Trump vs. World

June 10, 2018
Trump’s ‘Bully’ Attack on Trudeau Outrages Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada at a news conference at the G-7 summit meeting in the province of Quebec on Saturday.CreditChristinne Muschi/Reuters

MONTREAL — Canadians have had enough.

It takes a lot to rile people in this decidedly courteous nation. But after President Trump’s parting shots against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the day he left the Group of 7 summit meeting in Quebec, the country reacted with uncharacteristic outrage and defiance at a best friend’s nastiness.

“It was extremely undiplomatic and antagonistic,” Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, wrote in an email. “It was disrespectful and ill informed.”

“All Canadians will support the prime minister in standing up to this bully,” he added. “Friends do not treat friends with such contempt.”

Even Mr. Trudeau’s political foes rose to his defense.

“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister and the people of Canada,” Doug Ford, the Trump-like renegade who was recently elected premier of Ontario, wrote on Twitter.

Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister whom Mr. Trudeau beat to become prime minister, told Fox News on Sunday that Mr. Trump had made a mistake targeting trade relations with Canada.

“I can understand why President Trump, why the American people feel they need some better trade relationships,” he said. But, he added, “this is the wrong target.”

The ink had barely dried on the communiqué after the G-7 summit meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec, when President Trump berated Mr. Trudeau on Twitter from Air Force One, accusing him of being “very dishonest and weak” and of making up “false statements.”

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Mr. Trump wrote.

As Canadians were recovering from the sting of those remarks, Mr. Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow piled on, saying on television that Mr. Trudeau had “stabbed us in the back,” betrayed Mr. Trump and made him look weak before his summit meeting on Tuesday with North Korea’s leader.

And Peter Navarro, the president’s top trade adviser, suggested on Fox News Sunday that “there’s a special place in hell” for Mr. Trudeau.

Mr. Trump’s ire appears to have been spurred after Mr. Trudeau said Canada would retaliate against United States tariffs on steel and aluminum products, calling them “kind of insulting” and saying that Canadians “are nice” but “we will not be pushed around.”

These were strong words from the telegenic, soft-spoken leader, who has spent the two-day summit trying to strike a precarious balance between being Canada’s protector-in-chief but not inciting the mercurial American president. But Canadian officials said they were perplexed by Mr. Trump’s reaction since nothing Mr. Trudeau said was new.

From Singapore, where he is scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea for a historic summit, Mr. Trump again took to Twitter on Monday to assail Mr. Trudeau.

“Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!),” Mr. Trump wrote. “Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out!”

Mr. Trump is not exactly popular in Canada. And the Twitter tirade threatened to inflame already boiling resentment of the president, whose anti-immigrant stances and skepticism of climate change have infuriated many in a country that prides itself on its openness and social responsibility.

Pew Research survey published last year found that Canadian antagonism toward Mr. Trump had helped reduce Canadians’ opinions of the United States to a low not seen in more than three decades, with only 43 percent of Canadians holding a favorable view of the country.

Canadians across the political spectrum said that while the world had grown used to Mr. Trump’s social media rants, the ferocity and personal tone of the insults against Mr. Trudeau had crossed a line. Some even asked whether Canadians should boycott United States products and stop traveling south of the border.

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, told reporters that Canadians should be insulted by Mr. Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, imposed because, the president said, Canada poses a national security threat to the United States.

“The national security pretext is absurd and frankly insulting to Canadians, the closest and strongest ally the United States has had,” Ms. Freeland said.

As to the biting comments made by Mr. Kudlow, she responded, “Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations with other countries.”

She added, “We particularly refrain from ad hominem attacks when it comes to our allies.”

Ms. Freeland said she planned to continue negotiating with the Americans over trade. “We are always prepared to talk,” she said. “That’s the Canadian way: always ready to talk and always absolutely clear about standing up for Canada.”

But for now, calling the American tariffs illegal and unjustified, she reiterated Canada’s intention to impose retaliatory tariffs, starting July 1, “which is Canada Day,” she noted. “Perhaps not inappropriate.”

For Mr. Trudeau, the G-7 summit meeting has been an important test of his leadership, at home and on the global stage. On Sunday, he continued his schedule, meeting with world leaders and trying to rise above the Twitter insults from his neighbor.

He wrote on Twitter on Sunday that the agreement at Charlevoix would, among other things, strengthen “our economies,” and protect women and the environment. “That’s what matters.”

Canadian fury at Trump notwithstanding, analysts said it was difficult to overstate the damage that bad relations with him could cause to the Canadian economy. Canada relies on the United States as its only neighbor, its military ally and its largest trading partner.

About 1.9 million Canadian jobs are tied directly to trade with the United States, which absorbs almost three-quarters of Canada’s exports.

“Any Canadian prime minister, no matter what the American president does or says, has to deal with the president of the United States,” said Janice Stein, founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

Nevertheless, some analysts said Mr. Trump’s attack could work to politically embolden Mr. Trudeau, a Liberal, whose popularity has been waning here after a series of missteps and the rise of populism, including Mr. Ford’s recent election as the premier of Ontario.

John J. Kirton, director of the G-7 Research Group at the University of Toronto, a network of people who study the gatherings, said Mr. Trudeau, who faces an election next year, needed to appeal to rural voters in Ontario and Quebec and show he was protecting Canada’s heartland in the face of Mr. Trump’s protectionism.

“Every Canadian prime minister has to be seen to protect the dairy sector,” Mr. Kirton said. Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked Canada’s tariffs on dairy imports.

Mr. Trudeau has been philosophical about the limits of Canada’s ability to placate Mr. Trump.

“If the expectation was that a weekend in beautiful Charlevoix, surrounded by all sorts of lovely people, was going to transform the president’s outlook on trade and the world,” he said in his final news conference at the summit meeting before the tweet storm, “then we didn’t quite perhaps meet that bar.”    Source


June 6, 2018
CNN: Trump joked about Canada burning White House in War of 1812 in call with Trudeau

President Trump blamed Canada for the burning of the White House in the War of 1812 during a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the administration’s tariffs in Canadian steel and aluminum imports, CNN reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the cable news network reported that Trudeau asked Trump how he could cite national security as a justification for the tariffs, during a “testy” May 25 phone call.

“Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Trump reportedly retorted.

When asked if Trudeau took it as a joke, CNN’s source said, “To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke. The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

The president was evidently referring to the Aug. 24, 1814, burning of Washington by British troops. After defeating American troops in Bladensburg, Md., British soldiers invaded the city in the only occupation of Washington in American history. The soldiers burned several federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and White House (then referred to as the Presidential Mansion).

The attack was in response to an American assault on York, Ontario, but Canada did not yet exist as an independent country and was still a colony in the British Empire during the War of 1812. So, the troops who burned Washington were British, not Canadian.

“His statement was completely inaccurate,” said Maj. Tanya Grodzinski, an associate history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.

“This was exclusively a British operation,” Grodzinski said of the occupation of Washington. “There were no Canadian troops involved whatsoever.”

Grodzinski said she reacted to the CNN report with disbelief.

“To claim that some incident from 200 years ago is the rationale behind the tariffs is completely unjustified, and it makes me question the basis of his policy and if there’s any thought to it whatsoever,” Grodzinski said.

More: Tariff winners and losers: How Trump’s trade spat could affect shoppers

More: UAW President Dennis Williams praises Trump’s tariff approach on vehicles

Trudeau called it “inconceivable” that national security concerns could be a legitimate reason to impose the tariffs during a press conference last week and said it was “an affront” to Canada, whose soldiers have fought and died alongside Americans in several international conflicts.

In response to the Trump administration’s 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum, Trudeau intends to hit the U.S. with his own 25% steel tariff as well as a 10% tariff on consumer goods from the U.S.

More: Top economic aide Larry Kudlow: ‘Don’t blame Trump’ for trade tensions

More: Trump faces isolation at upcoming G-7 meeting of world leaders in Canada

May 24, 2018
World leaders infuriated over Trump decision to scrap North Korea summit

The Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in
The Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. Photo: Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

Trump had reportedly ordered the White House to release the Kim letter without consulting global allies in order to avoid potential leaks, per the Wall Street Journal, as Trump’s leak-ridden communications team has been the subject of scrutiny and headlines in recent weeks.

The big picture: President Trump’s decision to cancel the widely anticipated June 12 summit with North Korea Kim Jong-un has triggered backlash and outrage among international leaders who are bracing to see what’s next between Trump and Kim. This was billed as a historic summit but now, the Washington–Pyongyang standoff is prompting both sides to get back to basics.

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What they’re saying:

  • South Korea: President Moon Jae-in said at an emergency meeting with his top security officials: “Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed… I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the…summit” won’t go ahead as planned.
  • The United Nations secretary-general: António Guterres via Twitter: “Deeply concerned by cancellation of meeting between President of the US and leader of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.) I urge the parties to continue dialogue to find a path towards the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
  • British Prime Minister: Theresa May, per L.A Times: “We are disappointed… We need to see an agreement that can bring about the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin per the APKim “did everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts” of the country’s nuclear testing site. “After which, we heard about cancellation of the summit by the United States.
    • He added: “In Russia, we took this news with regret, because we had very much counted on it being a significant step in sorting out the situation on the Korean peninsula and that it would be the beginning of the process of denuclearizing the whole Korean Peninsula.”

May 25, 2018
North Korea says it’s still willing to meet Trump after US President cancels summit

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korea says Kim Jong Un is still willing to meet Donald Trump “at any time,” despite the US President’s abrupt cancellation of what would have been a historic summit between the two leaders, scheduled for June 12.

Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said Trump’s decision to cancel the talks runs counter to the global community’s wishes for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“We would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit with the US side to solve problem(s) regardless of ways at any time,” said Kim in comments published by the country’s state-run news agency KCNA Friday.
Kim said Trump’s decision is “not consistent with the desire of humankind for peace and stability in the world, to say nothing of those in the Korean Peninsula.”
donald trump kim jong un market north korea meeting
President Trump canceled the summit Thursday in a letter addressed to Kim Jong Un, citing recent hostile comments from top North Korean officials and concern over Pyongyang’s commitment to giving up its nuclear weapons. Trump said it would be “inappropriate” to have the summit given his worries.
The final straw, US officials said, was a statement Thursday from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry calling US Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” and hinting that Pyongyang was ready for a “nuclear showdown” should diplomacy fail.
Trump’s administration claimed there had been hiccups behind the scenes. In a background briefing a senior White House official said the North Koreans had failed to turn up to a meeting with a White House official in Singapore to talk planning and logistics. “The North Koreans didn’t tell us anything. They simply stood us up,” the official said.
But despite President Trump’s abrupt cancellation, he appeared to leave the door open for talks to resume at some point, telling reporters Thursday that “if and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.”

Next steps

With the summit now off, US allies and other stakeholders in the region were left scrambling to figure out their next steps.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who acted as a middleman between Trump and Kim, called an emergency meeting in the middle of the night after the White House went public with the cancellation.
Moon’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo early Friday about President Trump’s sudden decision and the next steps for Washington and Seoul, two longtime allies. According to a South Korean statement, they said both sides should “devote effort to save the dialogue opportunity.”
The US’ other key partner in the region, Japan, was always more skeptical about what could be achieved at the summit. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is among the more hawkish leaders in Asia when it comes to North Korea. His chief spokesman said Friday that the US and its allies must continue the campaign to isolate North Korea diplomatically and pressure it using economic sanctions.
China has always been key to that strategy, as it accounts for nearly 90% of North Korea’s imports, at least on the record.
Beijing hasn’t responded to Trump’s decision to cancel the summit, but some experts say that China may be less willing to enforce tough sanctions if it believes that Washington isn’t committed to pursuing diplomacy alongside sanctions.

‘Bold decision’

Analysts said North Korea’s response to Trump’s letter was fairly measured, especially when compared to Pyongyang’s usual bombastic rhetoric.
The two countries have traded insults in the past with Trump calling Kim “little rocket man” and a “sick puppy,” and North Korean state media referring to the US President as a “dotard.” But in recent months, as relations improved, they’ve moderated their language with respect to their leaders.
Even after the talks were canceled, North Korean foreign ministry official Kim Kye Gwan complimented the US President on his willingness to take a risk and meet with Kim Jong Un.
“We have inwardly highly appreciated President Trump for having made the bold decision, which any other US presidents dared not, and made efforts for such a crucial event as the summit,” Kim Kye Gwan said in Friday’s statement.
“We remain unchanged in our goal and will to do everything we could for peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and humankind, and we, broad-minded and open all the time, have the willingness to offer the US side time and opportunity.”

Nuclear sites ‘destroyed’

Hours before Trump canceled the summit, Pyongyang held a ceremonial dismantlement of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site which it has billed as an example of its “commitment to building a nuclear free peaceful world,” as one North Korean official at the site put it.
Kim Jong Un announced last month that the site would be shuttered, as it has served its purpose and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was advanced enough that it no longer needed to set off nukes undergorund.
International journalists, including a crew from CNN, watched as a series of explosions appeared to destroy three of four tunnels at the site — the North Koreans said the fourth tunnel, used for the country’s first nuclear test in 2006, had already been destroyed.
Though there were no nuclear or nonproliferation experts on the trip to verify if the site was actually rendered unusable — something the White House said that North Koreans promised them — the decision to invite foreigners to watch North Korea blow up the tunnels at one of the country’s most secretive sites holds symbolic importance.
The CNN team spent about nine hours at the site, during which they were briefed by the deputy director of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute — who declined to give his name to the visiting journalists — and allowed to inspect the tunnels.
“The dismantling of the nuclear test ground conducted with high level of transparency has clearly attested once again to the proactive and peace-loving efforts of the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” the official from North Korea’s nuclear weapons institute said.

High hopes

Both sides had high hopes for what would have been a historic summit between the two leaders after Trump unexpectedly accepted an offer from Kim for face-to-face talks in early March.
It would have been the first encounter between a sitting US President and North Korean leader but plans began to unravel after North Korea objected to joint US-South Korean military drills and comments from senior members of the Trump administration.
After a successful summit between Moon and Kim, a pledge from the young North Korean leader to shutter his nuclear test site and refrain from launching missiles, and the decision to free three Americans held in North Korea, things seemed to be proceeding well until Pyongyang’s shift in tone last week.
But some analysts believe that Pyongyang’s recent provocative language wasn’t meant to push Washington to cancel the meeting, but rather to voice their displeasure after Vice President Pence and Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, brought up the case of Libya when discussing North Korea.
Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to give up his nuclear weapons but less than a decade later was ousted from power and killed with the help of NATO-backed forces.
Trump and Kim Jong Un's ups and downs
Trump and Kim Jong Un’s ups and downs 02:38
North Korea has long cited Libya as an example to show why it needs nuclear weapons to deter the United States.
“They were trying to signal to Washington that they were very displeased about all this talk about Libya, which is obviously a nightmare scenario for North Korea, said Sue Mi Terry, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former CIA analyst.
“I think that message didn’t come across to Washington … the North Koreans were trying to send a signal and something was lost in translation.”   Source


May 15, 2018
US blocks United Nations call for independent probe into Gaza deaths

  • The United States blocked a United Nations (UN) Security Council statement drafted Monday that called for an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 58 Palestinians along the Israeli-Gaza border.
  • Monday represented the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014.
  • The unrest coincided with the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, a Trump administration directive widely condemned by the international community.

A Palestinian man uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem.

Said Khatib | AFP | Getty Images
A Palestinian man uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem.

The United States blocked a United Nations (UN) Security Council statement drafted Monday that called for an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 58 Palestinians along the Israeli-Gaza border.

Monday’s violence followed several weeks of mass protests in the Israeli-blockaded territory of Gaza, which is governed by militant Islamist group Hamas. The unrest coincided with the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, a Donald Trump administration directive widely condemned by the international community.

“The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest,” a draft of the statement read, which was seen and reported by AFP. “The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability.”

The U.S. has used its veto power 43 times against UN resolutions concerning Israel.

More than 2,400 people were reported injured as Israeli Defense Forces fired live bullets into crowds of protesters, the majority of whom were unarmed. At least eight children under the age of 16 were killed, according to Palestine’s envoy to the UN.

The draft statement also referred to the protests as “peaceful,” a clear point of contention between opposing sides in the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called the killings an act of self-defense, blaming the violence on Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. The claim was echoed by the White House.

Smoke rises as Israeli soldiers are seen on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip, Israel.

Amir Cohen | Reuters
Smoke rises as Israeli soldiers are seen on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip, Israel.

“The Hamas terrorist organization declares it intends to destroy Israeland sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to act with determination to protect our sovereignty and citizens.” Since the 1990s, hundreds of Israelis have been killed in terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas.

Jerusalem embassy opening

Monday represented the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014, which was launched in response to Hamas rockets fired across the Israeli border. That conflict saw more than 10,000 Gazans and 70 Israelis killed.

Fighting erupts every few years in the poverty-stricken Gaza Strip, but clashes hit a multi-year high Monday as Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin inaugurated the new embassy in Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians see as their spiritual capital.

Trump in December broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and enraging Arab and Muslim communities around the world. Shortly after the announcement, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN resolution calling on the U.S. to reverse its move.

Broad international consensus does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, and leaves the status of Jerusalem to negotiations. Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and have been advocating for statehood — sometimes violently — for more than half a century.

Several European leaders on Monday expressed concern over the violence, reiterating their support for a “two-state solution.”

Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.

Ronen Zvulun | Reuters
Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.

Trump pledged the embassy move as part of his campaign, as well as pledging an ambitious plan for Middle East peace, for which Monday’s events don’t bode well.

But this seems to have been lost on the White House, whose spokesperson Raj Shah said: “The actions today, both the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem and these tragedies in southern Israel, we don’t think will impact the peace plan.” It was the first time a U.S. official referred to Gaza as “southern Israel.”

More than 40 Palestinians had already been killed during six weeks of “right to return” protests culminating on May 15, which for residents of the occupied territories marks the day they lost their land and homes during the establishment of the Israeli state.

Decades of conflict

Some 5 million Palestinian refugees remain eligible for services under the UN Relief Works Agency and qualify as “persons… who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” Some 1.5 million live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps across the Levant region, including in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian territory of Gaza was occupied by Israel following the Six-Day War of 1967, which saw the nascent state capture the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Syria’s Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai was eventually returned to Egypt in 1982. Though Israeli troops left Gaza in 2005, Israel still retains control of Gaza’s airspace and coastline, leading the UN to continue referring to it as an occupying power there. The annexations remain controversial, and have continued to affect regional geopolitics to this day.

Gaza’s 1.8 million residents live in the small 225 square-mile enclave, making it one of the most densely-populated territories on earth. Thirty-nine percent of the population lives below the poverty line, more than half lack access to reliable electricity, and unemployment stands at 42 percent, according to the UN.

Israeli forces kill dozens in Gaza - here's the latest

Israeli forces kill dozens in Gaza – here’s the latest  

May 10, 2018
The Hill
Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US protection

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Europe can no longer count on the United States to protect it, urging the continent to “take destiny into its own hands.”

“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands. That’s the task of the future,” she said during a speech honoring French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Agence France-Presse.

Her sharp comments came days after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, angering European allies who are parties to the 2015 pact.

Macron echoed Merkel, saying European nations should not allow “other major powers, including allies” to “put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy [and] security for us.”

Merkel, Macron and other European leaders visited the White House over the past few weeks to try to persuade Trump to remain in the agreement, to no avail.

Merkel and Macron released a joint statement with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday saying they will remain in the agreement aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility,” the leaders said in a statement.

The German leader made similar comments last spring after the U.S. president brought his “America First” message to a summit of NATO allies, accusing them of not spending enough on their own defense.

–Updated at 9:49 a.m.  Source

April 6, 2018
Trump wants to protect farmers from Chinese trade retaliation. That may create a bigger problem

  • President Donald Trump, in protecting U.S. farmers from tariffs by China, may end up inviting more economies into the trade spat, experts said Friday.
  • If Trump administration chooses to subsidize American farmers further, other agricultural exporters could retaliate with subsidies and tariffs of their own, the experts explained.
  • However the U.S. protects its farmers is unlikely to be effective because China can always impose counter-measures, said Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit.

President Donald Trump, wanting to protect U.S. farmers from China’sthreatened tariffs, may end up pitting his country against many more nations in a trade spat that has hit global markets and worried the international business community, experts said Friday.

If the Trump administration chooses to subsidize American farmers further, that could trigger retaliatory tariffs and subsidies in major exporters of agricultural products such as the European Union and Brazil, the experts added.

An additional agricultural subsidy from the U.S. “brings third parties into the dispute, who could be expected, at a minimum, to complain to the World Trade Organization,” said Simon Baptist, Asia managing director and chief economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“It is basically impossible for the U.S. to be confident that any actions it takes will protect its agricultural sector from Chinese tariffs, given the ways that other countries will respond to it.”-Simon Baptist, Asia managing director and chief economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit

Chad P. Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, sounded a similar warning. In a Twitter post, he said additional subsidies for American farmers would escalate trade tensions beyond the two largest economies in the world.

Farmers in Europe, CanadaAustralia, Brazil and Argentina who have been “suffering because of Trump subsidies” would demand retaliatory actions from their governments, Bown said.

Chad P. Bown


How THIS escalates beyond US-China
• Trump slaps tariffs on China
• China retaliates on US agriculture
• Trump subsidizes US agriculture to pay them off
• Farmers in EU, CAN, AUS, BRA, ARG, etc – now suffering because of Trump subsidies – demand retaliatory tariffs/subsidies

There have already been complaints about American agriculture on the world stage.

Chinese state-run media Global Times said in an editorial last month that subsidies from the U.S. government have given American soybean farmers an unfair competitive advantage in selling to China. Subsequently, Beijing on Wednesday announced tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including soybeans — the most valuable U.S. agricultural export to China.

In response, Trump on Thursday proposed an additional $100 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese products and asked the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture “to use his broad authority to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters after the president’s statement that it first needs to “see the reaction of what tariffs will be and what the reaction of markets are” in deciding on ways to shield farmers from the trade conflict.

Trump can’t really help US farmers after all

Whatever measures the USDA eventually comes up with, it’s unlikely that they would be effective because China can always impose counter-measures, experts said.

Such tit-for-tat could actually benefit other agricultural exporters because China may end up buying more from them instead of the U.S., Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, told CNBC in an email.

Soybeans are harvested near Princeton, Ill.

Soybean farmer: China is going against middle America  

“Chinese tariffs on U.S. agricultural products will likely result in significant trade diversion to other agricultural exporters, as Chinese buyers switch import orders for items such as beef, wine, fruits, soybeans and cereals to other nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the EU,” he said.

That would mean the U.S. loses market share in a major consumer, even if additional subsidies help its farmers stay competitive internationally, Baptist said.

“It is basically impossible for the U.S. to be confident that any actions it takes will protect its agricultural sector from Chinese tariffs, given the ways that other countries will respond to it,” he added.    Source

April 1, 2018
China targets US meat, fruit in retaliation against tariffs on Chinese goods

“We don’t want a trade war, but we are absolutely not afraid of it,” a senior Chinese spokesman said as US tariffs entered force in late March. Beijing’s retaliatory measures appear to make good on that promise.

China said it will start taxing $3 billion (€2.4 billion) of imports of US meat, fruit and other goods beginning Monday in response to US tariffs on Chinese goods.

The announcement follows weeks of Chinese threats to introduce the measures amid a deepening trade dispute between Beijing and Washington.

Read more: Vice Premier Liu He says China ready to ‘defend itself’ against US tariffs

What China is targeting:

  • China’s Customs Tariff Commission will target a total of 128 US goods.
  • It will increase the tariff rate on eight US imports, including pork, by 25 percent.
  • A new 15 percent tariff will be placed on 120 other US goods, including fruits.

Read more: Did Donald Trump really just launch a trade war with China?

Why this matters: Beijing’s move is the latest escalation in its trade dispute with Washington. US President Donald Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports beginning March 23 with temporary exemptions for some countries but none for China. The US has separately threatened to impose some $50 billion (€40.6 billion) in tariffson Chinese goods over alleged misuse of US intellectual property.

Swine’s significance: China is the world’s top consumer of pork. Beijing’s tariff on pork imports is likely to hurt the US pork industry, which has already been put under pressure recently by weaker demand from China. The US exported $1.1 billion in pork products to China in 2017.

China ‘not afraid’ of trade war: Analysts have warned that the US tariffs on foreign goods could spark a global trade war as other countries retaliate with their own tariffs. A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said in late March: “We don’t want a trade war, but we are absolutely not afraid of it.”

Read more: Asian markets jittery over trade war fears

amp/aw (AP, dpa, AFP)
Video & Source

March 22, 2018
Explore all $506 billion in goods that the US imported from China in 2017

US president Donald Trump apparently isn’t done implementing protectionist trade measures. This week, his administration is expected to announce $30 billion in new duties on the US’s largest trading partner, China.

Unlike the mostly tax-free treatment of the US’s next largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico, $207.9 billion worth of the $505.6 billion of goods that China sent to the US in 2017 was subject to some level of tariff. The US assessed $13.5 billion in tariffs on Chinese products last year, before collecting punitive measures such as anti-dumping taxes.

Quartz gathered import data from the US Census Bureau comprising 11,741 hierarchical product categories, the amount imported, and the tax assessed. Every product the US buys at least $1 million worth from China is shown below through the lens of the Harmonized System, the international standard for categorizing and taxing traded goods.

The data are plotted along two axes: how much money the US sends to China for those products, and what portion of all international purchases come from China. Policy makers consult both of these factors when determining which products or categories to levy duties upon.  Read more


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