Overseas Headlines- August 14, 2019

Date: August 14, 2019

United States:

Trump’s New Farm Tariffs No Match for China’s Retaliatory Duties

“President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese agricultural products are likely to hurt the Asian nation a lot less than the retaliatory duties Beijing already imposes on the U.S. The White House, while delaying tariffs on big-ticket consumer products until December, decided to push ahead with 10% tariffs on Chinese agricultural products as well as antiques, clothes, kitchenware and footwear from Sept. 1. The list ranges from the exotic — live primates, whales and foxes — to the more usual fare of milk and edible oils. But the amount of farm products China exports to the U.S. is much smaller than what it imports from America, even with the retaliatory tariffs in place. China shipped $3.1 billion worth of farm goods to America in the first half of this year, while it purchased $5.6 billion of U.S. agricultural items over the same period, according to Chinese customs data. One area where Beijing may feel some pain is in textile exports. The material is already subject to U.S. tariffs and shipments have been falling, according to an industry trade agency. Sales of garments to the U.S. fell 19% in the first half of this year and will drop further as more textile products have been included in the fresh U.S. tariffs, the trade group said. This could hurt China’s cotton imports, which were revised down by China’s agriculture ministry this week.”




U.K. Gears Up for Brexit-Driven Election That Boris Johnson Can’t Call

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s staff talk about an imminent general election as though it were a fact, and on Tuesday, a Conservative politician accidentally published a draft email about his “GE2019 team.” But amid growing expectations that the next chapter in the U.K.’s political crisis will see the country go to the polls, it’s still not clear how it will happen. The argument for an election is clear. Johnson has a governing majority in Parliament of just one seat, meaning he doesn’t have the votes to pass any controversial legislation. It’s also far from clear there’s majority for any kind of Brexit deal, while MPs are plotting to block his “do or die” plan to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, without a deal if necessary. To underline the threat, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond warned Johnson he’ll work in Parliament with other ex-ministers to try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which he called a “betrayal” of the 2016 referendum result. “I’m very confident that Parliament has the means to make its voice heard,” Hammond told BBC Radio on Wednesday. Calling an election would stop those plots — MPs would cease to be MPs and have to fight again for their seats — and could potentially deliver Johnson a majority. The Conservatives see the prime minister as an electoral asset, a politician who’s also a celebrity. If he could argue the election had been forced on him and fight a “Parliament versus the People” campaign, the Tories hope Johnson could sweep up voters frustrated that Brexit hasn’t been delivered.”




 China Refuses to Allow U.S. Warships to Make Port Calls in Hong Kong

“China has refused port visits to Hong Kong by two U.S. warships amid continued trade tensions and diplomatic spats between the two sides over pro-democracy protests in the Asian financial hub. The Chinese government denied permission for the USS Green Bay and the USS Lake Erie to visit Hong Kong in the coming weeks, Commander Nate Christensen, a deputy spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said. The Green Bay is an amphibious transport dock while the Lake Erie is guided-missile cruiser. “The U.S. Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect them to continue,” Christensen said. “We refer you to the Chinese government for further information about why they denied the request.” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that the country has always approved port visits by U.S. warships “case by case, on the basis of sovereignty principles and specific situations,” without elaborating. The move comes as the U.S. and China spar in a protracted trade war and American lawmakers criticize the Hong Kong police’s tactics against demonstrators who have protested for more than two months. China has accused the U.S. of instigating protesters to violence, citing communications between American officials and activists — a claim Washington denies. President Donald Trump said in a tweet Tuesday that reports from U.S. intelligence agencies show the Chinese government is moving troops to its border with Hong Kong, stoking fears of a possible intervention. “Everyone should be calm and safe!” Trump said, without providing details about when he received the information. Beijing last refused a U.S. naval port call to the former British colony in September, when it denied a visit to the amphibious assault ship the USS Wasp days after Washington sanction the Chinese military over Russian arms purchases.”



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