Archive for the ‘imports’ Category

Trade Barriers Could Threaten Global Economy

March 18, 2009

At least 17 of the 20 major nations that vowed at a November summit to avoid protectionist steps that could spark a global trade war have violated that promise, with countries from Russia to the United States to China enacting measures aimed at limiting the flow of imported goods, according to a World Bank report unveiled yesterday. 

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer

The report underscores a “worrying” trend toward protectionism as countries rush to shield their ailing domestic industries during the global economic crisis. It comes one day after Mexico vowed to slap new restrictions on 90 U.S. products. That action is being taken in retaliation against Washington for canceling a program that allowed Mexican truck drivers the right to transport goods across the United States, illustrating the tit-for-tat responses that experts fear could grow in coming months.

The report comes ahead of an April 2 summit in London in which the heads of state from those 20 industrialized and developing economies will seek to shape a coordinated response to the economic crisis. Their inability to keep their November promises is another indication of how difficult it will be to implement any agreement reached next month on a global scale.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/03/17/AR200
9031703218.html?hpid=topnews

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China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

January 30, 2009

China is starting to dictate rules to President Obama and the the United States.  We’ve written here before that China owns America and will probably own more soon.  Just as President Obama decided it was appropriate to criticize Wall Street bonuses (after all, those banks are getting bailout money) China is now saying they need the U.S. to follow some rules in order to keep our debt financing afloat…You take a guy’s money and he owns you or he breaks your legs…

Related:
Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

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By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

China recently surpassed Japan as the U.S. government’s largest creditor. Any decision by Beijing to move its money would deal a dizzying new blow to an already tottering American economy. Yet relations between China and the new Obama administration are off to a rocky start.

For now, Beijing continues to loan Washington money by buying Treasurys and other U.S. government securities, helping to finance the ever-growing U.S. budget deficit. But there are signs its leaders may be considering trimming these holdings as that country experiences its own economic slowdown. Strains between the two economic powerhouses seem to be growing with the change in administrations.

The latest irritants are a “buy American” provision attached to White House-backed stimulus legislation moving through Congress and criticism of China’s currency policies by Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Geithner accused Beijing of “manipulating” its currency during his Senate confirmation process.

An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall street. ...

Biden, interviewed Thursday by CNBC, said that the Obama administration would “say to China — which occasionally the last administration was reluctant to do — ‘You’re a major player on the world scene economically, and you’ve got to play by the rules that everybody else plays by.'”

Their comments followed a move by Chinese censors to silence part of a live broadcast of Obama’s inaugural address when he spoke of the U.S. struggle against communism.

And at an economic forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao blamed China’s economic woes on U.S.-led Western financial institutions, suggesting “a lack of self-discipline” and “blind pursuit of profit.”

The pointed words from Geithner and Biden were widely seen as an escalation of old complaints that China artificially depresses the value of its currency to bolster its exports, even though the White House has sought to play down such comments and has denied increasing friction with China.

China has allowed the value of its currency to rise by 21 percent over the past two years. But American manufacturers complain the Chinese yuan is still significantly undervalued, making Chinese goods cheaper for U.S. consumers and American products more expensive in China.

Related:
China May Have Mafia View of Obama Stimulus: “Someday We Break Your Legs”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090130/a
p_on_go_pr_wh/us_china_strains_analysis_2

Related:
 Russia Wants Something From Obama: Carrot and Stick Diplomacy

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Obama Slams Wall Street For Bonuses

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama furiously slammed Wall Street titans who raked in billions in bonuses while taxpayers bailed out their industry as “shameful” and guilty of acute “irresponsibility.”

Obama, anger flashing across his usually calm countenance, said bosses of big finance firms must sacrifice along with other Americans, as the country tries to dig itself out of a deep economic hole.

The president’s ire was sparked when he read a newspaper article detailing the 18.4 billion dollars in bonuses collected by Wall Street firms last year, even as stock markets plunged and the economy slumped towards a recession.

“That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful, and part of what we are going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090130/bs_afp/
uspoliticsobamafinanceeconomytaxbonuses_200
90130065628

Chinese Premier Blames Recession on U.S. Actions; Beijing Rethinks Some of Its American Investments

January 29, 2009

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao squarely blamed the U.S.-led financial system for the world’s deepening economic slump, in the most public indication yet of discord between the U.S. government and its largest creditor.

By JASON DEAN in Beijing, JAMES T. AREDDY in Shanghai and SERENA NG in New York
The Wall Street Journal

[chinese premier wen jiabao] 

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Photo: Associated Press

Leaders in China, the world’s third-largest economy, have been surprised and upset over how much the problems of the U.S. financial sector have hurt China’s holdings. In response, Beijing is re-examining its U.S. investments, say people familiar with the government’s thinking.
Mr. Wen, the first Chinese premier to visit the annual global gathering of economic and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, delivered a strongly worded indictment of the causes of the crisis, clearly aimed largely at the United States though he didn’t name it. Mr. Wen blamed an “excessive expansion of financial institutions in blind pursuit of profit,” a failure of government supervision of the financial sector, and an “unsustainable model of development, characterized by prolonged low savings and high consumption.”

Chinese leaders have felt burned by a series of bad experiences with U.S. investments they had believed were safe, say people familiar with their thinking, including holdings in Morgan Stanley, the collapsed Reserve Primary Fund and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result, the people say, government leaders decided not to make new investments in a number of U.S. companies that sought China’s capital. China’s pullback from Fannie and Freddie debt helped push up rates on U.S. mortgages last year just as Washington was seeking to revive the U.S. housing market.

To be sure, China’s economy now is so closely intertwined with the U.S.’s that major, abrupt changes are unlikely. The U.S.-China economic relationship has become arguably the world’s most important. China has been recycling its vast export earnings by financing the U.S. deficit through buying Treasurys, helping to keep U.S. interest rates low and give American consumers more spending power to buy Chinese exports.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1
23318934318826787.html

China Jittery About Obama Amid Signs of Harder Line

January 24, 2009

Whether it was a shot across the bow or a simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy F. Geithner’s assertion that China “manipulates” its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Obama’s efforts to improve America’s relations with the world.

China experts here said there were several other signs that the Obama administration could take a harder line toward Beijing, including Mr. Obama’s emphasis on climate change and the environment in trade negotiations and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s focus on human rights.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce responded tartly to the charge by Mr. Geithner, Mr. Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary. “Directing unsubstantiated criticism at China on the exchange-rate issue will only help U.S. protectionism and will not help towards a real solution to the issue,” the ministry said late on Friday in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

China starts off on weaker footing with Mr. Obama than it did with his predecessor, George W. Bush. Mr. Bush and his last Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., cultivated Chinese leaders and refused to call Beijing a manipulator. Mr. Obama has little personal experience of China, and lacks senior advisers with a deep interest in or knowledge of the country. With the American economy in a deep slump, and China trying to ramp up its exports to cushion a sharp slowdown there, experts worry that trade relations between the countries could deteriorate.

By Mark Landler
The New York Times

If the United States repairs its image in many parts of the world, that could make it harder for the Chinese to present themselves as an alternative to American influence in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

“The Chinese are probably one of the few people in the world who were sorry to see President Bush go, and are nervous about his successor,” said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked on China policy for the Clinton administration.

“They saw the Inaugural Address as having some uncomfortable elements for them,” Mr. Lieberthal said. “They are uneasy about Hillary Clinton. She has, in their assessment, not been a friend of China.”

The Chinese news media played down the significance of Mr. Geithner’s remarks, which were made in writing to the Senate Finance Committee as part of the confirmation process.

Rather than dwell on or analyze the reference to China’s currency, the Chinese official newspaper, The People’s Daily, quoted Mr. Geithner as saying that the currency manipulation issue would take a back seat to working with China to alleviate the global financial crisis. The headline said, “U.S. Treasury secretary-designate vows to deepen U.S.-China economic ties.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24
/washington/24diplo.html

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China Denies It Manipulates Currency

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese central banker denounced accusations by U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner that China was manipulating its yuan currency, calling them misleading and warning against “excuses” for protectionism.

Su Ning, a vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, called the comments by Geithner “out of keeping with the facts” and said they were “misleading in analyzing the causes of the financial crisis,” the official China News Service reported on Saturday.

Su also warned against trade protectionism.

“We believe that faced with the financial crisis there should be a spirit of self-criticism,” Su said while visiting a business newspaper office in Beijing, according to the report.

“The international community is currently working together in actively responding to the financial crisis, and it must avoid exploiting different excuses for renewing or encouraging trade protectionism,” Su said, adding that such steps would harm global economic recovery.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200901
24/ts_nm/us_china_usa_currency_3

China-Made Toys Banned in India

January 23, 2009

India on Friday banned imports of several types of toys from China for six months without saying why, a move that pleased local manufacturers but shocked importers, Reuters reported.

Related:
Economy, Reputation Causing China’s Toymakers To Take a Beating

A government statement issued late on Friday did not give details but industry officials said the order would ban imports of almost all toys from China.

China and India have a long history of animosity and there could be many good reasons for excluding China made toys from the Indian market.  China has produced millions of toys in recent years that contained lead-based paint which can be poisonous to children.

China also just completd a trial in the case of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children sickened by poisoned milk.

But in the current global economic downturn, china’s toy industry has been hard hit: causing massive unemployment within China.

Related:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleN
ew.asp?col=&section=business&xfile=data/
business/2009/January/business_January733.xml

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/
01/23/china.india.toys/index.html

Related:
 China Killed Children With Poisoned Milk, Held “Show Trial,” Absolved Government Regulators
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Death, Life in Prison Sentences in China Poisoned Milk Trial

Keeping the spirit alive 
Jobless Chinese toymakers turned vendors.  Photo by  Barbara Demick, The Los Angeles Times

Geithner Hints at Harder Line on China Trade

January 23, 2009

Timothy F. Geithner, who moved closer to confirmation as Treasury secretary on Thursday, told senators that President Obama believed China was “manipulating” its currency, suggesting a more confrontational stance toward that country than under the Bush administration.

By JACKIE CALMES
The New York Times

Mr. Geithner’s comment was made in writing to the Senate Finance Committee hours before it voted 18 to 5 to recommend that the full Senate confirm him. The statement, which is certain to anger the Chinese government, comes at a particularly sensitive time, with economies in both the United States and China weakening and tensions already rising around the globe over trade. The United States, moreover, is increasingly dependent on China to finance its ballooning deficit.

An administration official said that Mr. Geithner was only repeating what Mr. Obama had said during the campaign, and pointed out that his statement also emphasized that the president intended to use “all the diplomatic avenues available to him” to address the currency question.

File photo of Chinese 100 Yuan notes being counted at a bank ... 

It remained unclear whether Mr. Geithner was signaling that Mr. Obama would officially declare later this spring that China was engaging in currency manipulation, when the administration is required by a 20-year-old trade law to report to Congress on exchange rate issues. Such a finding would begin a legal process that starts with diplomacy and could end with the imposition of trade barriers like tariffs. The objective would be to persuade China to let the value of its currency, the yuan, freely float — a move that would let its value rise and would increase the cost of its exports.

“President Obama — backed by the conclusions of a broad range of economists — believes that China is manipulating its currency,” Mr. Geithner wrote. He stopped short of charging that China is manipulating its currency intentionally to gain an unfair trade advantage, as the 1988 law requires for an official citation of currency “manipulation.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/business/
worldbusiness/23treasury.html?hp

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ... 
Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be Treasury secretary on January 21, 2009 at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Incoming Treasury secretary Geithner vowed to get tough with China and redesign the crisis-hit US financial system as his nomination passed a crucial hurdle in the Senate Thursday.(AFP/File/Mandel Ngan)

China favors jobs at home over freer trade

January 1, 2009

Beijing restores tax breaks and other perks for Chinese exporters. It’s worried that declining exports mean more social unrest.

By Jonathan Adams
The Christian Science Monitor

In recent years, China scrapped many of its export-friendly policies – a turn welcomed by foreign competitors as a step toward freer, fairer trade.

In typical style, Beijing did so incrementally, “crossing the river by feeling the stones,” as Deng Xiaoping is quoted as saying.

But now, with the economic downturn in full effect, China is scrambling back toward the riverbank. The government has reversed itself on tax rebates and other export-friendly policies, restoring perks it had only recently scrapped.

The latest tax rebate hikes, which take effect Jan. 1, will be doled out to exporters of motorcycles, sewing machines, industrial robots, and other goods, according to the China Daily.

Beijing’s about-face risks raising tensions with the US and other trade partners. Washington and others have long complained about China’s “unfair” trade policies and a flood of cheap Chinese imports. The US welcomed the 2007 elimination of some tax rebates as a sign of progress, only to see many of them now restored.

The Yangshan deep water port in Hangzhou Bay, south east of ... 
The Yangshan deep water port in Hangzhou Bay, south east of Shanghai. China’s trade surplus is likely to hit another record in 2008 despite woes caused by the global slowdown, the nation’s top economic planner has said.(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/200
9/0102/p06s02-woap.html

China Celebrates 30 Years of Economic Reform; Almost Zero Political

December 17, 2008

Thirty years ago this month, China’s communist leaders launched an economic revolution, opening the door to free market reforms and foreign trade — though not to political change.

The new era began with a Communist Party gathering on Dec. 18, 1978, that endorsed small-scale private farming, the first step toward abandoning the late leader Mao Zedong’s vision of communal agriculture and industry.

China’s economy has since grown into the world’s fourth-largest behind the U.S., Japan and Germany, and annual per capita income has soared to about 19,000 yuan ($2,760) last year, up from just 380 yuan in 1978.


Above: The Shanghai skyline

Along with private enterprise and capital markets have come greater prosperity and stability than ever before.

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press Writer

Virtually all Chinese families now have at least one television and, in the cities, a washing machine — rare items three decades ago. Some 15 million families own private cars, and many Chinese also own their own homes.

“Nowadays, we worry instead about eating too well rather than not eating enough,” says Guo Linchun, 78, retired music teacher in Beijing. “Now, living standards have improved so much, we see not only televisions, so many people even own cars.”

But with modern industries come many other modern ills: pollution, industrial accidents and product safety scandals. And China‘s heavy reliance on exports and foreign investment ensures that the uncertainties now afflicting the global economy are haunting the Chinese as well.

An ethnic Uighur sits under a poster of the 2008 Beijing Olympic ... 
An ethnic Uighur sits under a poster of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on a street in Xinjiang’s famed Silk Road city of Kashgar in China’s far northwestern area.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081217/ap_on_b
i_ge/as_china30_years_reforms_3

China economic growth ‘could slow to near 20-year low’

December 16, 2008

China’s economy could end 2008 with its weakest growth in nearly two decades, economists said Tuesday, following the release of data for November that was far worse than expected.

A string of stimulus measures are likely to not fully kick in until the second or third quarter of 2009, making the last quarter of this year and the following three months the toughest to pull through, they said.

A range of economists contacted by AFP forecast growth of between five to 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Our forecast is rather pessimistic,” said Tao Dong, an analyst with Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, who forecast growth in the final three months of 2008 to be six to 6.5 percent.

He said China had not posted growth that low since the country began publishing quarterly economic data in 1995.

by Fran Wang
AFP

A young woman stands in front of a poster of a 100-yuan note ... 
A young woman stands in front of a poster of a 100-yuan note at an exhibition in Beijing. China’s economy could end 2008 with its weakest growth in nearly two decades, economists said Tuesday, following the release of data for November that was far worse than expected.(AFP/File/Chai Hin Goh)

Before that, the country recorded full-year growth of 3.8 percent in 1990.

It then roared into gear and never again posted annual growth of less than 7.6 percent, even during the Asian financial crisis.

Xing Ziqiang, a Beijing-based economist with China International Capital Corporation, backed Tao’s assessment that the last three months of 2008 would likely see the worst economic growth since records began, and possibly longer.

Xing forecast growth of five to 5.5 percent in the final quarter.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081216/
wl_asia_afp/financeeconomychina_081216132008

Juggernaut of U.S. Industrial Might Now “Rust Belt,” For Good Or Bad?

December 7, 2008

From the 1940s and the industrialization of World War II, a vast expanse of America became the the “induatrial hearland,” much of which was centered upon the factories that made the  automobile and other vehicles.

Iron ore came from Duluth, Minnesota via the Graet Lakes to Cleveland, and then passed by rail to Pittsburgh.  Akron made rubber for tires and Detroit was the centerpiece of it all, the automobile factory of the world.

I grew up in that industrial Midwest, watching the ore ships pass through the lakes and waiting for the local railroad, the “Nickle Plate,” to pass.  I left the Midwest in the 1970s and pretty much forgot about the industrial hearland until my return in the 1990s.

Logo

To my surprise, the industrial heartland had become the “Rust belt.”

Today, Detroit is a troubled ghost town.

Early tank production at the Army Tank Aresenal
Early tank production at the Army Tank Arsenal, Detroit.
Photo courtesy Albert Kahn Associates

Today, nations with lower labor costs, less interest in human rights and little concern for full coverage healthcare have passed the industrial U.S. by.

And as we read about “saving the Big three Automobile Makers” I am not sure how I feel.  But I do know that a nation without industrial might is often lost before long.

China can make our lawn furniture and Japan and Germany can make our cars.  But what do we in America make that is affordable enough and desireable enough to appeal to both American buyers and the world community at large?  We export “culture” in the form of movies, music and DVDs.  Plus we export computer know-how and software.  But where is the beef?

I my view, and this is certainly an unfinished thought, we can not be an American Superpower for long without one facet of that superpower: the ability to out design and outbuild others who would gladly produce more for less and sell it to a consumer nation.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

U.S. Consumer Spending is Two-Thirds of Economy

By Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio

More than two-thirds of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product derives from everyday stuff like dining out, buying a new shirt or visiting the dentist. About 14 percent stems from private investment, for instance companies purchasing new machinery or building new factories. And the rest comes from government spending on things like bridge building, schools, and defense.

You can find varying notions about whether the mix is right or not.

“A lot of analysts would argue we need to increase the amount of investment spending.”

“Government spending is not, unless done wisely, the answer.”

And some notions are a little more “out there” than others…

Larger view
New GDP numbers show that more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy is made up of consumer spending. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Read the rest:
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/200
8/10/29/gdp_numbers_consumer_spending/

Related:
Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?