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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "China" (Page 83)

The Murder Case That Lit the Fuse in Hong Kong

HONG KONG — Before the mass street protests, the tear gas and the clashes with the police, before the government went all out for legislation that could threaten Hong Kong’s special status in China, and then abruptly backed down, a pregnant young woman went on a romantic getaway to Taiwan.

Poon Hiu-wing, 20, never returned to Hong Kong from that Valentine’s Day trip last year, but her boyfriend, Chan Tong-kai, 19, did. He would later tell the Hong Kong police that he had strangled her, stuffed her body in a suitcase and dumped it in a thicket of bushes near a subway station in Taipei.

It was just a local crime story at first, the details dribbling out in the tabloid press: a selfie of the couple on Facebook, grainy security camera footage, the circumstances of their last argument.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 92f7663de42443a3b30ff2589f6d3b13-articleLarge The Murder Case That Lit the Fuse in Hong Kong Taiwan Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

Chan Tong-kai, left, with his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing.

Then this past February, nearly a year after Mr. Chan’s arrest, the Hong Kong government cited the case to propose legislation that would allow the city to transfer criminal suspects to Taiwan and other places with which it lacks an extradition treaty — including mainland China.

Seizing on the sensational crime as Exhibit A in a rushed campaign to push through the measure, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and her superiors in the Chinese leadership seemed confident they had a winning strategy.

As it turned out, they badly underestimated public fear and suspicion of Beijing’s encroachment on this semiautonomous former British colony. The gambit provoked one of Hong Kong’s largest protests in decades while also revitalizing the territory’s beleaguered pro-democracy opposition.

In a rare retreat for President Xi Jinping’s hard-line government, Mrs. Lam finally yielded to the pressure on Saturday, suspending her push for the legislation while resisting demands to withdraw it completely and resign.

From the start, critics labeled the extradition plan a “Trojan horse” that would allow Beijing to target political dissidents and others in Hong Kong who ran afoul of party officials.

As popular outrage spread, Mrs. Lam and her allies stuck to the script, arguing that Hong Kong needed the bill to bring Mr. Chan to justice — even after the authorities in Taiwan made clear that was not true. Taiwanese officials said as early as May that they would not seek Mr. Chan’s extradition under the proposed legislation.

Their objection echoed that of the people of Hong Kong: The courts and security forces in mainland China, all controlled by the ruling Communist Party, could not be trusted.

Mrs. Lam’s repeated invocation of the Poon family’s grief was seen as just “political opportunism at its worst,” said Dennis Kwok, an opposition lawmaker.

Ms. Poon had enrolled in a school that offered cooking and beautician classes. Mr. Chan was studying business. They met in July 2017 while working part time at a shop.

Before the couple set off for Taiwan last year, she gushed on Facebook, “He said I am his first and last girlfriend.”

The Purple Garden Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, where Ms. Poon and Mr. Chan stayed last year.CreditDavid Chang/EPA, via Shutterstock

They spent Valentine’s Day together in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, but two days later had a fight that stretched into the early morning.

Ms. Poon had bought a pink suitcase at one of Taipei’s famed night markets, and they argued about how their luggage should be packed, Mr. Chan would later tell investigators, according to The South China Morning Post.

Then, according to the account he provided the police, Ms. Poon revealed that an ex-boyfriend was the father of the child she was pregnant with, and showed Mr. Chan a video of her having sex with another man.

In a rage, Mr. Chan hit her head against a wall, struggled with her on the floor of their hotel room for about 10 minutes and strangled her, he said. He stuffed her body into a suitcase and went to sleep.

When Ms. Poon failed to return home, her father started a frantic search. Mr. Chan told him the couple had had an argument and “went our separate ways,” according to Taiwan News. The police in Hong Kong questioned Mr. Chan, and he told them the same.

But then the authorities in Taiwan pulled surveillance footage that showed Mr. Chan struggling to drag a pink suitcase out of their hotel.

Police detectives in Hong Kong questioned him again. This time, he confessed and disclosed the location of her body, a field near the Zhuwei train station on the northern outskirts of Taipei. The police found it that night.

But the Hong Kong police could not charge Mr. Chan with murder for a crime committed in Taiwan. Instead, he was held and eventually convicted on money laundering charges for using Ms. Poon’s credit cards after her death.

In April, a court in Hong Kong sentenced him to 29 months in prison. With time served while awaiting trial and good behavior, he could be released as soon as October.

An autopsy indicated Ms. Poon had been four to five months pregnant.

Violent crime is relatively rare in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the case received extensive coverage by local news outlets when Mr. Chan was first arrested.

Some reports noted it might be difficult to prosecute him on murder charges because of international red tape, but for months, there was no sign the case would be at the center of an international dispute.

Then, in December, prosecutors in Taiwan obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Chan.

The government said it had reached out three times to the authorities in Hong Kong to discuss how he might be extradited. All three requests went unanswered, according to Chiu Chui-cheng, a deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the agency responsible for policy toward China.

There were two interrelated problems: China does not recognize the government of Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory. And Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, does not have an extradition agreement with Taiwan.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has become the focal point of rising public anger over the proposed extradition law.CreditAnthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Her government submitted papers to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council that cited the killing in proposing legislation that would allow extraditions on a “case-by-case” basis to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks a formal extradition agreement.

The plan covered Taiwan — but also mainland China. And that was a big deal.

Hong Kong had never allowed extraditions to mainland China before — a safeguard agreed upon when Britain returned the territory and Beijing promised it a high degree of autonomy. (The measure prohibits extradition to any part of China, which complicates any deal with Taiwan because of Beijing’s claim of sovereignty over the democratic, self-governing island.)

And yet Mrs. Lam sought to sidestep the legislature’s regular committee process and put the proposal on a fast track with an unusually short 20-day public review.

“The parents of the victim have not stopped writing letters to the government,” Mrs. Lam told reporters, according to Hong Kong Free Press. “There were five addressed to me. They were still writing this January. If you have read these letters from Mr. and Mrs. Poon, you would also feel that we must try to help them.”

She added, “If we act too carefully, and slowly consult society or issue consultation papers, then I am afraid we would not be able to help with this special case.”

Appearing at a news conference in February in sunglasses, a mask and a baseball hat, Ms. Poon’s mother urged action, too.

“I cannot sleep at night,” she said. “The only way I can help my daughter is to help her get justice.”

But the effort to focus discussion on Ms. Poon’s killing soon fell apart as critics raised an alarm about the introduction of extraditions to mainland China — and asked why a more limited arrangement could not be worked out for Taiwan alone or even just in Mr. Chan’s case.

Opposition built steadily. Thousands attended a protest against the measure in March, and in April, tens of thousands rallied against it outside the Legislative Council. Lawmakers arguing about the bill scuffled in the legislature; one was carried out on a stretcher.

Mrs. Lam, a career servant who was installed by Beijing in 2017, assured the public that the legislation would not apply to political crimes. But even within her insular council of advisers — like herself, unelected — there was unease. The territory’s top finance officials, for example, were dismayed when they learned the bill would also allow Beijing to begin requesting freezes on assets in Hong Kong.

Then in May, Taiwan dramatically undercut Mrs. Lam’s argument by declaring it would not seek Mr. Chan’s extradition even if the bill passed.

“Without the removal of threats to the personal safety of nationals going to or living in Hong Kong caused by being extradited to mainland China,” said Mr. Chiu, the deputy minister, “we will not agree to the case-by-case transfer proposed by the Hong Kong authorities.”

The police used tear gas during clashes with demonstrators on Wednesday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Mrs. Lam has said she decided to pursue the extradition law herself, without prodding from President Xi or other Chinese leaders. But China’s propaganda outlets took a hard line against the protesters, accusing them of conspiring with China’s enemies abroad, and several senior Communist Party officials in Beijing endorsed the legislation.

That helped transform the debate into a broader fight over the erosion of civil liberties under Chinese rule — and Hong Kong’s future as a global financial center.

For five years, since the failure of the Umbrella Movement demanding free elections, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition had been on the defensive. But the extradition bill gave it a chance to rally the public against something easy to understand: the possibility of being arrested and sent to mainland China.

As many as a million people in a city of about 7.4 million marched against the legislation last weekend, one of the largest protests in Hong Kong’s history.

Even after the repudiation from Taiwan, Mrs. Lam continued to invoke Mr. Chan to defend the bill, acknowledging only that there would be “latent difficulties” extraditing him under the measure if it was passed.

“I continue to hold fast to the belief that it is the right thing to do,” she said in a televised interview on Wednesday, as tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the legislature and police officers forced them back with batons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

If the bill is not adopted, she added, addressing the victim’s parents by name, “I cannot promise you, Mr. and Mrs. Poon, that the criminal who murdered your daughter would get his punishment through the law.”

There was a whiff of a desperation to the remarks, and as the opposition called on the public to take to the streets again this weekend, a few members of the pro-Beijing establishment in Hong Kong abandoned Mrs. Lam and called on her to postpone the legislation.

On Friday, she quietly traveled across the border to the mainland city of Shenzhen, where she consulted with senior Chinese officials. Some had flown in from Beijing, and a few of the party’s top experts on Hong Kong were there, too. (Mr. Xi was out of the country, celebrating his birthday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a regional summit meeting in Tajikistan.)

There was a consensus: Given the public’s reaction, Mrs. Lam should delay the legislation indefinitely.

Announcing the decision on Saturday, she raised Mr. Chan’s case again in defending the measure but finally acknowledged that Taiwan’s position meant there was no rush to pass it. “We will adopt the most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements,” she said.

Mrs. Lam’s argument failed to resonate, in part because many believe Hong Kong can find a way to ensure Mr. Chan faces trial without opening the door to extraditions to the mainland.

China and Taiwan have for years sent criminal suspects to each other, for example, even though they do not formally recognize each other, and some lawmakers believe Hong Kong should establish a similar arrangement with Taiwan.

Doing so with Taiwan and not mainland China, however, would be politically challenging.

Julian Ku, a law professor at Hofstra University, said it would mean acknowledging that Taiwan’s courts are more trustworthy and fair to criminal defendants than China’s are.

“While this is undoubtedly true by almost every measurement,” he said, “it would be really embarrassing for the Hong Kong government to admit that truth.”

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

Oh my: China, Hong Kong leader back down on extradition bill

Westlake Legal Group lam-xi Oh my: China, Hong Kong leader back down on extradition bill Xi Jinping Tiananmen Square The Blog Hong Kong extradition China Carrie Lam

Even China has a limit to bad publicity, it seems. China had attempted to push changes to extradition in Hong Kong that would have given Beijing carte blanche to seize anyone in the autonomous enclave, even people just passing through it. Sustained and massive protests have derailed those efforts — for now, anyway:

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, in a dramatic retreat after anger over the bill triggered the city’s biggest and most violent street protests in decades. …

“After repeated internal deliberations over the last two days, I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more explanation work and listen to different views of society,” Lam told a news conference.

In her first public appearance or comments since Wednesday, she said there was no deadline, effectively suspending the process indefinitely.

Political opponents called for the bill to be scrapped completely. Protest organizers said they would go ahead with another rally on Sunday to demand Lam step down.

The about-face was one of the most significant political turnarounds under public pressure by the Hong Kong government since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, and it threw into question Lam’s ability to continue to lead the city.

The proposed law would have been so broad as to make vulnerable even foreigners just connecting through Hong Kong to flights elsewhere, at least theoretically. It would have destroyed any sense of autonomy in Hong Kong; anyone who didn’t toe Xi Jingping’s line would have found themselves on the fast train to Beijing, pour encourager les autres. The people of Hong Kong knew exactly what this bill would do, and what exactly it was intended to do.

Lam wouldn’t have sounded the retreat without orders from Beijing. She’s too much their toady to suddenly discover a backbone, as I noted here earlier. Sure enough, China issued a supportive statement of Lam’s action, but warned against further violence:

The central government in Beijing has expressed its support, respect and understanding for Hong Kong’s decision to suspend an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday. …

The central government also condemned violent acts in Hong Kong and supported the former British colony’s police, Xinhua said.

Most of the violence thus far seems to be coming from the police, which used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the highly embarrassing crowds. Estimates of the size ran over a million protesters, which would mean that one out of every seven residents had gone to the streets to demand an end to the extradition bill. China faced a humiliating revolt brought on by a big miscalculation about the people of Hong Kong, who had launched similar protests about Beijing’s encroachment five years earlier.

Of course, they faced a similarly embarrassing protest 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square. They put that one down brutally, sending tanks into the protest against unarmed citizens, resulting in a death toll that may run into the thousands. What’s different this time? The Tiananmen protest took place in Beijing itself, for one thing, where China can easily call on that level of force. Hong Kong is a different situation, made even more singular because of the treaties that turned sovereignty back over to Beijing. The UK and the EU reminded China of its obligations publicly and energetically over the past week in order to signal that they were watching developments very carefully. A military seizure of Hong Kong could have touched off the kind of conflict China doesn’t need at the moment, especially while fighting a trade war with the US already and dealing with a slowing economy.

China must think it a better strategy to wait for the world to lose interest in the issue. The protesters have an answer for that, too:

Hong Kong activists say they’re not satisfied with a decision to shelve unpopular extradition legislation and still plan a mass protest on Sunday.

A leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, Jimmy Sham, called on Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdraw the bill entirely and to apologize for the use of potentially deadly force by police in clashes earlier this week.

Lam defended the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other measures by police as necessary and said she wanted no more violence.

Lam was trying to burn down the village to save it … for Xi. The villagers had other ideas, and they still do.

The post Oh my: China, Hong Kong leader back down on extradition bill appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group lam-xi-300x173 Oh my: China, Hong Kong leader back down on extradition bill Xi Jinping Tiananmen Square The Blog Hong Kong extradition China Carrie Lam  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bribes and Backdoor Deals Help Foreign Firms Sell to China’s Hospitals

BEIJING — A trip to the sauna. A golf club membership. Luxury watches. Neatly packed bricks of red Chinese bills worth $220,000.

The bribes lined the pockets of health care officials across China. Their purpose: to get public hospitals to buy millions of dollars’ worth of sophisticated medical equipment made by foreign companies like General Electric, Siemens, Philips and Toshiba.

A review of dozens of Chinese court cases and internal corporate documents as well as interviews with company insiders showed how foreign firms have become deeply enmeshed in the corruption pervading China’s health care industry. The New York Times reviewed more than a dozen cases in which employees of G.E., Philips and Siemens testified to bribing meagerly paid public hospital officials. In many other cases, Western companies signed off on deals involving third-party contractors who paid bribes and sought kickbacks. Sometimes, the companies continued to sign off on deals involving contractors who admitted to bribery in court.

In one case filed in 2016, a hospital administrator named Wu Dagong was offered more than a $1 million by two G.E. sales representatives to secure the sale of a CT scanner for $4 million. Mr. Wu also took a bribe — the $220,000 in bricks of bills packed in a suitcase — from a G.E. sales contractor, who walked with Mr. Wu to his car and left the suitcase in the trunk. Mr. Wu was sentenced to 15 years.

Siemens, G.E., Philips and others say hospitals often force them to sell through a series of middlemen, where much of the bribery takes place. They said they comply with Chinese and international laws and terminate employees and contractors who they find out are directly involved with wrongdoing.

“We are committed to integrity, compliance and the rule of law in every country in which we do business,” said Tara DiJulio, a G.E. spokeswoman.

China’s nearly 1.4 billion people ultimately bear the cost of the corruption. Salespeople inflated prices for equipment to fund bribes and kickbacks, the Chinese court documents show. They also refused to undercut one another’s pricing, the documents showed, inflating prices for hospitals by 50 percent or even more.

As China grew richer, its people began to yearn for sophisticated smartphones, fresher food and better health care, creating vast business opportunities for Western companies. But China’s growth often outstripped its ability to identify corruption or enforce its own laws. In some industries, like health care, that has created a culture of bribery and corruption.

China is expanding its social safety net and faces pressure to treat an aging population growing increasingly susceptible to chronic diseases. China will spend $1 trillion on health care annually by 2020, according to a McKinsey report.

Foreign companies like G.E. and Siemens dominate the market for CT scanners, M.R.I.s and other equipment China needs to detect cancer and other chronic diseases, though local rivals are catching up. Last year, China imported more than $22 billion worth of medical devices.

“Corruption is endemic in the health care sector in China,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. He said one factor was lower salaries for doctors and health care administrators compared with peers in the private sector.

“The direct result,” Mr. Huang added, “is that the patients will pay more.”

Officials in China and elsewhere have tried for years to stamp it out. Siemens promised in 2008 to scrutinize deals for graft, including sales of medical equipment in China. Chinese officials five years ago ordered GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug maker, to pay nearly $500 million for bribing doctors and hospitals.

Then, last year, an investigation by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung highlighted dozens of recent Chinese cases in which Siemens employees and sales representatives were accused of bribery. In its own review of court cases involving Siemens, Philips, G.E. and Toshiba, The Times found that one or more layers of middlemen often worked with hospital directors to set prices that included bribes and kickbacks. A review of more than a dozen recent deals from Siemens and G.E. shows that the price was at least 50 percent higher or even double when they involved a third-party distributor, according to hospital and corporate documents.

“Layering a distributor or vendor in between creates more space and creates the possibility for those vehicles to harbor slush funds or falsify documents along the way and funnel bribes,” said Wade Weems, a former United States prosecutor and lawyer for Kobre & Kim, a law firm.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155981946_21b9118a-fbc8-4384-b6d6-e1aef80eb501-articleLarge Bribes and Backdoor Deals Help Foreign Firms Sell to China’s Hospitals TOSHIBA Corporation Siemens AG Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) Philips N.V. International Trade and World Market hospitals General Electric Company Frauds and Swindling Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (1977) Ethics and Official Misconduct Corruption (Institutional) China Bribery and Kickbacks

An X-ray exam at Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai. China’s rise created vast business opportunities for Western companies that offer the trappings of middle-class life. CreditYuyang Liu for The New York Times

In the cases reviewed by The Times, the Western companies were not accused of wrongdoing, as prosecutors kept their focus on corruption by Chinese officials.

In one case, a Siemens sales representative testified in 2016 to paying nearly $900,000 to a hospital director in the city of Qinzhou to secure the sale of a Siemens M.R.I. machine. The Siemens representative, named only Jin in court documents, shoved stacks of cash into boxes and delivered them to the trunk of the car of the hospital director, Chen Fengkun. Mr. Chen was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Mr. Jin got three years.

The case was covered in detail in a state-owned newspaper called The Legal Evening News, which pointed to 19 other bribery cases involving Siemens employees or contractors from 2014 to 2015.

In another case from 2016, Gao Xuezhong, the president of a hospital in Anhui Province, was convicted of taking bribes from a Siemens sales contractor and from a Siemens sales manager named in court as Mr. An. The bribes included cash as well as homes for Mr. Gao’s wife and for his daughter. At one point, Mr. Gao and Mr. An marked up the price of a $1.3 million M.R.I. machine to $1.7 million. They and intermediaries pocketed the difference.

Mr. Gao was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mr. An’s name appeared in another bribery case around the same time.

Stefan Schmidt, a spokesman for Siemens Healthineers, the health division of Siemens, said that it opened an investigation into Mr. An but that he refused to cooperate and resigned.

Siemens trains and monitors its third-party sales representatives, Mr. Schmidt said. “Whenever we identify misconduct on the part of distributors,” he said, “we end our relationship with them.”

Some of those firms remain involved anyway.

To complete the Anhui sale, Mr. Gao and Mr. An used an importing firm called Anhui Yameiya Import and Export Trade Company. Yameiya, which is based in Anhui, has been named in several other corruption cases involving equipment made by Siemens and G.E. The company declined to answer questions.

China is expanding its social safety net and faces pressure to treat an aging population growing increasingly susceptible to chronic diseasesCreditYuyang Liu for The New York Times

Siemens said that it terminated its relationship with Yameiya when it learned of the cases in 2014. But Yameiya is involved in dozens of recent transactions as a middle agent for Siemens, G.E., Philips and Toshiba equipment, according to publicly available procurement documents from Chinese hospitals. Just a few months ago, Yameiya bought a Siemens M.R.I. machine from an authorized dealer. In another deal a year ago, Yameiya sold a G.E. device to a hospital in Anhui Province.

Siemens, Philips, Toshiba and G.E. said that Chinese law required hospitals to hire third-party companies to import foreign equipment and that they had no say in who was involved. “Being a responsible company, everyone in Philips is expected to always act with integrity,” said Steve Klink, a company spokesman.

Often the bidding is just a show. A court last year convicted Xiao Feng, an administrator at an unidentified Beijing hospital, of taking $330,000 in bribes to buy Toshiba and Siemens equipment. A second administrator identified as Dong in court documents testified that the hospital had already chosen the device and “the bidding is simply a formality that makes the procurement process legal and legitimate.”

Companies know the bids are rigged, said an authorized seller of Toshiba products identified as Han in court documents. “This is an unspoken industrial rule,” Mr. Han testified during Mr. Xiao’s trial. “We cooperate with each other.”

Canon Medical Systems Group, which bought Toshiba’s medical device business in 2016, has “a zero-tolerance policy toward bribery and unethical business practices,” said Hiroko Eno, a spokeswoman.

That cooperation can lead to higher prices for hospitals, say health care and compliance experts.

Public bidding documents indicate device prices differ sharply between deals with third-party brokers and direct sales. When Siemens won a bid to sell an M.R.I. machine to the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing in 2016, the price was $2,800. In another deal, in which Siemens sold the M.R.I. machine through a third-party broker called Chongqing Kangtian Medical Equipment, the price was $4,700.

A woman who picked up the phone at Kangtian and declined to give her name said the deal went through normal bidding processes. She declined to answer further questions or refer them to executives.

Using a third-party sales force does not insulate a foreign company from allegations of wrongdoing. Chinese law requires the companies to sign off on the deals through an authorization letter. Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States, companies can be held responsible for the conduct of lower-level distributors.

“If there is a circumstance under which the difference between a direct sale and third-party sale is double, that’s a red flag,” said Richard Bistrong, who went to prison for bribing foreign officials and now advises companies trying to beef up compliance.

Mr. Schmidt, of Siemens, said that the publicized price for a third-party deal “does not always tell the whole story because additional contract components contribute to the price,” including services and supplies.

Meng-Lin Liu, the former chief compliance officer for Siemens’s health care unit in China, said device makers were well aware of the bribery. “It’s a conspiracy scheme,” said Mr. Liu, who said he was fired for speaking out about corruption in the China subsidiary. He lost a whistle-blower retaliation lawsuit in New York against Siemens in 2013.

“Everyone knows. The problem is how to make people speak up. Because everyone lives on this system, no one dares to report others,” added Mr. Liu, who also goes by Louis Liu.

Siemens said Mr. Liu’s allegations were investigated and “found to have no merit.”

Meng-Lin Liu, the former chief compliance officer for Siemens in China, said device makers were well aware of the bribery. “It’s a conspiracy scheme,” said Mr. Liu, who lost a whistle-blower retaliation lawsuit in New York against Siemens in 2013.CreditYuyang Liu for The New York Times

The Chinese market is shifting. Beijing hopes to increase the number of domestically produced devices in public hospitals by half by next year. The trade war with the United States could also make American equipment less competitive.

Still, as long as China remains a fast-growing market, say experts, a culture of graft could linger among China’s hospitals.

“These companies think they’ve got their nose clean because the corruption is being done by an agent in the middle,” said Peter Humphrey, a British private investigator who was detained in China while working for GlaxoSmithKline during its bribery investigation.

“I’ve seen so much of this nonsense,” he added. “This is all window dressing.”

Elsie Chen contributed research.

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Another Pinhole In The Dike

Westlake Legal Group B9ECA2BB-EB19-4584-B406-2FD87E2AD3DA-620x413 Another Pinhole In The Dike US-China trade talks Uncategorized trade Tariffs republicans Politics Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Chinese military threat China Trade Talks China trade imbalance China Allow Media Exception

Credit: Pixabay

Another Pinhole In The Dike

Previously (here and here) I’ve opined that a move away from China by U.S. businesses might be in the offing. It looks like more pieces might be coming together for such a move. In a recent article over at American Thinker, Chriss Street writes

Just hours after Simon Rabinovitch, Asia editor for the Economist, claimed damage to global supply chains from the Sino-U.S. Trade War may be “irreversible” and push the world into recession, Bloomberg reported that an executive of Foxconn, Apple’s Taiwan-based primary assembly partner, has enough non-China capacity for all iPhone production.

This is huge. Although an interruption in avocados from Mexico is tolerable, stopping the flow of the latest iPhones to market would be seen as horrific in some quarters. Although Apple has not publicly indicated that a move away from China is in the works, the very idea that Apple has enough capacity elsewhere, puts paid to the cacophony of voices predicting catastrophic and irreversible damage to the markets.

Once again, a single data point isn’t indicative of any trend. However, it looks like the data points are starting to accumulate. How long before this pinhole is joined by others sufficient to collapse the dam? Stay tuned.

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

The post Another Pinhole In The Dike appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group B9ECA2BB-EB19-4584-B406-2FD87E2AD3DA-300x200 Another Pinhole In The Dike US-China trade talks Uncategorized trade Tariffs republicans Politics Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Chinese military threat China Trade Talks China trade imbalance China Allow Media Exception  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Biden: I’m pledging right now not to use disinformation or accept foreign government help in the campaign

Westlake Legal Group jb-2 Biden: I’m pledging right now not to use disinformation or accept foreign government help in the campaign vow Trump The Blog Russia pledge Europe disinformation China biden

He’ll be applauded for this because it’s high-minded and scores a point on Trump, but if China knocks on his door during the campaign and offers him Trump’s tax returns and Biden says no — and then loses — the left will never forgive him. We’ll be stuck with insufferable progressive thinkpieces about how Democrats don’t “fight” hard enough until the end of time.

Granted, we’ll be stuck with those thinkpieces if the Democrats lose next year no matter what. But still.

It’s not every day that the chairman of the FEC takes to social media to warn the president, publicly, that it sounds like he’s “prepared to commit a felony to get reelected,” to borrow Andrew Napolitano’s phrase. But here we are.

I wonder if there’s a prediction market yet on who’s most likely to be named special counsel in a second Trump term to investigate the president’s possibly felonious acceptance of oppo research from a foreign power. My money’s on Chris Wray, who’s all but certain to be the former director of the FBI by then.

No, I’m kidding. Just try to imagine Bill Barr authorizing an investigation of Trump. That’s why the president felt emboldened to say what he said a few days ago about the possibility of new collusion, I assume. He believes that he finally has an AG who’ll protect him. Who’s going to prosecute him for taking Russian dirt on Joe Biden or whoever?

The only wrinkle is that, once we’re past Election Day, Pelosi’s rationale for holding off on impeachment — and Trump’s rationale for welcoming it — will evaporate. Right now they’re both calculating that impeaching POTUS will galvanize Republican voters while achieving nothing for Democrats. If, however, he wins a second term and evidence emerges that the campaign took info from a foreign government, Pelosi might view impeachment as a way to delegitimize his reelection and to put Republicans back on their heels fresh off their big win. Odds that he’ll be impeached before the end of his first term are low; odds that he’ll be impeached as a lame duck are waaaaay higher. If only for legacy reasons: Given all of their complaints about his legal and ethical practices, it’s hard to imagine Dems letting Trump leave office after a two-term presidency with no formal action ever having been taken against him. Either he’ll leave as a one-termer or they’ll find some reason to impeach him in 2021.

He walked back his comments a bit this morning on “Fox & Friends,” incidentally, saying that “of course” he’d turn over foreign intelligence to the FBI — after he looked at it. How else could he know what’s in it, after all? The question, though, is whether he’d use that intelligence to help his campaign (and whether the intelligence was obtained illegally, a la hacking.) That’s what Biden’s pledging not to do here.

The post Biden: I’m pledging right now not to use disinformation or accept foreign government help in the campaign appeared first on Hot Air.

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Hong Kong Protests: China’s Kobayashi Maru

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Hong Kong Protests: China’s Kobayashi Maru

On it’s face, the protests currently disrupting government operations in Hong Kong would seem to be a single issue event—extradition of “Hong Kongers,” to Mainland China for trials. There’s a lot more to it than that. The BBC has produced a nicely done explainer for those of us unfamiliar or not up to date on Hong Kong and its relationship with the People’s Republic of China. I highly recommend a quick scan before proceeding further.

By many accounts, it appears the local government in Hong Kong is losing or has outright lost control. Several days of protests, some violent have forced the legislature to temporarily stay proposed legislation that would allow the PRC government on the mainland to extradite. An online acquaintance and Red State plank owner gives some interesting perspective

Undergirding it all is real citizen and civil-society resistance.

The array of Hong Kong institutions giving ordinary citizens time and inspiration to take to the streets are the small businesses, the local bureaucracies, and the unions. The teachers union is supporting a strike. The transit union is supporting bus drivers who deliberately slow service in protest. The municipal subway is operating for free, allowing protesting citizens to shuttle away from arrest and toward confrontation with power as needed. Shopkeepers are giving out free water and aid to protestors and the injured. Local entrepreneurs are turning out with their employees and staff to defend their rights. 

The Communist Mandarins in Beijing can’t allow this to go on for long.

It will give the tottering authority of Carrie Lam and her government a short while longer to act. Then, when they fail, it will be time for the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong to execute the core mission of the PLA since its founding: attacking its fellow Chinese.

Like aspiring the aspiring Star Fleet Officers undergoing “the Kobayashi Maru—no win simulation, the PRC leadership really has no good options. Hong Kong is a huge economic driver for them. The island is supposed to by treaty, have limited autonomy. Treaties are nice, but the real reason Beijing allows any autonomy at all, is to keep that revenue flowing.
Allowing too much autonomy abdicates government control.

If tanks show up in the streets, there will be an unintended consequence for the PRC government. Americans who are currently on the fence about tariffs will likely now come down on the President’s side. Even staunch opponents will likely stand mute on the issue to avoid the appearance of siding with a Government busily engaged in running its citizens over with tanks.

I have no doubt that this will accelerate the current trickle of business moves away from China. If it goes too far, President Trump will in all likelihood, direct punitive sanctions. If China’s Most Favored Nation trade status goes away, it’s game over for them.

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

The post Hong Kong Protests: China’s Kobayashi Maru appeared first on RedState.

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Distrusting Both Iran and U.S., Europe Urges ‘Maximum Restraint’

BRUSSELS — Speaking of the attacks this week on fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman, President Trump said flatly on Friday that “Iran did do it.” European governments may also think that Iran is probably to blame, but their distrust of the Trump administration and its hawkish policy toward Tehran have led them to measure their words, and call for de-escalation and “maximum restraint.”

Mindful of Washington’s exaggerations and outright misrepresentations of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, European leaders are asking the Trump administration for hard evidence. The last thing they want is to be asked to support another American war in the Middle East that would be highly unpopular with voters.

Europeans are no fans of the Iranian government or its policies in the Middle East, but they are concerned by what they see as the Trump administration’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran — thus their use of maximum restraint. Many critics believe Mr. Trump is succeeding only in creating maximum pressure among hard-line factions in Iran to respond with carefully calibrated attacks that send a message, like those against tankers in a vital passageway for global oil supplies.

Germany wants a careful investigation of the attacks, insisting that “a spiral of escalation must be avoided.” The European Union, in the words of the spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic, has “said repeatedly that the region doesn’t need further escalation, it doesn’t need further destabilization, it doesn’t need further tension.”

Ms. Kocijancic said that European foreign ministers would discuss Iran and other issues at a regular meeting on Monday.

In the absence of hard intelligence, with American agencies notably quiet, European governments — with the possible exception of Britain — are wary about blaming Iran. They are reluctant to accept the White House’s claims at face value, and do not want to provide Washington with any pretext for war.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156030510_53c441c9-bf5e-454c-a501-85d054f427c3-articleLarge Distrusting Both Iran and U.S., Europe Urges ‘Maximum Restraint’ United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Ships and Shipping Saudi Arabia Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Gulf of Oman European Union Europe Defense and Military Forces China Bolton, John R Abe, Shinzo

President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France this month. Europeans are publicly unhappy with Mr. Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Europeans are publicly unhappy with Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal and to reimpose harsh economic sanctions on Iran, including shutting down most of its oil exports. They have continued to support the deal and are trying to ensure that Iran stays within its limits, to avoid tougher sanctions or an act that Israel or the United States would see as justification for war.

More broadly, they are troubled by “the sheer unpredictability of American policy toward Iran,” said Ian Lesser, a former American official who now runs the Brussels headquarters of the German Marshall Fund. “These events are against a backdrop of longstanding anxiety about U.S. policy toward Iran and its aims. When pressed, Europeans are mostly on the same page with Washington about Iran’s behavior. But the difference is over policy, and there is a basic lack of confidence in the discourse with Washington.”

These kinds of attacks are what Europeans predicted when Mr. Trump pulled out of the Iran deal, said Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran expert with the European Council on Foreign Affairs. “Most European governments are surprised how long Iran has played the strategic patience card, especially after the increase in American sanctions in November,” she said.

Assuming Iran is behind these attacks, which is not yet certain, she said, “Europe sees this as a calculated, managed and fairly rational response to continual and increased U.S. sanctions pressure. We’ll keep seeing cycles of this escalation, designed to make everyone in the region nervous.” What worries Europeans, she said, is “the likelihood of missteps, miscalculations.”

The Iranians, having lived with American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, think they understand “the red buttons,” Ms. Geranmayeh said. “But they also need to send signals that the oil embargo is unacceptable, and they need to make Trump realize this, so you do it through rising oil prices and getting his base nervous about another Mideast war in the run-up to the election. But Iranians could get it wrong.”

Nathalie Tocci, a senior adviser to the European foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said, “Before we blame someone, we need credible evidence.” Iranians are deeply rational actors, she said. And for Iran to have attacked a Japanese ship when the Japanese prime minister was in Tehran “is not an especially rational thing to do.”

Ms. Tocci also said that Washington’s policy was having the predictable effect of weakening moderates in Iran and strengthening the hand of hard-liners. As the United States escalates, she said, “the people we work with in Iran are becoming weaker by the day, so we can’t expect retaliatory measures not to take place.”

A young worker in Tehran. The renewed United States sanctions have exacerbated a severe economic crisis in Iran.CreditEbrahim Noroozi/Associated Press

What Europe does not want is Iran breaking the limits of the nuclear deal, which could force Europeans to reimpose their own sanctions.

The Pentagon, United States Central Command and American intelligence agencies all predicted attacks on shipping — sparing American targets and causing no loss of life — as a response to increased American pressure, said Kori Schake, a former Pentagon official who is now deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Iran followed a similar policy in the 1980s, in the context of the Iran-Iraq war, when Washington backed Iraq and United States and British warships escorted tankers through dangerous waters.

“There’s a lot of suspicion in Europe about American motives,” said François Heisbourg, a French defense analyst. “The maritime milieu is especially susceptible to manipulation — remember the Gulf of Tonkin,” a dubious report of naval hostilities that President Lyndon B. Johnson used to escalate the war in Vietnam. And then, he said, are the bitter memories of the Iraq war, which was based on faulty intelligence and badly split Europe.

Those suspicions only deepened Friday, when Japanese shipping executives insisted that their tanker was hit not by a mine, as American officials had said implies, but by a “flying object.”

Mr. Heisbourg said, there are several potential beneficiaries from the attacks, among them Washington hard-liners like the national security adviser, John R. Bolton; “wild ones in Saudi Arabia or in the Emirates or the Revolutionary Guards in Iran”; or anyone who wants higher oil prices.

But what worries many is that Tehran might misjudge Mr. Trump’s stated unwillingness to go to war. “This may lead Iran to miscalculate,” Mr. Heisbourg said. “It may well be that they attacked the tankers because they don’t think America will retaliate.”

That leaves Europeans wondering where the Americans are pushing them.

“As the stakes rise, public opinion will become more important,,” Mr. Heisbourg said, “And European public opinion won’t be favorable to doing anything militarily with Mr. Trump.”

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Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

More about manufacturing jobs
A Weak Jobs Report Poses a New Challenge to Trump: A Slowing Economy

June 7, 2019

With His Job Gone, an Autoworker Wonders, ‘What Am I as a Man?’

May 27, 2019

How Democrats Are, and Aren’t, Challenging the Trump Economic Record

May 26, 2019

Trump’s Washing Machine Tariffs Stung Consumers While Lifting Corporate Profits

April 21, 2019

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

Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

More about manufacturing jobs
A Weak Jobs Report Poses a New Challenge to Trump: A Slowing Economy

June 7, 2019

With His Job Gone, an Autoworker Wonders, ‘What Am I as a Man?’

May 27, 2019

How Democrats Are, and Aren’t, Challenging the Trump Economic Record

May 26, 2019

Trump’s Washing Machine Tariffs Stung Consumers While Lifting Corporate Profits

April 21, 2019

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

Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs

Westlake Legal Group merlin_135250356_534da025-4092-4d41-b86d-676021e49482-facebookJumbo Boost in Factory Jobs Under Trump Favors Sunny Frontiers Over Ailing Hubs United States Politics and Government United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2016 Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

In President Trump’s first two years in office, factory job growth accelerated, an achievement he has been claiming credit for ahead of the 2020 election, particularly in the industrial Midwest. His administration is “restoring American manufacturing,” Mr. Trump told workers at an Ohio factory in March.

Some of the 465,000 factory jobs that the country created in 2017 and 2018 are in the most economically beleaguered counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. But the biggest winners have not been the traditional manufacturing hubs where workers have been hammered this century by outsourcing and automation, federal statistics show.

Instead, factory job creation has flowed to frontiers of the advanced manufacturing economy — like Nevada, home to a Tesla factory that churns out batteries for electric cars, homes and utilities — and oil-patch epicenters like Tulsa, Okla. The strong growth includes large contributions from the booming craft brewing, wine and spirits industries, which the federal government classifies as manufacturing and added nearly 30,000 jobs in that time.

The vast majority of the factory jobs have come in counties that were already adding factory employment before Mr. Trump took office. And a disproportionate share of the expansion was concentrated in prosperous areas like Silicon Valley and Houston.

An analysis of those statistics by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that studies regional inequality and pushes for policies to combat it, reveals a mixed political and economic picture for Mr. Trump. His 2016 victory was forged with upsets in manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he has reveled in blue-collar job growth on his watch.

A combination of tax cuts and deregulation pushed by the Trump administration appears to have fueled a widespread, though possibly temporary, increase in the pace of job creation in manufacturing. Production jobs increased in many more counties in Mr. Trump’s first two years than under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016.

Those gains have started slowing this year, in part under strain from the president’s trade wars with China and other countries. And it appears doubtful that Mr. Trump will achieve his campaign promise of restoring the millions of factory jobs that many states and counties lost over the last two decades.

The United States lost nearly six million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010 as companies moved production to China and other low-cost countries, increased use of machines on factory floors and scaled back operations after the 2008 financial crisis. The economy has regained just under 1.5 million, but not always in the places that lost the most.

The Mountain West and the energy-rich Great Plains have experienced much faster factory job growth than the Great Lakes states that are crucial to Mr. Trump’s hopes of winning a second term. Nearly every state west of the Mississippi added manufacturing jobs faster than the national average in 2017 and 2018, the analysis shows. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were all at or below average. And several Northeastern states, including New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, lost factory jobs.

As a result, Nevada, the Dakotas and Utah have regained the manufacturing jobs they lost after 2000 — and then some. Pennsylvania still has only two-thirds of the factory jobs it had at the turn of the century, and Michigan is down nearly as much. Rhode Island has recovered the fewest production jobs of any state.

Nearly half the counties that had more manufacturing employment in 2018 than in 2010 are in the West. But not all Western counties fared well. Los Angeles County lost more than 11,000 factory jobs and nearby Ventura County nearly 4,000 in Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

Administration officials celebrate job growth in manufacturing — and credit Mr. Trump’s policies — but acknowledge that it has mostly helped more prosperous parts of the country, at least so far.

“If you look, there are a heck of a lot of successful manufacturing parts of the country right now,” Kevin Hassett, the departing chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “But look at where they’re being created.”

Mr. Hassett drew a distinction between “creative destruction” parts of the country, where the Great Recession wiped out jobs but others sprung up to replace them, and “destruction-destruction” parts, where jobs have been slow to return. Recent factory job growth, he said, was “not necessarily disproportionately in the destruction-destruction places.”

Mr. Hassett said many of those left-behind areas would add more factory jobs as a result of the opportunity zone program in the tax overhaul that Mr. Trump signed in 2017, which aims to steer investment to distressed communities.

The list of counties that added the most manufacturing jobs in 2017 and 2018 highlights that divide. It is led by Harris County, Tex., which includes Houston and factories that supply the oil and gas industry. It also includes Alameda County, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Storey County, Nev., east of Reno, which are home to Tesla plants that added jobs after Mr. Trump took office.

Only two of the top 10 counties are in the industrial Midwest: Macomb County, Mich., near Detroit, and Peoria County in western Illinois.

  • Harris County, Tex. 11,592 jobs

  • Storey County, Nev. 10,197

  • Santa Clara County, Calif. 9,909

  • Alameda County, Calif. 9,855

  • Maricopa County, Ariz. 9,674

  • Peoria County, Ill. 8,429

  • Tulsa County, Okla. 8,381

  • Tarrant County, Tex. 6,327

  • Orange County, Calif. 6,242

  • Macomb County, Mich. 5,991

Source: Economic Innovation Group and Labor Department

Nearly half the job gains were in the most prosperous quintile of counties in America, according to the Economic Innovation Group, even though those counties accounted for just 40 percent of the nation’s factory jobs before Mr. Trump took office. And in an indication that many of the gains may be part of long-running economic trends, two-thirds of the new positions were in counties that added jobs from 2010 through 2016.

Still, there are some signs of hope for the counties that the group rates as the most economically distressed quintile. Collectively, they lost factory jobs throughout the Obama administration, but they added more than 20,000 during Mr. Trump’s first two years, with the biggest gains in the Southeast, including Tennessee, the Carolinas, Arkansas and Georgia.

“The manufacturing sector is steadily realigning after the shocks of the early part of this century,” said John Lettieri, the president of the Economic Innovation Group, which came up with the idea for the opportunity zone program. “The West is emerging as a new growth engine for the sector, and manufacturing’s rebound is finally reaching many distressed areas of the country.”

He added, “These gains are real but still fragile.”

The fragility is a result of a global manufacturing slowdown, which many analysts link to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imports from China — among other products — and the escalation of trade tensions with countries around the world.

American manufacturers have added just 13,000 jobs since January, according to the Labor Department, down from an average of 19,000 a month during Mr. Trump’s first two years in office.

“Manufacturing have a trifecta of headwinds in their face: an overhang of inventories, weak global growth and tariffs,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

It is hard to quantify the effect precisely, but “there are indications that some of this tariff stuff may be having a slowing effect on hiring in the manufacturing sector,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “One suspects that tariffs may be playing a role there.”

Administration officials remain optimistic that the slowdown in factory jobs is temporary and that Mr. Trump’s policies will drive manufacturing growth in more places.

“My own personal view is there is a little mini inventory correction going on,” as manufacturers work through stockpiles of goods, Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, said on Thursday. “I can’t get too worried about it.”

Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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