New Tariffs Loom as China Decries ‘Blackmail’
When it comes to coaxing China back to the trade negotiation table, the Trump administration is favoring the stick over the carrot. And China is tired of it.
The U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products in early July, and the review period on another $16 billion of imports ends today.
The latest effort to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing comes as representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He work behind the scenes on restarting talks that stalled nearly two months ago.
In a sign the standoff is reverberating in China, the Politburo signaled yesterday that policy makers will focus more on supporting economic growth and noted “blackmailing and pressuring” will never work.
One person familiar with the deliberations said the U.S. is trying to secure certain concessions and if China agrees, it’s possible Trump would back off additional tariffs.
The other path is likely one of continued escalation.
Facebook meddling | The social media giant told the U.S. government it uncovered an effort to influence political opinions before this year’s midterm elections and deleted dozens of accounts and pages of people using false identities. The pages were used to coordinate about 30 real-world events, including a protest in Washington D.C., over the past year in a campaign similar to the one Russian-linked groups ran during the 2016 presidential ballot.
Brexit diplomacy | Theresa May is cutting short her vacation for Brexit talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday. Pressure is building on the prime minister after the European Union rejected a key part of her proposal for a trade deal — increasing the risk of Britain crashing out of the bloc. As Tim Ross writes, It’s no easier for May at home, where euroskeptic Tories are in open rebellion.
Ruling party romp | Zimbabwe’s ruling party easily won a parliamentary majority in the first election since long-time leader Robert Mugabe was ousted in November. With ballots in the presidential race still being counted, the focus is turning to accusations by the opposition that the election wasn’t fair. The final verdict on that will be key to the southern African nation’s efforts to rebuild after two decades of decline under Mugabe’s rule.
Land grab? | South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his African National Congress is pushing ahead with its pledge to amend the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Last night’s announcement, which prompted the rand to plunge on concerns about Zimbabwe-style land invasions, reflects the growing political pressure from the left that the ruling party is feeling before general elections next year.
Who is Imran Khan? | Pakistan’s incoming leader embodies the nation’s identity crisis: a pro-democracy corruption fighter who is also close to the military and sympathizes with the Taliban. While he’s offered a vision for a “New Pakistan” that tackles poverty and gets along with its neighbors, Daniel Ten Kate and Chris Kay report that the real test will be if he challenges the country’s powerful armed forces.
What to Watch
- Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s trial enters its second day after Manafort’s lawyer told jurors his client was innocent and was betrayed by his right-hand man, the prosecution’s star witness.
- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accepts the remains of 55 American war dead today from North Korea. Only then does the painstaking identification process begin.
- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is bracing for more defections from his ruling party after Senate President Bukola Saraki said he’s joining 50 lawmakers who moved to the opposition ahead of elections in February.
- Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo today to prepare his latest bid for the presidency following his acquittal of war crimes charges in the International Criminal Court.
And finally ... Julian Assange is preparing to step out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the first time since 2012, when he took refuge there to avoid Swedish rape allegations and possible extradition to the U.S. to face sanctions for publishing secret documents. People with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg that efforts to negotiate the WikiLeaks founder’s exit have redoubled due to his deteriorating health. And after a leadership change in Ecuador, patience has finally run out.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.