Monday, 19 November, 2018

President Trump's economy gamble: Solid job gains vs. risky trade war

President Trump's economy gamble: Solid job gains vs. risky trade war President Trump's economy gamble: Solid job gains vs. risky trade war
Gerardo Duncan | 09 July, 2018, 05:34

Growing jitters over the past few weeks over a stepped-up trading dispute between the world's two largest economies had weighed on the markets well ahead of Friday, when Beijing and Washington launched dueling tariffs on billions in goods. Trump has said he is prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports - a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China shipped to the USA past year. Analysts say the added expense of China's 25 percent tariff on US soybeans will effectively block the product from entering the Chinese market.

Many products have suddenly become more expensive. Chinese shares, which have been battered in the run-up to the tariff deadline, slipped further from early deals and pulled Asian markets down, while the yuan currency also weakened. "Half of all US manufacturing jobs depend on exports, (and) one in three acres on American farms is planted for worldwide sales".

The tariffs that the United States and China slapped on each other's exports on Friday intensified the trade war, chilling consumer confidence and seriously harming the global economy.

Marukawa said the tariffs will result in companies no longer considering producing inside the United States and choosing instead to produce in another country and export to the United States. "The math is simple".

China has threatened to respond with tariffs on hundreds of US goods, including top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening USA farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 USA election, such as Texas and Iowa.

The group's lobbying efforts have included a social media campaign in which "individual soybean farmers who will be directly affected by the trade conflict attached their photographs to statements appealing directly to the President and his advisors", the group said.

In a lot of ways, though, what China is doing isn't that unusual, according to Illinois Soybean Growers marketing committee chairman Austin Rincker, who farms south of Decatur.

The imbroglio began in April, when the Trump administration announced that it would impose import duties of 25% on Chinese products to punish the country for what the administration said were unfair trade practices.

Gao pointed out that China is an important supporter and participant in economic globalization and the global industrial chain, and many of its export commodities are products made by foreign enterprises in China. It comes at a time when the United States dairy industry was already bracing for new tariffs on cheese exported to Mexico.

"If we continue to see prices at this level, farmers will be forced out of business", said Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation.

"You always know there's going to be ups and downs in agriculture, you just never know exactly which side you're going to be on of it", he said.

China lowered commitments to buy 366,000 metric tons of USA soybeans in the season that ends August 31 and cut purchases by 66,000 tons in the following year. "If we got to that point (of escalation), all bets are off for any continuation of the bull market". "All that is gone now".

American tariffs on steel and aluminium imports have provoked retaliatory measures against billions of dollars of American exports.

The statement did not specify what those countermeasures would entail beyond taking the case to the World Trade Organisation, though the ministry had previously said it would hit back with new border taxes on an equal amount of U.S. goods. The oilseed is the top agricultural commodity that the US ships to China by far and is among the largest products for overall exports.

"If momentum is lost it will be hard to regain. And it's making American companies less competitive", Gonzalez said. That means United States apple prices could take a serious dive, costing growers money. "It's having an impact on businesses that are not making capital investment decisions because of the uncertainty of the situation", she said. According to tariff supporters, this can help to save jobs that might otherwise go overseas.

Daimler, the carmaker behind Mercedes-Benz, already warned last month that its profits will fall this year.

Initial market estimates of the impact of tit-for-tat Chinese and U.S. tariffs have been modest.

The tariffs will make trade more expensive and complicated, and consumers will end up paying a price, Wilson said.

While economists say the consequences of a spat between the world's two largest economies can be contained for now, there are fears that Donald Trump's stance on trade could cause serious damage to the global economy.

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