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Chris Skidmore: Creating the next Stanford or MIT of the future – right here in Britain

Chris Skidmore is Minister of State jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  He is MP for Kingswood.

Britain’s universities are home to some of the world’s brightest and best minds. Scientists and researchers are hard at work cracking the toughest problems, from modelling the polar ice-sheets to developing new antibiotics. Their ground-breaking work inspires young people and changes people’s lives. We rank first or second on most metrics, coming only behind the US – a country with far bigger budgets. It’s a great British success story.

But other countries have taken note and are massively scaling up their own efforts. Just look at China: they’ve committed to spending a whopping five per cent of their GDP on R&D. South Korea has already reached 4.3 per cent. The UK lags way behind at just 1.7 per cent.

This isn’t just a twenty-first century ‘science race’, like the space race of the last century. It matters because investing in R&D is the best way for modern economies to raise productivity, especially in the face of increased global competition.  In 2016, the UK committed to reaching to 2.4 per cent by 2027. If we achieve this, it will revolutionise our economy. But it depends on getting two things right.

The first is about people. As we leave the EU, it is vital that the UK becomes even more attractive for international research talent. Earlier this year, we announced a new fast-track visa plan, designed to attract elite researchers and scientists to the UK.

And today, we are unveiling 78 new Future Leaders Fellows – helping early-career researchers to do their best work, benefitting from £78 million investment and access to our world-class universities.  These people are truly inspiring – relocating from all over the world to continue their amazing work right here in the UK, such as new research into ocean oxidisation, violence against women, quantum thermodynamics and self-driving cars.

And we want to go further – ensuring that job offers turn into lasting careers in research. This means cutting red tape, eliminating bullying and discrimination, and unlocking the creativity of everyone working in research, whether in universities or industry.

That brings me to my second point. Raising productivity is important for government. But it is arguably even more important for industry. Over two-thirds of our national R&D is paid for by private funds. That is a sign of its value to the market, proving that innovation is the path to growth.

I am determined that our private and public R&D systems should work together as effectively as possible. This means universities, government and industry working together to share risks and to convert great ideas into new businesses, new industries and new products and services.  Universities have shown themselves to be more than capable of playing their part. Just take the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, where universities have secured over £2bn from industry and private sources into 54 projects right across the UK.

To build on this, I’m delighted that the government is today unveiling 20 new University Enterprise Zones. Established with £20 million of government funding, these new UEZs will be based in universities right across the country, from Falmouth to Sunderland.  These projects are all about creating a business-friendly environment, helping to build a bridge between academia and business. They will allow local start-ups to co-locate in universities, building the businesses of the future – inspired by university research.

In this way, the Government is supporting and encouraging strong relationships between our world-leading researchers and the business world that can best make use of their ideas.  By fostering effective university-business links, we too can create the Stanford or MIT of the future – right here in the UK – ensuring science and research remains a remarkable success story for many years to come.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Detains FedEx Pilot Amid Rising U.S.-China Tensions

Westlake Legal Group 20fedex-1-facebookJumbo China Detains FedEx Pilot Amid Rising U.S.-China Tensions Pilots International Trade and World Market firearms Fedex Corporation China Blacklisting Airlines and Airplanes

SHANGHAI — Authorities in southern China have detained an American pilot who works for FedEx, in the latest in a series of difficulties for American travelers and companies in China.

The pilot had been waiting to catch a commercial flight out of the city of Guangzhou, where FedEx has a huge hub. In a statement, FedEx said authorities had found an object in his luggage, though it did not specify what the object was.

The pilot was released on bail, FedEx said. “We are working with the appropriate authorities to gain a better understanding of the facts,” it said in a statement and declined to comment further.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the detention on Thursday, said that the pilot had been carrying nonmetallic pellets used in air guns, and that he was a United States Air Force veteran named Todd A. Hohn who had been trying to catch a flight to his home in nearby Hong Kong.

The Air Line Pilots Association International, the union representing most American pilots, declined to discuss the case, as did Mr. Hohn’s lawyer. The municipal foreign affairs office in Guangzhou declined to comment and referred questions to the police, who did not answer telephone calls.

FedEx is one of a number of companies that have been caught between Washington and Beijing as the trade war has intensified. But it is not clear whether the pilot’s detention was related to the company’s problems in China.

As trade frictions and other disputes fester between the United States and China and as China itself becomes more authoritarian, more Americans have found themselves stuck in China and unable to leave. A Koch Industries executive was held in southern China and interrogated for days in June before being allowed to exit the country.

The State Department issued a travel advisory for China in January, warning Americans, particularly those with dual Chinese-American citizenship, that they may not be allowed to leave China if they go there.

A growing number of foreign companies, particularly American companies but also Canadian and European businesses, have responded by scrutinizing but not prohibiting travel to China by executives and employees.

But the quick release of the pilot, although without allowing him to leave the country, may indicate that China is not eager to turn him into a bilateral issue, said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of Perkins Coie, a global law firm.

“The fact that he was released is a critically important message and a positive sign — Beijing probably ordered his release to minimize the significance of the issue, and this is an indication that Beijing doesn’t want this case to be a huge distraction.” Mr. Zimmerman said.

Mr. Zimmerman said that China does not have a bail system as it is generally understood in the West. China relies more on severe travel restrictions on people who are released from detention but remain under investigation.

The detention comes as the United States and China are trying to reach at least a partial truce in their 15-month trade war. Chinese officials have been eager to head off further tariffs that President Trump has planned to impose on Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, but are also loath to agree to the broad Chinese policy changes sought by the Trump administration.

It was unclear on Friday if Chinese authorities had deliberately targeted the pilot because he worked for FedEx. The detention came as Chinese airports have visibly increased security measures in recent months. The authorities have paid particular attention to travelers going to or from Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory where large and increasingly violent protests have taken place every weekend this summer.

China has strict laws not just against the possession of weapons but also against the possession of any kind of ammunition.

FedEx has had a series of difficulties in China in recent months. China has accused FedEx of delaying shipments last May by Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant accused by American officials of working with Chinese intelligence — accusations that Huawei denies.

FedEx has also been working with Chinese authorities to investigate how one of its American clients was allowed to send a gun to a sporting goods store in southeastern China. The gun was also detected and stopped by Chinese authorities.

Chinese nationalists have called in recent weeks for FedEx to be included on a list of “unreliable entities” that the country’s Commerce Ministry has been drafting. The drafting has begun in response to the United States Commerce Department’s decision to begin putting Huawei on an “entities list” of foreign companies to which goods can only be exported from the United States with special licenses.

Cathay Pacific, a large airline based in Hong Kong, has separately come under heavy scrutiny by the Chinese government after some of its employees expressed support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. China threatened to revoke the airline’s access to its airspace unless Cathay reined in its employees.

Cathay Pacific and FedEx are two of the largest airlines hauling Chinese exports to the United States. Much of China’s electronics exports, particularly higher-value items like iPhones, travel by air.

In addition to scrutinizing travelers to and from Hong Kong very closely, the Chinese government has also begun checking foreigners visiting or living in the country for any possession or recent use of drugs, sometimes even weeks or months before the foreigners came to China. That has also produced a series of detentions.

Travel experts now strongly advise anyone going to China to carry prescription medicines in their original containers, and not to carry any prescription medicines that may be illegal in China, like prescription cannabis.

FedEx is a well-known company in China as well as in the United States. By coincidence, HBO showed in China on Thursday night the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away,” the fictional story of a FedEx manager marooned on a Pacific island for years.

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5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy

Westlake Legal Group Net-Neutrality-copy 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy wireless Wired Web Search washington D.C. Technology technolgy Section 230 satellite progressives Privacy Politics Policy News network neutrality Net Neutrality law Internet of Things Internet Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Economy China California Business & Economy 5g 4G

The Left has spent the last five decades rigidly insisting the world was on the verge of imminent climactic collapse.

We are constantly on the verge of warming ourselves into mass extinction.

Dig this – from June, 1989:

U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked:

“A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.”

I’ll give you all a second to check a nearby calendar….

Yes, it’s nearly 2020.  Two decades AFTER the predicted beginning of the end.  Things are…exactly as they were.

The Left remains steadfastly impervious to facts.

The Left appears to like dozens.  Dig this – from January 2019:

Ocasio-Cortez on Millennials: ‘We’re Like the World Is Going to End in 12 Years if We Don’t Address Climate Change’:

“The world is going to end in 12 years unless the government takes action, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Monday at a Martin Luther King forum in New York City.”

How very United Nations-1989 – of AOC-2019.

How long are they incessantly wrong – before we finally stop listening to them?

The Left has spent the last two decades rigidly insisting the Internet was on the verge of imminent collapse.

We are constantly on the verge of Non-Neutralizing the Web into mass extinction.

Dig this – from June 2002:

A Proposal for Network Neutrality:

“(T)here is growing evidence that carriers can restrict the use of their broadband networks in ways that distort the market for internet applications, home networking equipment and other markets of public value….

“This proposal introduces the principle of network neutrality or non-discrimination as a tentative answer….”

Yes, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) “can” block you.  But they never, ever do.

Because they are in the customer service business.  If they do not service their customers – they will quite soon be out of business.

Since “Net Neutrality’s” introduction to the Leftist zeitgeist – we have always been one second away from a catastrophe…that never, ever comes to pass.

Dig this – from the 2010 election cycle:

Stand with Bold Democratic Candidates for Net Neutrality:

“Giant corporations want to take over the Internet. But over 95 bold Democratic candidates are going “on offense” – promising to protect Net Neutrality!”

Get that future tense again?  “Giant corporations want to take over the Internet.”  Not “have taken over the Internet” – they “want to” do so.

They haven’t yet – but they can AT ANY SECOND!

Actually, 95 Democrats and Democrat candidates signed that 2010 election petition.  How’d that go?

95 PCCC Pro-Net Neutrality Democrats All Lost on Tuesday – and PCCC Raised Less than $300 On It

Well that went well.

And here we are in the tail end of 2019.  After another decade of frenetic, frantic predictions of Internet doom.

Net Neutrality: Why the Next Ten Days Are So Important in the Fight for Fair Internet

The Left LOVES timelines – that turn out to be utter irrelevant to Reality.

Red Alert for Net Neutrality

Advocates Showed Friday Why Court Must Restore Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Pros and Cons: This is Why it Must Be Preserved

Repeal of Net Neutrality Is Bad for Education, Business and You

Well, it’s 2019 – how’s the Internet doing?

Exactly the same freedoms as always.  And all the additional, exponential speed and quality improvements.

Provided solely by the Private Sector – that the Left wants to pummel with totally unnecessary government Net Neutrality regulations.

Speaking of private sector improvements – behold Fifth Generation Wireless….

What Is 5G, and How Fast Will It Be?:

“5G is the industry standard that will supersede the current widespread 4G LTE standard, just as 4G supplanted 3G. 5G just stands for ‘fifth generation’ – it’s the fifth generation of this standard.

“This standard is designed to be much faster than current 4G LTE technology. It’s not just about speeding up smartphone internet connections, though. It’s about enabling faster wireless internet everywhere for everything from connected cars to smart-home and Internet of Things (IoT) devices….

“While 4G tops out at a theoretical 100 megabits per second (Mbps), 5G tops out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). That means 5G is a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology.”

Let’s compare these wireless speeds to my home’s hardline-wired broadband connection.  I live in a suburb of a town of 2,000 people.  In the Land of Second Homes – where most people live mostly elsewhere rather than here….

I just tested my speed.  My major ISP ( I shan’t disclose – but trust me, it’s a major) – just timed at 281.78 Mbps.

Think about this: 4G wireless – is already within shouting distance of wired broadband.

The most data-intensive thing to currently do online – is stream video.  And just about everyone in America can currently, seamlessly stream video – on their wireless devices.

That’s impressive.

5G wireless is going to blow the doors off of 4G wireless – and wired broadband.

Thank you yet again, Private Sector.  For yet again delivering exponential increases in speed and quality.  Yet again – totally bereft of Net Neutrality regulations.

And 5Gs super speeds – makes Net Neutrality even dumber now…than its ever before been.  And that’s saying something.

The Net Neutrality argument is – there isn’t enough competition amongst ISPs.  So they will – one day, perhaps, maybe…. – block you.

Even though it would be STUPID ISP business practice.  Which is why ISPs never, ever have.

Well, we’re very, very soon all going to have wireless service that is MORE THAN THIRTY TIMES FASTER than my current hardline broadband speed.

Which means I’ll have about a dozen wireless ISPs – competing with my hardline ISP.

Which, by the way, I have had all along the way with 4G.

I work from home.  When my hardline connection fails me – I HotSpot my laptop off of my 4G cellular phone.  Out here in the hinterlands.

And I do everything I want to do online – up to and including streaming video.

The truth is: Net Neutrality has been orders-of-magnitude stupider – since the Private Sector delivered us 4G.

But the Left still insists on counting ONLY hardline connections – as connections.  Most unfortunately, so does our government.

But if almost all of us can do everything we need and want to do online wirelessly – how the heck does that not count as a connection?

We can all do all of that – on 4G.

We will all be able to do all of that – and so much more than we can currently conceive – on 5G.

And we’ve been doing all of it – totally bereft of titanically stupid Net Neutrality regulations.

May we please, FINALLY retire the stupid, ridiculous Net Neutrality?

(He asks…knowing the Left will never, ever abide Reality.)

The post 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Facebook-NetNeutrality-022615_0-300x139 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy wireless Wired Web Search washington D.C. Technology technolgy Section 230 satellite progressives Privacy Politics Policy News network neutrality Net Neutrality law Internet of Things Internet Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Economy China California Business & Economy 5g 4G   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

No end to Hong Kong violence

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK No end to Hong Kong violence The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong democracy China

Pro-China groups are now involved in the violence consuming Hong Kong. Hong Kong Free Press reported Saturday a large demonstration brawled with democracy protesters at a Kowloon Bay mall while also damaging pro-democracy placards set up across the island. RTHK confirmed the clashes between the two groups before police officers became involved.

The caveat is who it appeared HKPD targeted. RTHK reported officers were accused of being lenient towards pro-Beijing advocates while only arresting anti-extradition bill demonstrators. Stand News, which is pro-democracy, supported the report and noted officers pushed a photojournalist out of the way and into a wall.

A pro-China protester was also injured after police left the area. RTHK reported the attack happened because he was spotted taking pictures of anti-government protesters. There’s no defense of violence but it’s likely there was fear he was an undercover cop sent to blend in with those who are against the government. The anxiety is understandable given the fact protesters have been arrested by police at their homes. It doesn’t justify the violence but provides a bit of a lens into a possible motive.

Violence broke out again today as demonstrators clogged the streets near the Hong Kong government offices in support of International Democracy Day. The march was originally canceled by police but thousands showed up anyway.

“Even though the police rejected our march today we will still come out because it is our right to do it,” a registered nurse called ‘Ms. Chow’ by Hong Kong Free Press stated while holding a sign vowing protesters would not surrender to Hong Kong. “I think the majority of Hong Kong people are not afraid of coming out.”

The sentiment was shared by others taking part in the gathering.

“This is the first rally since the withdrawal of the extradition bill,” protester Terence Pang told South China Morning Post while he sat in a wheelchair. “That’s important because we need to let the government know that our other demands have not been met. I’m most concerned about having universal suffrage – that’s the root of all our problems.”

How the violence started is up for debate. South China Morning Post put the blame for the clashes on what they called “radical protesters” writing the group lobbed Molotov cocktails at police before they were struck with tear gas and rubber bullets. Hong Kong Free Press seemed to suggest the bombs and tear gas happened almost simultaneously. The truth may be somewhere in between.

What happened next isn’t debatable. Bricks and rubber bullets flew through the air as the pitched battle began between both sides. Police used water cannons and tear gas and HKFP reported some journalists ended up being struck by a tear gas canister. There are multiple reports one police water cannon truck was hit by a Molotov cocktail although no injuries were reported.

One curious thing is why pro-democracy demonstrators claim to be using petrol bombs. One person told RTHK they didn’t want to hurt officers but just keep them away from gatherings. “I don’t think they are trying to aim for the police or anyone, they just throw it in the stairs.” the 21-year-old claimed. “Give us some time to retreat or something.”

The night brought about more fights and arrests. Police took Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui into custody on claims he obstructed their operations. The crime? Telling officers to not abuse their power when they arrested a couple in black shirts walking in the streets. The female in the couple told officers she was just going home but police said she’d been yelling. Odd reasons for an arrest.

Journalists were also assaulted. SCMP reported two of their reporters were attacked by men wearing white. One female Apple Daily reporter suffered a hand injury when a white-clad man tried to take her phone. RTHK reported later the white-clad gang, for lack of a better term, went after anti-government demonstrators all while police watched and did nothing. A witness to a separate brawl claimed police broke up the fight but did not arrest any of the white-clad attackers.

The common refrain of observers of the Hong Kong situation is the island is headed towards destruction. George Will wrote in his syndicated column this weekend he believes China and the Hong Kong government made an error in judgment by not withdrawing the extradition bill immediately after the protests broke out. One Civic Party leader told Will some protesters carry their will in case the police kill them.

It would be too easy to blame the hardline protesters for not backing down with their demands. They seek five things: kill the extradition bill, drop all charges against protesters, classify the demonstrations as “protests,” not riots, look into possible police brutality, and universal suffrage. The extradition bill is dead, thankfully, while the other four demands aren’t necessarily untenable. Universal suffrage will take the longest to attain although it’s still a worthy goal for the future.

Hong Kong burns. It can still be saved if everyone is willing. However, that time may have already passed.

The post No end to Hong Kong violence appeared first on Hot Air.

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China Blinks on Pork and Soybean Tariffs

Westlake Legal Group pigsnouts-e1350407103255 China Blinks on Pork and Soybean Tariffs winning Trade War Tariffs Soybeans pork Politics Pigs negotiations Markets Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Economy donald trump disease China

Some news from the trade war front. China has decided to exempt pork and soybeans from future tariffs, giving a much needed reprieve to the agricultural sector in the United States. There was joking last week when China lifted tariffs on a few inconsquential items that it was an “olive twig,” but this move signals something bigger.

Via Reuters.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will exempt some agricultural products from additional tariffs on U.S. goods, including pork and soybeans, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Friday, in the latest sign of easing Sino-U.S. tensions before a new round of talks aimed at curbing a bruising trade war.

The United States and China have both made conciliatory gestures, with China renewing purchases of U.S. farm goods and U.S. President Donald Trump delaying a tariff increase on certain Chinese goods.

This is likely happening for reasons related to China’s condition, not as a gesture of good will. China would like nothing more than to stick it to us but they rely on our agricultural products to keep their people from starving.

An outbreak of deadly African swine fever, which has cut China’s pig herd by a third since mid-2018, has propelled Chinese pork prices to record levels and left the country in need of replacement supplies from overseas. U.S. pork exports to China so far this year have largely fallen short of expectations.

That issue of diseases didn’t just come out of nowhere. It is a result of China sourcing unsafe Russian pork to try to replace what we were selling them. In other words, China needs us and they are starting to feel the pinch. Hence, they lifted these tariffs because they need the imports, not just to be nice.

It’s disappointing that just last week I saw some conservatives on Twitter snarking that Trump should retreat and declare victory. That’s short sighted and stupid. It’s exactly the kind of attitude that got Trump elected, i.e. the idea that Republicans aren’t willing to fight the tough battles. Trump is winning this trade war. For now, the U.S. has been largely left unscathed, with the markets already rebounding big after a scare a few weeks ago. The question is whether Trump can finish this before 2020. This isn’t something he’s going to want hanging over his head. That’s the only wildcard in this.

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The post China Blinks on Pork and Soybean Tariffs appeared first on RedState.

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More blinking? China to add pork, soybeans to tariff exemption list ahead of talks

Westlake Legal Group trump-xi-handshake More blinking? China to add pork, soybeans to tariff exemption list ahead of talks Xi Jinping Trade War The Blog Tariffs Soybeans pork donald trump China

As Democrats on stage at the presidential debate took their shots at Donald Trump’s trade strategy with China, it looks as though it has begun producing some results. In a surprise move, Beijing announced that it would roll back tariffs on key agricultural products ahead of next week’s initial trade talks. China had targeted pork and soybeans in order to put pressure on Trump through his rural voter base, but appear to have reversed course:

China will exempt some agricultural products from additional tariffs on U.S. goods, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Friday, in the latest sign of easing Sino-U.S. tensions before a new rounds of talks aimed at curbing a bruising trade war. …

“China supports relevant enterprises buying certain amounts of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from today in accordance with market principles and WTO rules,” Xinhua said, adding that the Customs Tariff Commission of China’s State Council would exclude additional tariffs on those items.

China has “broad prospects” for importing high-quality U.S. agricultural goods, Xinhua reported, citing unnamed authorities.

Part of this is motivated not so much by trade pressures but domestic problems at home. As Reuters notes, a swine-flu epidemic has forced domestic pork prices to skyrocket. China can’t produce enough to meet demand, and the last thing they need right now is more unrest at home to go along with the uprising in Hong Kong.

However, extending that to soybeans might be more of a trade-war blink:

China is also expected to step up purchases of soybeans, historically the most valuable U.S. farm export which China has largely avoided buying since the trade war began last year.

Before the announcement of additional tariff exemptions, Chinese firms bought at least 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Thursday, the country’s most significant purchases since at least June.

One has to wonder whether that reflects production problems at home, too. Either way, it will make American farmers happy, while at the same time taking the pressure off American negotiators. China’s concessions now go deep into the heart of their leverage in those talks.

This follows a grudging concession by Trump yesterday that he might consider an interim trade agreement to ease tensions, but he’d prefer to wait for a full settlement:

The president told reporters he would like to ink a full agreement with the world’s second largest economy. However, he left the door open to striking a limited deal with Beijing.

“If we’re going to do the deal, let’s get it done,” he told reporters as he left for a congressional Republican retreat in Baltimore. “A lot of people are talking about it, I see a lot of analysts are saying an interim deal — meaning we’ll do pieces of it, the easy ones first. But there’s no easy or hard. There’s a deal or there’s not a deal. But it’s something we would consider, I guess.”

Trump’s statements add to confusion sparked earlier in the day about what the White House would accept in its ongoing negotiations with China. U.S. stock indexes initially climbed on a report that the Trump administration talked about crafting an interim agreement. A White House official then said the U.S. is “absolutely not” considering such a deal, causing markets to give up some of those gains.

Asked to clarify if Trump’s position had changed from earlier in the day, White House spokesman Judd Deere emphasized the president’s comment that he would prefer a complete agreement.

On Wednesday, Trump delayed the next round of tariffs from October 1 to October 15, calling it a “gesture of goodwill.” The move allows Xi Jinping to celebrate the communist government’s 70th anniversary without the hike as context, but more practically allows a little more time for negotiations. That also puts a damper on the “interim” idea, as it would still likely lead to significant tariff increases on goods outside whatever partial pact is made.

The concessions on pork and soybeans are significant, much more so than a two-week delay in tariffs. It signals that China can’t afford to deal with a lengthy trade war, especially not this year. They may not like it, but they still need to trade in order to feed their massive population, and China might have to get used to fully opening their markets and complying with agreements to do so.

The post More blinking? China to add pork, soybeans to tariff exemption list ahead of talks appeared first on Hot Air.

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China Drops Some U.S. Pork and Soybean Tariffs as Trade Tensions Ease

Westlake Legal Group 13chinatrade1-facebookJumbo China Drops Some U.S. Pork and Soybean Tariffs as Trade Tensions Ease United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Soybeans pork International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

BEIJING — China will exempt some American soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from additional tariffs, state media reported on Friday, in the latest move by Beijing to ease trade tensions with the United States.

China Central Television, the nation’s official broadcaster, and other official outlets reported the move without disclosing details about the tariff exemptions. But in a brief report issued late Friday afternoon, CCTV cited President Trump’s move on Thursday to delay Washington’s new tariffs by two weeks so that they would take effect after trade talks scheduled for early October.

Depending on the amount of agricultural products exempted, China’s move could be warmly welcomed by Mr. Trump. Some farmers in the United States have been hit hard by tariffs imposed by Beijing on American goods, a retaliation against the White House’s mounting tariffs on Chinese goods. The 2020 presidential election is approaching, and the farming vote is critical in some of the states that supported Mr. Trump in 2016.

The move could also help China with its own problems. Food inflation has been rising as Chinese authorities battle an epidemic of swine fever, which has forced China to cull more than a million pigs. Pork is a staple of the Chinese diet.

The announcement followed signals that China was moving toward resuming purchases of American agricultural products. On Thursday an American soybean industry association said that China had purchased between 600,000 to 1 million metric tons of soybeans for shipment in October.

On Wednesday, in another move toward easing tensions, China published a short list of products to be spared from retaliatory tariffs on American-made goods, including cancer drugs, lubricants and pesticides. But those items are less central to the trade fight. Chinese purchases of American agricultural products make up a significant chunk of its imports from the United States.

Trade tensions between China and the United States had worsened in recent months, following the collapse of talks in May. But senior officials of both governments are set to meet in Washington early next month amid rising economic worries in both countries

At a news conference on Thursday, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce indicated that the government was considering making concessions in order to pave the way for more trade talks.

Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about purchases of American soybeans and pork, said the spokesman, Gao Feng.

“We hope the two sides would move in the same direction, take practical actions and provide a sound environment for the trade talks, and it would be good for the two countries, and for the world,” Mr. Gao said.

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With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINATRADE-promo-facebookJumbo With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Soybeans International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

WASHINGTON — The trade war between the United States and China showed signs of easing on Thursday, as China reportedly made its first large purchase in months of American soybeans after President Trump agreed to briefly delay his next round of tariffs.

A trade deal between the two sides is not imminent, and deep divisions remain. But after weeks of escalating tariffs that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades, both countries appeared eager this week to try to calm tensions before a new round of talks next month.

Mr. Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods, and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying products including pork and soybeans.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said in his announcement.

Jim Sutter, the chief executive of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said he learned on Thursday that China had made a large soybean purchase. Mr. Sutter said that between 12 and 20 cargo ships containing 600,000 to 1 million metric tons of soybeans were being purchased from export terminals in the Pacific Northwest for October shipments to China.

“We’re quite happy to see this apparent thaw in the relationship,” Mr. Sutter said. “We wish we could get trade back to normal.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump increases tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could ultimately reach a deal. U.S. stock indexes climbed before paring back some of their gains. The S&P 500 index was up 0.29 percent at the close of the day, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.17 percent.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Although Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly insist that the trade war is having no effect on the American economy, many of them are eager to calm tensions. They have been reviewing ways to avoid planned tariff increases that would result in the United States taxing nearly every Chinese toy, sneaker and computer by the end of this year.

The president pushed back on reports Thursday that he was vying for an interim deal with China that would resolve only some issues. “I’d rather get the whole deal done,” he said, before adding, “It’s something we would consider, I guess.”

The administration has been weighing whether a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president’s re-election. His advisers have been working for months to secure an agreement strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

Some White House officials, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have argued that the president does not need to seal a deal with China to win over voters. Mr. Kushner and others argue that if the administration can deliver other trade successes, like passing the revised North American trade agreement and announcing a trade deal with Japan, that will be enough to help rally the base, according to people familiar with their thinking.

But economic advisers like Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow have been more attuned to the whipsawing financial markets and some flagging economic indicators and have advocated trying to reach a deal with China.

Discussions between the two countries have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. China has demanded that Mr. Trump remove the tariffs placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as grant leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who is advising the Trump administration in its negotiations, said the Chinese had been paving the way to better relations by toning down their formerly strident criticism of Mr. Trump and announcing several changes, including proposing more free trade zones around China that would feature open financial markets and better access for American companies.

“One swallow does not make a summer,” Mr. Pillsbury said, quoting a proverb. “But these gestures are now more and more numerous.”

Mr. Trump’s economic officials have also said the delay in tariffs could smooth relations.

Mr. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China were discussing an agreement smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

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Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINATRADE-promo-facebookJumbo Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Soybeans International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying agricultural products, the latest sign that both sides are trying to ease tensions that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling trade tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said on Twitter on Thursday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators now plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump’s deadline to increase tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could de-escalate a trade war that has gone on far longer than most investors had expected. The S&P 500 index rose 0.45 percent by noon, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.42 percent.

Mr. Trump’s tariff threats against China have weighed heavily on markets, as the trade war’s effect on the economy has become more obvious in recent months. A manufacturing index published this month showed American factory activity contracting for the first time in three years, while an index of consumer sentiment reflected the biggest decline since 2012, where one in three consumers spontaneously mentioned tariffs.

The signs of easing follow a familiar pattern for Mr. Trump, who has routinely vacillated between punishing China and trying to cool tensions when markets and economic data start to wobble.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have weighed whether striking a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president heading into his re-election. They have been working for months to secure a trade deal that is strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

The details of the trade agreement the United States is discussing with China are tightly held. But they have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. But China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. For their part, the Chinese have demanded the rollback of the tariffs Mr. Trump has placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Mr. Trump’s closest advisers said the delay in tariffs would pave the way for smoother relations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China are discussing an agreement that is smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

Business leaders are hoping for a quick resolution to the trade fight.

Jennifer Safavian, the executive vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents companies including Walmart, Best Buy and Target, said they were hopeful that the delay in American tariffs would lead to productive talks.

“A resolution is sorely needed that puts an end to the tariff increases,” Ms. Safavian said. “Negotiating a path forward that puts an end to the erratic tariff increases and provides some dose of certainty to businesses should be the goal for the October trade discussions.”

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Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Good Will’ to China

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday night that the United States would delay its next planned tariff increase on China by two weeks, as “a gesture of good will” that may help to mend the seriously damaged ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

The United States would delay a planned increase in its 25 percent tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, a move that was made “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st,” the president said in a tweet.

The move comes as trade talks between the United States and China have stagnated, leading to stock market volatility and consternation among businesses that have paid higher prices to import and export goods. Despite months of talks, negotiators still appear far from a comprehensive trade deal that would resolve the Trump administration’s concerns about Chinese economic practices, including its infringement on American intellectual property.

The president’s announcement will delay tariffs by only two weeks. But it could allow negotiators to meet ahead of the next round of tariffs, raising the potential for that increase to be averted.

The two sides were on the cusp of a trade deal this spring, when Chinese leaders decided that some American demands to change their laws infringed too much on Chinese sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has moved ahead with taxing an additional $112 billion of Chinese products, and he was expected to raise tariffs even further on Oct. 1. China imposed additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of American goods in retaliation.

Tensions between the two sides have eased slightly in recent weeks, with Chinese officials agreeing to travel to the United States in October for the next round of talks. On Wednesday, China published a short list of American products that would be exempt from its new tariffs, and said it would announce more exemptions in coming weeks. The exemptions included cancer drugs and certain chemicals that China does not produce domestically, but it did not include American exports like pork and soybeans, which have been targeted by Beijing as punishment for Mr. Trump’s tariffs.

In remarks in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Mr. Trump greeted the exemptions as a sign that China would soon compromise, saying that the trade war “was only going to get worse” and “they want to make a deal.”

“They took tariffs off, certain types,” he said. “I think it was a gesture. It was a big move. People were shocked. I wasn’t shocked.”

On other fronts, the Trump administration continues to move ahead with more stringent treatment of China. The administration has drafted an executive order that would increase inspections of mailed packages, in an effort to crack down on shipments of counterfeit goods and deadly drugs from foreign nations including China.

The order would empower the United States Postal Service to increase inspections of small packages that arrive in the country by air, according to several people familiar with the draft, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly. That would help to close a loophole that has allowed dangerous drugs like the opioid fentanyl and other contraband to pass into the United States unchecked.

The measure is not aimed specifically at China. But Mr. Trump has often accused China of failing to stop shipments of fentanyl from flowing into the United States. Mr. Trump said late last month that he was directing the Postal Service and private American companies like FedEx, Amazon and UPS to search packages from China for fentanyl and refuse delivery. On Sept. 1, Mr. Trump placed more tariffs on Chinese imports as punishment for Beijing’s failure to stop fentanyl shipments and its refusal to buy more agricultural goods from the United States.

“Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop — it didn’t,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet last month, referring to Xi Jinping, China’s president.

The executive order would apply solely to the Postal Service, not private companies like FedEx or UPS. The order is drafted to apply to all countries, though the effects would fall most heavily on China, a major source of both counterfeit products and fentanyl as well as small packages shipped into the United States.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11DC-TRADE--1-articleLarge Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Good Will’ to China United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Postal Service (US) International Trade and World Market fentanyl Executive Orders and Memorandums Economic Conditions and Trends Counterfeit Merchandise China

The executive order drafted by the Trump administration would increase inspections of packages mailed through the United States Postal Service but would not apply to private companies like FedEx or UPS.CreditChristopher Lee/Bloomberg

Regarding the trade talks, China and the United States appear to still have substantive differences. Chinese officials have emphasized recent changes they have made to laws governing foreign investment and intellectual property, rather than discussing the more significant changes the Trump administration has demanded.

Mr. Trump has ordered American companies out of China and expressed satisfaction at the damage his tariffs are wreaking on its economy.

Business leaders say they are already struggling under the tariffs, and predict lower profits and wage cuts if further levies — more are set for December — go into place. A poll by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai published Wednesday said the trade war was weighing on its members’ projections for revenue growth, optimism about the future and future investment plans. Moody’s Analytics estimates that the trade war has already cost 300,000 American jobs, a toll that could increase to nearly 450,000 by the end of this year and nearly 900,000 jobs by the end of next year, assuming Mr. Trump’s planned tariff increases go into effect.

In recent months, some of the focus has shifted away from the terms of the trade deal itself to whether there can be an interim agreement that would involve Chinese purchases of American agricultural products and smooth over relations between the countries.

Chinese officials and their contacts have floated the idea of restarting agricultural purchases, in return for the United States postponing further tariff increases and offering some relief for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that has been blacklisted from buying American products, several people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Trump has been deeply frustrated by China’s refusal to purchase American agricultural products in recent months. The move would help the president by buoying a constituency that is important for him politically and also increasingly opposed to the trade war.

But such an interim agreement has also proved elusive. The president and his advisers are increasingly aware of the national security risk posed by Huawei, and cognizant that they would face criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike if they relent. Companies have submitted more than 120 applications to the Commerce Department to supply certain nonsensitive products to Huawei, but no applications have yet been approved.

American officials may consider removing some tariffs in return for economic concessions from China, but they are unlikely to do so for agricultural purchases, Mr. Trump’s allies say.

The Chinese, meanwhile, know that agricultural purchases would reduce the political pressure on Mr. Trump and potentially increase his chances of re-election, and they are not likely to trade away this source of leverage easily, people familiar with their thinking said.

At a Senate hearing Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries were discussing soybean purchases, but pushed back on suggestions that the United States would be easily bought off.

“I’ve been accused at times of just wanting to sell soybeans. That’s not what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Mnuchin told lawmakers in the hearing. “We want to make sure that China treats our farmers fairly and doesn’t retaliate against the farmers in an unfair way.”

“As part of any discussion, we are talking about ag purchases,” he told reporters after the hearing. “That’s very important to us, defending our farmers.”

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