. Many British people are more worried whether Hunt’s words would lead to “serious consequences” from China. Purpose and ability should match in diplomatic strategy, but Hunt is obviously outwardly strong and inwardly weak. Even the British people think his performance is amusing.

In a few short years, one minute the UK calls its relations with China the “Golden Era,” and the next minute it warns China of “serious consequences.” Although these statements are from different administrations and politicians, the UK still shows inconsistency in policy. The country also swung from side to side on Brexit. The UK’s politics have become politicians’ coffers and plots. They are undermining the UK’s image.

Under such circumstances, we should not be too serious when dealing with the UK. Regardless of whether it shows a friendly or an opportunistic gesture, we should remind ourselves this will not be its first or last attitude toward China, and by saying that we mean it will be in a relatively short time, to be specific. – Global Times

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American anti-China Hawks ignited the trade war, are Trump’s advisors


Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US President-elect Donald Trump appointed Peter Navarro, a strident critic of China, as head of the new National Trade Council on Wednesday. Most of the Trump’s views in his accusation against China during and after the election are influenced by Navarro. Moreover, Trump’s special adviser Carl Icahn and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also take a hard line on the trade with China. The possibility of a potential trade war between China and the US after Trump takes office has come under heated discussion.

Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert

 

Peter Navarro doesn’t speak Chinese, and has scant in-country experience. Should that matter?

University of California at Irvine Economics Professor Peter Navarro, head of White House National Trade Council nominee for president-elect Donald Trump, arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. A top congressional ally to Trump said Thursday that Republicans will repeal Obamacare, including some funding provisions, quickly while a replacement plan is due in “six to eight months.” Photographer: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/13/peter-navarro-profile-national-trade-council-donald-trump-china-expert

The issue needs to be considered in the backdrop of a major adjustment of the US policies toward China. At present, there is a glaring contrast between the economic prosperity and political stability in China and the economic downturn and political division in the US, which stings the US policy elites who are steadfast defenders of the US hegemony and its role as the world leader. Those elites tend to believe that the increasingly powerful China has not made the changes approved by the US and is trying to upend the international order shaped by the US.

Thus, it has now gradually become an expectation for the incoming US government to discard the long-standing engagement policy and adopt tougher or more confrontational policies toward China instead.

Against this backdrop, the trade topics closely associated with employment and welfare have become more sensitive but quite effective tools for the China hawks to create an unfriendly public opinion against China. The China-US trade disputes are no longer simply economic topics, but have strong political and strategic implications.

The manufacturing industry is not only the foundation for the US economic recovery, but also the key to solving the unemployment problem and guaranteeing social stability. The imbalance of China-US economic and trade relationship is considered by economists represented by Navarro as the critical reason for the weakening US manufacturing industry. They believe that the current close trade ties have boosted China’s rapid development, whereas the hundreds of billions of dollars of US trade deficit with China has led to the current economic woes in the US. They also blame the US manufacturing companies that moved their factories to China for the high domestic unemployment rate.

In other words, the field of trade, which has long been regarded as mutually beneficial, is now considered by advisers of the incoming US government to be detrimental to their country’s interests. The US maintains that a major trade policy adjustment needs to be urgently pushed forward to give China a head-on blow.

Although bilateral trade generally works by following WTO rules, the US policy elites, represented by Navarro, maintain that their country’s serious inherent economic problems are caused by both China, which fails to address bilateral trade problems impartially, and the US government, which neglects the American public’s demands. They keep overstating China’s negative role to the American public, and thus have made full preparation for a big policy change toward China in the coming years.

Given the current policymaking atmosphere in the US as well as Trump’s picks of advisers, the US has a strong desire to make a major confrontational policy adjustment in its trade with China in the future. However, it still remains uncertain if the adjustment will directly lead to a trade war.

The high interdependence of bilateral trade indicates that any form of trade war provoked by the US will ultimately hurt itself. It is probably difficult for the Trump team to figure out how much self-damage their country is able to withstand.

During the election campaign, Trump denounced the greediness of Wall Street magnates and promised to create new jobs, but, ironically, the officials he appointed after winning the election mostly came from the Wall Street.

China’s economic power is no longer as it was before, and its defining power over bilateral relations in trade and all the other aspects is stronger than ever. It is impossible for China to sit back and let the US destroy the mutually beneficial situation in trade. Instead, China will firmly push forward the future bilateral ties under the concept of building a new type of major power relationship.

In contrast to the uncertain US trade policies toward China, China’s policies toward the US are clear and concise: get rid of any barriers and push forward bilateral relations in a stable and mutually beneficial direction. The evolution of China-US relationship has always been a process of moving forward and addressing various conflicts along the way. It is hoped “the China-US trade war” will only be a verbal clash, instead of a clash in real action.

By Li Haidong Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/25 13:43:39

The author is a professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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US anti-China hawks may yet scupper trade deal  

Right after the G20 summit in Japan, US Senator Marco Rubio made the headlines again by calling for legislation to continue the ban on Huawei, even after US President Donald Trump said he would lift some of the restrictions on US companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

Image result for US Senator Marco Rubio an Anti-China Hawk imagesSenator Rubio Prepares To Blast China …
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Rubio is a salient representative of the US political extreme. Some US politicians appear to take advantage of the split in US society and are using their extreme political views to gain more voters as well as please different political groups. This actually reflects the increasingly prominent malfunction of US politics.
It is an important reason why China is concerned that the US-launched trade war against China will not end in the short term.

We believe there are rational people who know China well at the US government’s decision-making level. Even so, lawmakers like Rubio have gone too far. They are not messing with China but rather wearing down the credibility of US politics.

The US political system is becoming increasingly flawed. Many politicians deliberately act up to firmly oppose anything that would benefit China for the sake of being anti-China. That the political landscape is becoming extreme in the US is providing these politicians with the opportunity to play to their base if they show an open anti-China stance.

Rubio is one such politician. He paints himself as being hostile to China to draw attention. Despite the fact that the trade war and the Huawei ban are harming the interests of the US, Rubio insists on this excessively tough stance toward China because that could spark controversies which could end up favoring him.

This is what Rubio, an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, needs to fulfill his political ambitions. Such narrow-minded thinking has de facto escalated the US-launched trade war against China.

Rubio doesn’t understand China and probably barely knows China’s history. But taking advantage of being anti-China, he can create hot debates and make headlines, and thus gain more assets for his political career.

Even though people who don’t know much about the world’s second-largest economy can be a senator in the US, it is a joke that someone like Rubio can pretend to be a China hand and comment on China’s policies. This is one of the key reasons for the ratcheted-up tensions between China and the US.

The fundamental split in the US political system provides openings for hawkish politicians who have long been hostile toward China. The US is now in the throes of the 2020 presidential campaign, when candidates vie with each other to make outrageous remarks to appeal to their supporters.

This marked increase in radicals in US politics makes it much more difficult for the US government to function normally and for Republicans and Democrats to reach compromises, especially on major issues.

Even though there are signs of China-US trade frictions turning around, as the US political system will not fundamentally change in the short term, China must remain vigilant and prepare for a long-term trade war, in case the hawks gain the upper hand.

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/30 19:53:39

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Recession fears hit Asian region including Singapore


Malaysia may, to a certain extent, be less vulnerable with the revival of major construction projects which in view of the country’s strained finances, have been shrunk to cut costs. The Singapore economy may undergo a “shallow, technical recession” in the third quarter.

TALK of recession has hit the region, and near home, Maybank Kim Eng Research is flagging that possibility for Singapore in the next quarter.

Export-reliant economies are hard hit by slowing growth and supply chain disruptions caused by the prolonged US-China trade and tech war.

There may be a ceasefire now in the fight between the US and China following talks between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Osaka last Saturday.

Existing US tariffs on Chinese imports still remain; additional tariffs on the remaining US$300 bil worth of Chinese imports, as threatened, will not be imposed for now

However, the new timeline for truce remains elusive; the suspicion is that of a “creeping” imposition of tariffs, as “each truce is followed by new tariffs and then, another truce.”

In December last year, Trump and Xi had struck a truce following which talks broke down in May this year, and tariffs on US$200bil of Chinese imports leaped from 10% to 25%.

Will there be light out of this tunnel, with harder issues involving tech and supremacy not tackled? Smaller economies with the fiscal and monetary space may be able to cushion their economies somewhat from the downdraft on growth.

Malaysia may, to a certain extent, be less vulnerable with the revival of major construction projects which in view of the country’s strained finances, have been shrunk to cut costs.

The Bandar Malaysia and East Coast Rail Link projects to be revived, are now downsized to RM144bil and RM44bil respectively.

Works for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 3, from Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya to Johan Setia in Klang, will resume in the second half of the year, at a reduced cost of RM16.63bil.

Talks are said to be ongoing to revive the Mass Rapid Transit Line (MRT) 3, or MRT Circle Line round the city centre, at possibly RM22.5bil which is half the original cost.

“The timing (of the revival of these projects) has been very good for Malaysia,’’ said Pong Teng Siew, the head of research at Inter-Pacific Securities. “These projects will go on for several years and positively impact the economy over that period.’’

Domestic spending and activities will provide ‘some comfort’ to the local economy but we should ensure that any further monetary easing actually goes into the real economy to support these activities, according to Anthony Dass, head of AmBank Research.

Malaysia’s private consumption was at a record 59.5% of its nominal (calculated at current market prices) Gross Domestic Product, which hit US$88.5 bil in March, 2019, according to CEIC Data.

Benefits from trade diversion from China, the current US tariff hotspot, are offset by downward pressure on global trade where volume was flat in the first quarter, the weakest since the financial crisis.

Global semiconductor sales also declined in February and March, the first back-to-back double digit contraction since the financial crisis.

In view of this decline, the volatile global trade environment and rising geopolitical tensions, open economies “should be prepared for the unexpected,’’ said Nor Zahidi Alias, the associate director of economic research of Malaysian Rating Corp.

The Singapore economy may undergo a “shallow, technical recession” in the third quarter, said Maybank Kim Eng, pointing to possible intensification of supply chain disruptions and US export controls on more Chinese tech firms.

Following the Trump-Xi talks, the US has reversed its equipment sales ban on Huawei but will that ease fears of other similar bans down the road? Defined as two consecutive quarters of negative quarter-on-quarter growth, a recession will prompt further easing of monetary policy in Singapore.

Manufacturing in Singapore, which accounts for a fifth of the economy, fell 2.4%, with electronics dropping 10.8% in May from a year ago; output is expected to decline again in June.

Hong Kong has also been issued warnings of recession, as its economy experienced the largest contraction since 2011, declining by 0.4% in the first quarter against the previous quarter.

Thailand’s economy grew at its slowest pace in four years, in the first quarter, hitting 2.8% from 3.6% in the same period last year; exports remain weak.

Taiwan’s economy avoided contraction in the first quarter but private consumption and gross capital formation slowed significantly while government consumption declined.

In the US, a mis-calibration in interest rate policy by the Federal Reserve can cause a sharper slowdown than expected or bring on a recession.“Monetary policy affects the economy with unpredictable lags, it could be hard for the Fed to time its policy (rate cut) that can prevent a downturn this and next year,’’ said Lee Heng Guie, the executive director of Socio Economic Research Center.

Columnist Yap Leng Kuen notes the reminder to ‘expect the unexpected.’

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US anti-China hawks may yet scupper trade deal

Even though there are signs of China-US trade frictions turning around, as the US political system will not fundamentally change in the short term, China must remain vigilant and prepare for a long-term trade war, in case the hawks gain the upper hand.

 

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