Posts Tagged ‘China’

What we don’t talk about when we only talk about Brexit | Jonathan Freedland

Warming oceans, war in Yemen, the fate of the Uighurs, Gaza … We’ve been too busy with the backstop to notice the world

One of Brexit’s more pernicious aspects, even before you get to its actual flaws, is its tendency to suck all available oxygen unto itself, to drain resources that might otherwise have gone elsewhere. Before the referendum, civil servants warned that such a task – untangling 40 years of legal agreements, ripping out a delicate web of connections that had become embedded – would consume all their energies. Naturally, their warnings were dismissed as Project Fear. But even the head of Vote Leave, Dominic Cummings, before he took on the form of Benedict Cumberbatch, conceded via Twitter that leaving the European Union would present the British state with the “hardest job since beating Nazis”.

Related: Brexit: Boris Johnson says he would be 'utterly amazed' if UK could not get EU to drop backstop - Politics live

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Global markets up on possible China-US deal

US stocks appear to have erased the December doldrums on news of a possible trade agreement with China

Investors appear to have welcomed a report which says that the US is considering at least a partial lift of tariffs on Chinese products in a bid to encourage Beijing to further open its markets to foreign goods.

All European markets were up between 1.23 and 2.63 per cent with the FTSE 100 defying Brexit uncertainty in favor of optimism that there may be a trade breakthrough between China and the US.

On Thursday, Bloomberg news reported that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was deliberating on an idea to spur Chinese concessions by walking back tariffs on that country’s exports to the US.

The two countries have held several cycles of trade talks since US President Donald Trump announced a three-month freeze on additional Chinese tariffs during the G20 Summit in Argentina in early December.

American and Chinese, in addition to the IMF and World Bank, economic experts have urged both governments to reach an agreement before the freeze expires on March 1.

In China, the Hang Seng index closed 1.14 per cent up while the benchmark Shanghai Composite was up 1.42 per cent.

This pulled up other Asian stocks: Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.29 per cent, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.82 per cent.

In the US, markets all opened up on reports that China could propose buying about $1 trillion in US goods by 2024, thereby erasing the US trade deficit between the two.

At press time, the Dow Jones had jumped more than 300 points to a midday high of 24711, registering an increase of 1.40 per cent, while the Nasdaq was up 1.33 per cent, and the S&P 500 up 1.44 per cent.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

China-US trade talks begin amid naval tensions

Both President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have signaled they are willing to reach a deal to resolve trade conflict

Two days of trade talks between China and the US kicked off in Bejing on Monday as both sides sought to narrow the divide following nearly a year of tit-for-tat tariffs threatening both economies.

But the talks were quickly overshadowed by events unfolding some 1,800 kilometers in the South China Sea, which Beijing has long claimed to be largely its own dominion.

Maritime disputes between China on the one hand and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan on the other have caused tensions in the region and often led to a war of words between Beijing and Washington.

On Monday, the US guided-missile destroyer USS McCambbell sailed into the South China Sea under the premise of freedom of navigation, and came close to a number of islands contested by the aforementioned nations.

Beijing condemned the US naval “incursion”.

Beijing has long accused Washington of meddling in the South China Sea. The US conducts periodic air and naval patrols near the disputed islands that have angered Beijing.

The maritime region is believed to hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and through which roughly $4.5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year.

Back in Beijing, mid-level Chinese and US officials held what is now the sixth round of trade talks to ease tensions between the two countries.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump said that he was optimistic that China would work toward a deal. Most analysts believe that recent economic data in China showing slowdown indicates that Beijing may be more likely to compromise on a trade deal than just six months ago.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday said that it was looking to forge a deal with the US on “equal footing”.

But the US economy is under pressure, too, despite positive economic data. Many US manufacturers who have set up shop in China may be forced to relocate.

Furthermore, Chinese invesments in the US tech sector – which reached $3 billion last year – have significantly dwindled in recent months.

In its response to US tariffs, China has been targeting economically important industries such as agriculture, with special emphasis on soybeans (half of all US soybean production is exported to China), crude oil and auto parts.

The Chinese list reached nearly 600 other items, including pork, aircraft parts, meat and fruit processors, and hundreds of other industrial products.

Soybean futures have been trading higher since the Beijing talks were confirmed last week.

Asian markets on Monday were also given a boost as the trade talks began in Beijing.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.44 per cent while in Seoul, South Korea, the Kospi closed 1.34 per cent up.

Chinese markets also felt the upswing with the benchmark Shanghai Composite closing up 0.72 per cent.

By Firas Al-Atraqchi with inputs from Agencies

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