China says Mike Pompeo will end up on ‘the ash heap of history’ for marking 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, which Beijing is desperate to ignore – Business Insider

China says Mike Pompeo will end up on ‘the ash heap of history’ for marking 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, which Beijing is desperate to ignore – Business Insider

  • June 4, 2019, is the thirtieth anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, where Chinese troops violently shut down out a pro-democracy occupation in central Beijing.
  • China has more or less written the crackdown out of its history, and routinely censors discussion of it from the internet and public life.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid tribute to the victims on Monday, and called out China, which he said “tolerates no dissent and abuses human rights whenever it serves its interests.”
  • Beijing officials hit back at Pompeo’s statement, saying that critics like him “will only end up in the ash heap of history.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Beijing attacked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, a bloody event which saw the Chinese army clear out a pro-democracy protest in the capital city by shooting and mowing down protesters.

In the early hours of June 4, 1989, the Chinese Communist Party sent a column of tanks and troops into downtown Beijing to break up a long-running occupation in the central Tiananmen Square. Within a matter of hours, hundreds of people were killed and thousands more were injured.

China has more or less written the event out of its history, and routinely censors any mention of the incident from its internet. Many young Chinese people now have have no idea that June 4, 1989, was a significant date.

Read more: 30 photos from the Tiananmen Square protests that China has tried to erase from history

A man tries to pull a Chinese soldier away from his comrades as thousands of Beijing citizens turned out to block thousands of troops on their way towards Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 3, 1989.
Mark Avery/AP

Pompeo on Monday issued a scathing statement commemorating the protesters who “suffered grievously in pursuit of a better future for their country,” “salut[ing] the heroes of the Chinese people who bravely stood up thirty years ago,” and called on Beijing to make a full public account of those who were killed or missing in the crackdown.

The Chinese Communist Party said at the time that a total of 241 civilians and security officers were killed, but other official estimates put the figure as high as 10,000. Beijing has repeatedly refused to revise their official figures, or verify other ones.

Pompeo’s statement added that “over the decades that followed” the Tiananmen Square crackdown, “the United States hoped that China’s integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society.”

“Those hopes have been dashed,” he said. “China’s one-party state tolerates no dissent and abuses human rights whenever it serves its interests.”

Read more: China still gets annoyed with images showing the famous Tiananmen Square ‘Tank Man,’ 30 years after he became a symbol of the government’s brutality

A student leader tries — in vain — to settle down a crowd of Beijing University students who converged on the Chinese Communist Party headquarters at Zhongnanhai, Beijing, early on April 19, 1989.
Mark Avery/AP

‘The ash heap of history’

An unidentified spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington slammed Pompeo’s statement, which he said was bortn of “prejudice and arrogance,” and called it an “affront to the Chinese people and a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

In a Tuesday statement, the spokesperson said: “Whoever attempt[s] to patronize and bully the Chinese people in any name, or preach a ‘clash of civilizations’ to resist the trend of times will never succeed. They will only end up in the ash heap of history.”

The mention of a “clash of civilizations” likely refers to a controversial remark by Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s director of policy planning, last month where she described competition with Beijing as a “fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology,” and called China a “great power competitor that is not Caucasian.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also told reporters on Tuesday: “The deranged babbling of these people will only end up in the trash can of history,” according to Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield.

A young Chinese man holds up a sign that says “We no longer trust dirty public servants. We trust Mr. Democracy” during an occupation of Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. The exact date on which this was taken is not known.
Forrest Anderson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

This is not the first time Pompeo has stood up to China over Tiananmen Square.

In a statement last year, Pompeo remembered “the tragic loss of innocent lives” and called on the Chinese government to fully account for those who were killed, detained, or missing in the crackdown.

He also cited famous Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize speech, which said: “The ghosts of June 4th have not yet been laid to rest.”

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, responded then by saying that Pompeo “has absolutely no qualifications to demand the Chinese government do anything,” and slammed the US’s “gratuitous criticism” of China.

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination of to be become director of the CIA at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Pompeo’s criticism and provocation of China has increased over the past few months as US-China tensions continue to mount over trade-war tensions and President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Chinese tech.

In March, Pompeo also met with four members of the Uighur minority, the majority-Muslim ethnic group based in western China which is under unprecedented attack from the Communist Party.

Congressmen have for months called for sanctions against those involved in the Uighur crackdown, but the Trump administration has yet to take action.

In February, he also threatened the US’s European allies with consequences if they do not distance themselves from the Chinese telcom giant Huawei.


Tiananmen Square
Mike Pompeo
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‘Increased mortality’: 1st generation CRISPR babies will likely die young, scientists warn – RT

‘Increased mortality’: 1st generation CRISPR babies will likely die young, scientists warn – RT

It is now six months since the world’s first gene-edited babies were born in China, but researchers in the US warn that, though the twin girls may be more resistant to HIV, they also have “significantly increased mortality.”

Geneticist He Jiankui, dubbed the ‘Chinese Frankenstein,’ shocked the world in November 2018 when he announced that he had created the first gene-edited babies. He and his team edited the gene CCR5 from two twin babies (a third gene-edited child is due to be born this summer) in a bid to make them immune from HIV.

Also on
Designer baby steps: World’s first ‘gene-edited’ children born in China

However, it turns out that people with the variant of that genome that He and his team gave the children are 21 percent more likely to die younger according to researchers from UC Berkeley.

Having searched through a vast repository of human-subject DNA from some 400,000 people, the Berkeley scientists found that CCR5 is somewhat of a double-edged sword: while it might grant the children a heightened immunity to the HIV virus, it leaves them more susceptible to dangerous strains of flu and the West Nile Virus.

“What we found is that they had significantly increased mortality,” lead researcher Rasmus Nielsen told NPR, breaking the unfortunate news that the twin girls are now 21 percent less likely to live until the age of 76 as a result of the CRISPR editing they were subjected to.

The scientific community at large was outraged when reports first appeared of He’s human experiments and it appears their indignation has been vindicated.

Also on
Gene-edited Chinese CRISPR babies may have mental ‘superpowers’, researchers warn

In addition, according to the data He himself presented last year following his bombshell announcement, he didn’t even manage to edit the specific gene as intended, further emphasizing the risk inherent to playing god with our own DNA.

The changes made could last for generations, further highlighting the dramatic consequences of failure and the extremely tight margins for error.

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The Marines’ Top General Talks About A Changing Corps – NPR

The Marines’ Top General Talks About A Changing Corps – NPR

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., in 2017.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., in 2017.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Why did Bob Neller join the Marines?

“I needed a job,” the top Marine officer says nonchalantly.

He went to Officer Candidate School the summer before his senior year at the University of Virginia with the intention of then going to law school.

“The law school thing didn’t work out,” he recalls, “and I wanted to get married, and my parents were getting divorced, and I didn’t have any money. And the Marine Corps said, ‘Hey come do this for 2 1/2 years.’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ “

It stretched to 44 years.

“Stuff happens,” says Neller, who could be a poster boy for the Corps, with his bulldog scowl and compact frame. We sit in the Pentagon’s Marine dining room, decorated with glass cases full of swords, epaulets and the occasional medal.

For the past four years, Neller has been the Marine Corps commandant, the officer charged with equipping, training and maintaining a ready service, as well as being a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He’ll step down this fall after a career that took him from Somalia and Panama to Belgium, Iraq and finally to the Pentagon.

During his tenure, Marines — and the Army — accepted women into ground combat roles. The Army is more than 2.5 times the size of the Marine Corps, but still the numbers are lopsided.

The Army counts 400 female officers and enlisted troops in the infantry, as well as 28 female graduates from Army Ranger School.

The Marines say they have 31 graduates of infantry training and fewer than a handful of female infantry officers.

“The numbers are the numbers,” says Neller. “The Congress has told us to have gender-neutral standards for all [military] occupational specialties [the military’s term for a specific job]. If you want to compete for any MOS, man or woman, you compete, and if you meet the standard you earn the MOS.”

But is Neller surprised by the low numbers?

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“No. I’m not,” he says. “We knew this. We testified to this. We’ve told everybody we knew the numbers would be small. Because we didn’t believe there were many women that were interested in doing this.”

In 2015, when the Pentagon was considering opening up ground combat jobs — armor, artillery and infantry — to women, NPR visited the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

It was there, in the Mojave Desert, that an experimental battalion of men and women were training together to help the Marines better understand how women would perform.

Both men and women had to perform the same tasks: Carry a pack of more than 100 pounds, climb over barriers, head out on patrol, drop and shoot at targets.

After the first week, nearly half of the women in the infantry unit dropped out — a much higher dropout rate than for their male counterparts. About a dozen women remained.

Only one of the women dropped out while in the Mojave Desert; the rest dropped out because of injuries — mostly hip and leg fractures — they received at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina while getting ready for the live-fire event in the desert.

Those stories do not surprise Neller.

Listen: “The biology and genetics are what they are”

“Look, we know the human being can bear a load about 60% of their body weight,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. Being physically large gives you an advantage when you have to carry a heavy load. The biology and genetics are what they are. And there are always going to be people that are outliers who through their determination or whatever are going to be able to do these things.”

Neller quickly points out that there are many more women in the other ground combat jobs — artillery, engineers, light armored reconnaissance, air defense, tanks.

Neller speaks during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

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Neller speaks during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

“The bigger stat is: Right now in the divisions of the Marine Corps — the three active-duty divisions — there’s over 800 women in those divisions in a variety of MOSs,” Neller says. “That wasn’t the case several years ago.”

The largest number of women — at least 211 at last count — are in artillery units, Neller says.

Female Marines, besides moving into ground combat jobs, increasingly are dealing with sexual assault. Last month, a Pentagon report showed a 20% increase in anonymous sexual assault reports in the Marine Corps from the last report in 2016. It was the highest increase among all the services.

Listen: “The fact is … the numbers are going up”

At the time, Neller said in a statement: “We cannot truly be loyal to our Nation without first being loyal to each other. All Marines must be involved in preventing and addressing sexual assault and harassment. There is no room in the Marine Corps for either of these behaviors.”

I asked Neller about the increased number in the Pentagon report.

“The fact is, based on our reporting, and I believe it’s underreported, the numbers are going up,” he says. “I would have thought after talking about this for the last five or six years that we would have seen a decline in the behavior.”

Listen: “I’m interested in getting rid of it”

The report also said that those units — in all the services — with a prevalence of sexual harassment, gender discrimination or workplace hostility have a greater chance of sexual assault.

“I know where [the allegations] come from just like I know where suicide ideations and suicide attempts come from. I know where there’s issues maybe with safety and other things. And so we go through the chain of command and say, ‘Hey, you need to pay attention to these folks and find out what’s going on. Why is this unit and not that unit, who seem to be in a similar geographic location, why are they having problems and the other one’s not?’ “

And what are you learning?

“They’re all different. It could be command climate. Sometimes it’s other things. People are digging into it, they’re trying. Look, the thing I have to remind myself everyday is there’s 186,000 Marines out there. And the great, great, great majority of them are doing their job, they’re treating each other with dignity and respect. They’re operationally competent, they’re physically fit, they’re looking out for each other. But we have those that either struggle with whatever they’re struggling with and so we’ve got to make sure that we’re paying attention to them. Any commander will tell you they spend the great majority of their time with a small percent of the force. Because you take for granted that everybody else who’s earned the title Marine is going to uphold our values. If it doesn’t make us better, I’m interested in getting rid of it.”

Neller is asked, whether it’s suicide or sexual assault, can he or some other officer go to a unit’s leader and say, “I’m going to give you six months to deal with, particularly, sexual assault, or I’m going to find someone else who can deal with it.”

“Can I do that? No. That’s undue command influence because there could be a violation.”

Meaning Neller, as the top Marine officer, and perhaps ultimately deciding someone’s fate, cannot inject himself into a disciplinary or criminal case and appear to influence the outcome.

Neller adds, “I have confidence in the commanders … they’re aware of what I’m aware of. They see the same data I see. If there’s a concern on their part, if there’s a spike of any sort of behavior that we’re concerned about, that they’re going down there and finding out what’s going on.”

Looking back on his tenure, Neller says he’s proud of the Marines and their families, proud that there are still young men and women out there that “want a challenge and want to work hard to earn the title Marine.”

“Recruiting’s tough. Recruiting’s always been tough because we have high standards,” he says. The Marines made their annual recruiting goal for last year — unlike the Army, which was about 6,000 recruits short.

“It’s not getting any easier. The number of qualified young men and women out there in the nation is right around 30% or less.” That’s because about 7 of 10 young people can’t meet military qualifications, because of physical problems, lack of education or criminal records.

What’s the future look like for the Marine Corps?

“Our environment’s changed, so we have to adjust and anticipate what’s coming in the future,” he says. “I think we’re back to a period of great power competition.”

Listen: “We have to adjust”

That means the great powers of Russia and China, a concern that was laid out last year in the National Defense Strategy, in what it termed “long term strategic competition” with those countries.

“In the last 10, 15 years though we didn’t talk about the Russians or the Chinese,” Neller says. “Now we talk about them all the time.”

Neller says the threats from those countries include longer range missiles and other weapons, drones and cyberattacks.

“I believe that whoever can maintain their network and deny the other person theirs may win the whole thing without having to fight,” he says.

Listen: Beefing up the cyber force

So the Marines are beefing up their cyber force, taking part in large exercises that include tanks, aircraft and artillery, the kind of weapons needed to fight a large war with another state.

What does Neller worry about?

Listen: “You try to anticipate what you think is going to happen”

“You worry about, are we able to change fast enough? Are we going to have reliable, consistent funding to increase the readiness and the capability of the force? Are we still going to be able to recruit?”

By this fall, those questions will have to be addressed by the next commandant.

Producer Marisa Peñaloza contributed to this report.

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China rebuffs Trump claim U.S. tariffs are making firms leave – The Globe and Mail

China rebuffs Trump claim U.S. tariffs are making firms leave – The Globe and Mail

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, responding to a question on U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim at a daily news briefing, said foreign investors were ‘still bullish’ on China. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo


Foreign investors remained enthusiastic about China, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that his tariffs are causing companies to move production away from the world’s second largest economy.

Trump said in an interview aired on Sunday that his tariffs on Chinese goods are causing companies to move manufacturing out of China to Vietnam and other Asian countries, and added that any agreement to end a trade war with China cannot be a “50-50” deal.

No further trade talks between top Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10 – the same day Trump raised the tariff rate on $200-billion worth of Chinese products to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

Trump took the step after China sought major changes to a deal that U.S. officials said had been largely agreed.

Since then, China has struck a sterner tone in its rhetoric, suggesting that a resumption of talks aimed at ending the 10-month trade war was unlikely to happen soon.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, responding to a question on Trump’s claim at a daily news briefing, said foreign investors were “still bullish” on China.

“Even though over the past year or more the United States has continued to menace Chinese products with additional tariffs, everyone can see that the enthusiasm for foreign investors in China remains high,” Lu said.

Lu listed companies, including Tesla, BASF and BMW, as all having recently increased their investment in China. He added that China would continue to improve business and investment conditions for foreign companies.

But foreign firms have grown weary of what they say are China’s piecemeal economic reforms.

Long considered a cornerstone of an otherwise fraught bilateral relationship, the U.S. business community in China in recent years has advocated a harder line on what it sees as discriminatory Chinese trade policies.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in February that a majority of its members reported in an annual survey that they favoured the United States retaining tariffs on Chinese goods while Washington and Beijing try to hammer out a deal to end the trade war.

At the time, which was well before the latest tariff hikes, the chamber said that 19% of its member companies were adjusting supply chains or seeking to source components and assembly outside of China as a result of tariffs, while 28% were delaying or cancelling investment decisions in China.

China’s other trade partners also complain about unfair treatment.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said on Monday that compelled transfers of technology to Chinese firms in exchange for market access are increasing for European companies despite Beijing saying the problem does not exist.

Resolving that issue in an enforceable manner is a core U.S. demand in trade negotiations.

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Burning tires: the murky oil business polluting parts of Asia

Burning tires: the murky oil business polluting parts of Asia

PASIR GUDANG, Malaysia/JOKHABAD, India (Reuters) – When local investigators scoured a riverbed in southern Malaysia for clues in a chemical dumping case that hospitalized over one thousand people earlier this year, they found a cocktail of toxins, including a colorless liquid commonly secreted when tires are recycled.

Steel wire recovered after the pyrolysis process of used tyres is seen at a unit in Jokhabad industrial area in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

That led environment officials and police to a small firm called P Tech Resources involved in pyrolysis – a business of burning old tires to make low-grade oil that industry sources say is also common elsewhere in Southeast Asia, China and India.

Police have charged a truck driver and all three of P Tech’s directors for violating a law prohibiting the illegal dumping of waste. The firm’s directors and the firm also each face 15 charges for offences related to waste controls and air pollution brought by the environment department.

They have all denied wrongdoing. Lawyers representing them and local police declined comment citing ongoing court proceedings.

Reuters was not able to reach the three directors of P Tech or the company secretary, the only four company officials listed in documents filed with Malaysia’s companies regulator. Its premises were closed and calls to its registered office went unanswered.

The documents show P Tech, registered in 2017, manufactures and trades tire oils.

Done properly, in a controlled environment, tire pyrolysis has been lauded by the recycling industry as a green way of turning a complex waste into a useful energy source. In this process, tires are heated in the absence of oxygen and the gases released are condensed into a low-quality oil that can be used in asphalt or fuel oil, depending on its purity.

Some firms in Europe and the United States have developed technology to limit emissions and waste from pyrolysis, but with low margins this green approach has not had widespread commercial success, industry experts said.

Reuters visited the premises of P Tech. Piles of tires bound in bales, a tall chimney and a filthy pond could be seen behind closed gates.

Neighboring workers told Reuters the firm operated at night and its work produced a stench that would linger until the morning. No one from P Tech was available for comment.

“Tire pyrolysis is not a problem. The problem is with the mismanagement of it,” Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s environment minister told Reuters when asked about the pyrolysis industry in her country. She noted P Tech was licensed for pyrolysis but did not speak specifically about the dumping case.

Yeo said Malaysia used to have “very lax environmental laws” and “very low punishments” for breaches but has stepped up enforcement recently and closed down some illegal pyrolysis operators in order to better regulate the sector.


Malaysia’s department of environment said 22 tire pyrolysis firms across the country are licensed but declined comment on the number of unlicensed operators.

Over half a dozen industry sources said pyrolysis in India, China and Southeast Asia also is prevalent mostly in small backyard operations.

Earlier this month, Reuters visited a cluster of about 10 tire burning factories in an industrial area in Jokhabad, a town on the outskirts of India’s capital New Delhi.

Mounds of black powder lay on open ground at the first plant, as about half a dozen workers wearing no protection, some barefoot, their clothes and skin stained black, milled about.

Most said they lived inside the plant itself, pointing to a cement shed set up barely a few feet away from large, round recycling machines.

At a second plant, where a teenager sorted through a pile of odd-sized tires, plant supervisor Manoj Kumar said he was producing oil mainly used as tar for road construction.

While he maintained his plant had high standards, Kumar said most of the other firms in the area were lax, had no mechanism for waste processing and their factories emitted potentially harmful gases in the air. Reuters could not verify his comments.

Shops and homes stood barely a kilometer (a half-mile) from the industrial cluster.

A report commissioned by Indian environmental rights group SAFE last year said at one site in Jokhabad, carbon fumes and sludge were so bad that monkeys in the surrounding area had black faces and fur. Reuters couldn’t independently confirm its findings.

SAFE sent its findings on six plants in a letter to India’s environment ministry in January, and said they were exposing “people at large to environmental risks” and “risking the lives of those involved in such practices for perverse profits.”   

India’s environment ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the SAFE report.

There is no official data on the size of this business, which is being fueled by a global demand for tires expected to rise about 3 percent this year to nearly 3 billion units, according to a report by Cleveland, Ohio-based research firm Freedonia.

With free raw material – used tires – and demand for unconventional oils increasing for everything from tar to build roads to fuel for ships, pyrolysis can be a lucrative business even at a small scale.

Asphalt currently sells for about $100 per ton, while fuel oil sells for about $400 per ton.


Villager Zulkifly Kassim was one of the first to become aware of the dumping of chemicals by P Tech in the Sungai Kim Kim river in the Malaysian state of Johor on March 7.

Shortly after midnight he was awoken by a putrid smell. He went outside to investigate and shone a torchlight into the stream behind his house.

“I could see the water already had become black and the fish were coming up and down,” said Zulkifly, 50.

Minutes before Zulkifly was awoken, a truck parked near a bridge upstream from his house and dumped oil waste and sludge into the river, according to the chargesheet filed in court by the police against P Tech.

Over the next few hours and days after the dumping, noxious vapors caused breathing problems, vomiting and dizziness, especially among children and elderly, local authorities said.

Selahudeen Aziz, Johor state’s health director, said over 1,200 people were hospitalized with 26 treated in intensive care. Fourteen people were brought to hospital unconscious.

The ports around southern Malaysia where the March dumping took place and nearby Singapore make up the world’s most important marine refueling hub.

Two oil traders in Singapore, requesting anonymity, told Reuters that oil from Malaysian tire pyrolysis had been offered around the market in recent months in the marine oil sector, known as bunker fuel.

They said blending such oil into bunker fuels was on the rise as tightening regulations due to come in next year have pushed up benchmark bunker fuel prices to their highest seasonal level in years.

Slideshow (4 Images)

($1 = 4.1890 ringgit)

Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Adnan Abidi in NEW DELHI, Roslan Khasawneh and Fathin Ungku in SINGAPORE and Emily Chow in KUALA LUMPUR; Editing by Joe Brock and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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Trump’s Love for Tariffs Began in Japan’s ’80s Boom

Trump’s Love for Tariffs Began in Japan’s ’80s Boom


Donald J. Trump in 1987. Allies and historians say that his admiration of tariffs is one of his longest and most deeply held policy positions.CreditCreditJoe McNally/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump lost an auction in 1988 for a 58-key piano used in the classic film “Casablanca” to a Japanese trading company representing a collector. While he brushed off being outbid, it was a firsthand reminder of Japan’s growing wealth, and the following year, Mr. Trump went on television to call for a 15 percent to 20 percent tax on imports from Japan.

“I believe very strongly in tariffs,” Mr. Trump, at the time a Manhattan real estate developer with fledgling political instincts, told the journalist Diane Sawyer, before criticizing Japan, West Germany, Saudi Arabia and South Korea for their trade practices. “America is being ripped off,” he said. “We’re a debtor nation, and we have to tax, we have to tariff, we have to protect this country.”

Thirty years later, few issues have defined Mr. Trump’s presidency more than his love for tariffs — and on few issues has he been more unswerving. Allies and historians say that love is rooted in Mr. Trump’s experience as a businessman in the 1980s with the people and money of Japan, then perceived as a mortal threat to America’s economic pre-eminence.

“This is something that has been stuck in his craw since the ’80s,” said Dan DiMicco, a former steel executive who helped draft Mr. Trump’s trade policy on the 2016 campaign trail and in his presidential transition. “It came from his very own core belief.”

The affection has grown in recent years, as tariffs have emerged as perhaps the most potent unilateral tool that Mr. Trump can wield to advance his economic agenda — and perhaps the purest policy expression of the campaign themes that lifted him to the White House.

“Tariffs tie so much of Trump together, ” said Jennifer M. Miller, an assistant history professor at Dartmouth College who last year published a study of how Japan’s rise has affected the president’s worldview. “His obsession with winning, which he thinks tariffs will allow him to do. His obsession with appearing tough. His obsession with making certain parts of national border fixed. And his obsession with executive power.”

Mr. Trump has imposed tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel, aluminum and $250 billion worth of imported goods from China. He is considering additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports and on cars, trucks and auto parts from Europe and Japan.

He has defied pressure to remove those tariffs from business groups, Republican and Democratic lawmakers and some of his own domestic policy advisers. And he has grown more insistent in his claims that it is the nation’s trading partners, not American consumers, that bear the brunt of the costs from what amounts to a tax increase on imports. No evidence supports that.

In conversations with lawmakers and advisers, Mr. Trump is fond of using “tariff” as a verb and waving off concerns that they raise consumer prices and depress economic activity.

“Where are my tariffs? Bring me my tariffs,” the president declared at meetings early in his presidency, when his advisers were not providing him options quickly enough.

Mr. Trump was a vocal critic of Japan as its economy and international influence boomed in the ’80s, a period of high anxiety over Japanese economic ascension, though he himself had a complicated relationship with the country. He competed with Japanese developers for properties in New York City, then bragged of selling condominiums and office space for a premium to Japanese buyers. He borrowed money from Japanese financial institutions, but complained about the difficulty of doing deals with large groups of Japanese businessmen.

His critiques of Japan — and to a lesser extent, other trading partners — won him publicity as he briefly explored a presidential campaign before the 1988 election.

He took out a newspaper advertisement in 1987 to warn that “for decades, Japan and others have been taking advantage of the United States” by not paying America for its assistance in their national defense. He complained about Japanese trading practices in an interview that year with Larry King, and in 1988 with Oprah Winfrey.

“If you ever go to Japan right now, and try and sell something, forget about it, Oprah. Just forget about it,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “They come over here, they sell their cars, their VCRs, they knock the hell out of our companies.”


Dongbei Special Steel in Dalian, China. Mr. Trump has imposed tariffs on washing machines, solar panels, steel, aluminum and $250 billion worth of imported goods from China.CreditChina Daily/Reuters

One of his first public statements on the subject came in October 1987, a few days after the stock market crashed, when Mr. Trump spoke to 500 people at a Rotary Club in Portsmouth, N.H. Mr. Trump was 41, the newly minted author of “The Art of the Deal” and hearing the first words of encouragement that he should run for president.

Mr. Trump railed against Japan, as well as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, saying these allies were cheating the United States. Rather than raise taxes on Americans to close the federal deficit, he said, “We should have these countries that are ripping us off pay off the $200 billion deficit.”

Mike Dunbar, a local Republican official who organized the speech, said, “Obviously, there’s more meat on the bone today. But he’s completely the Trump I met and knew in the ’80s.”

Mr. Trump’s interest in leveling the playing field in trade dates back even further than that — to Lee Iacocca, the swashbuckling chairman of Chrysler, who brought the carmaker back from ruin under an onslaught of Japanese imports.

“He imagined himself Iacocca’s equal as an icon of American business,” said Michael D’Antonio, one of Mr. Trump’s biographers. “Beyond that, there is the personalization he does about everything. He always thinks that if something bad is happening to him, there must be, by definition, something evil afoot.”

Ms. Miller said support for tariffs allowed Mr. Trump to decouple his personal experience with foreign financiers and buyers and his longstanding belief that foreign competition has decimated American factories — because they would restrict the flow of goods, but not investment capital, between countries.

“Trump needs a way to reconcile, on some level, the ways he’s benefited from globalization while globalization has left America in carnage,” Ms. Miller said.

As president, Mr. Trump has clashed with some aides over their efficacy, particularly early in the administration. Regular Tuesday morning meetings on trade would often devolve into rancorous debates between the economic nationalists and more mainstream advisers, like Gary D. Cohn, the president’s former chief economic adviser. After one heated exchange, Mr. Trump derided Mr. Cohn as a “globalist.”


Listen to ‘The Daily’: The President Takes On China, Alone

As President Trump escalates his trade war with Beijing, we look at what each side stands to gain or lose.



Hosted by Natalie Kitroeff, produced by Michael Simon Johnson and Luke Vander Ploeg, and edited by Lisa Tobin

As President Trump escalates his trade war with Beijing, we look at what each side stands to gain or lose.

michael barbaro

From the New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is “The Daily.” Today, years of multi-national efforts have failed to get China to play by the international rules of trade. Now, Donald Trump has launched an all-out trade war in which the U.S. is taking on China alone. It’s Wednesday, May 15th.

natalie kitroeff

Hi, Peter.

peter s. goodman

How are you?

natalie kitroeff

I’m good. How are you?

natalie kitroeff

So, we’re talking trade.

peter s. goodman

Wait, this is Natalie calling?

natalie kitroeff

It sure is.

peter s. goodman

The thing about “The Daily” is you never know who’s calling. All right, Natalie, it’s great to hear from you.

natalie kitroeff

I’m glad that you’re glad to hear from me. [MUSIC]

michael barbaro

My colleague, business reporter Natalie Kitroeff, spoke to economics correspondent Peter Goodman about the story behind the trade war.

natalie kitroeff

So, Peter.

peter s. goodman

So, Natalie.

natalie kitroeff

When does this idea take hold that trade with China is a problem for the United States?

peter s. goodman

Well, the story really starts at a time when trade with China is seen as part of a solution. I mean, the U.S. is still fighting the Cold War with its allies, China is run by the Chinese Communist Party. The Communist Party has emerged from decades of isolation. Out of this comes Deng Xiaoping, who opens China to the world — at first very tentatively — and China becomes capable of producing more and more goods, but it doesn’t have access to world markets. It needs access to world markets. It’s running up against tariffs in much of the world. And the theory, at least the theory that’s advanced by the people who are pushing this, is, listen, if we let China into our club and China gets more and more integrated into the global economy, bit by bit through this engagement, China will become more like us. It will eventually become a free market-governed, liberal democracy. That was the sort of ultimate selling point. Of course, you know, the clear reality was that, at minimum, American companies wanted a crack at the Chinese market, which is, you know, in theory, the largest consumer market on earth. There’s a billion-plus people there. A billion-plus people is a couple billion feet needing to wear socks. I mean, that’s how the market is viewed. And China is, at that point, willing to trade — or at least this was the theory — some access to its market in exchange for the right to gain access to world markets.

natalie kitroeff

Right. So, this kind of grand idea that global trade will transform China into a liberal democracy doesn’t totally pan out. What about just the fact of China as a trading partner? How does that go for the United States?

peter s. goodman

Well, a lot of good things did happen for American economic life. We got access to an awful lot of low cost goods. A lot of American manufacturers got access to components they could use in their own factory productions. And, along the way, American companies get out from under having to deal with labor unions in their home country, minimum wage laws, environmental and workplace safety regulations. They can just go set about making stuff as cheaply and easily as possible in China. And, bit by bit, China becomes the factory to the world. We also saw hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty in China, which is no small thing. Those people entered the global marketplace, and they went out and bought a lot of goods, including some made or least designed in the United States. But we also missed a lot of stuff.

natalie kitroeff

And what do you think that was?

peter s. goodman

We missed something that had been understood since the beginning of modern economics, which is when you liberalize trade, there are winners and there are losers. I mean, you have whole towns in China that are organized to dominate making paint, making neckties, making shoelaces for shoes. Entire towns are organized in this fashion. And, so, if you are living in the industrial Midwest and you’re working at the same factory where you’ve been showing up for work for 20 years thinking that the fact that you’re good at your job and you work hard is going to be enough to get you to your pension, well, China has set up a system designed to undercut that. And American policymakers failed to prepare for that. So, they didn’t take the many benefits — and there were many benefits — of China integrating into the world economy — benefits for American companies — and distribute them so that the people who were hurt got something for their pain, or at least got help with their transition to the next thing. So, a lot of people were just left stranded and left to suffer what we now call deindustrialization. And downward mobility became the reality for tens of millions of people in the center of the United States.

natalie kitroeff

Right. So, we understood how American consumers and American companies would win. It was pretty much the American worker who we didn’t really think about.

peter s. goodman

That’s right. I mean, American workers in key industries were the ones who paid the price. And the failure was not, as I think many economists still view it, allowing China into the global trading system. It was the failure to cushion the blow for the communities that paid that price.

natalie kitroeff

In terms of all of this conversation that we’re hearing now about China being an unfair trading partner, does that depend on who you are?

peter s. goodman

There’s now a fairly universal view regardless of who you are that China has taken some very serious liberties with the global trading system and has not lived up to the spirit of what it agreed to when it entered the W.T.O. A lot of Western companies — American companies — have not gotten the access to the Chinese market that they were promised. China has cracked down on the internet, has not allowed major internet companies to set up in China. China has continued to force many Western companies to engage in these joint ventures where they are required to transfer in technology, which leads to their intellectual property getting stolen from them. China has, by and large, used the W.T.O. for its own benefit and has not delivered on the market-opening elements of what it promised.

natalie kitroeff

And are those issues you raised, are those violations of the terms of being a W.T.O. member?

peter s. goodman

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I mean, let’s remember what the W.T.O. is — a bunch of countries that were more like each other than not — you know, they had the same level of education and innovation in their workforces — they all agreed that they were going to lower tariffs to one another, and trade expanded dramatically, and so did living standards. And it just wasn’t built for an enormous economy like China, which is not at all like the wealthy, developed countries that started the global trading system. It’s a poor country that has hundreds of millions of people who are desperate who will take jobs at very low wages, who are so eager to elevate their living standards that they’re not initially all that concerned about labor standards, workplace safety standards. There’s no democracy. There’s no free press to bring to light abuses. And, so, the W.T.O. finds itself dealing with a whole range of cases. But the W.T.O. process is very slow. It can take years to get a result. And, in the meantime, your company or your industry can be wiped out.

natalie kitroeff

Right. So, give me an example of how China has been able to take advantage of this setup.

peter s. goodman

Well, take steel, for example. China needs to employ large numbers of people — not only in industrial areas, it needs to create a lot of jobs for farmers who are falling behind the people living in Chinese cities who are increasingly wealthy. And one key way of creating those jobs is to invest in steel plants. And, by the middle of the 2000s, China is making a whole lot of steel — a lot more steel than it can possibly use at home. And, so, what does it do? It doesn’t want to fire a bunch of people working at steel mills. It says, well, we’re going to have to go find a place to sell all this steel. And that place is the rest of the world. So, China starts selling steel at low prices — much lower prices than steel is being manufactured in places like the United States and Canada and Italy and Germany and Japan. And steel, Chinese-made steel, becomes very attractive to much of the industrial world, because it’s increasingly high quality, and it’s cheap. So, that’s great if you’re buying steel. It’s not so great if you work at a plant that makes steel. And, for workers, it looks like their paychecks are under fire from somebody who’s not playing fair. And they’re angry about it.

natalie kitroeff

How exactly did China not play fair?

peter s. goodman

From China’s perspective, it’s simply taking advantage of what’s available. But, when you get people to speak candidly in China about this — it’s important to remember that for China, history doesn’t start in 2001 when it enters the W.T.O. History doesn’t start when Deng Xiaoping opens up to the world. History starts centuries ago. And, for a lot of those centuries, China is the victim of colonialism. In the dominant narrative amongst party officials, is this not wrong notion that for centuries Westerners have been coming and pillaging. They’ve been taking advantage of a weak China. So now, China’s in the W.T.O. in 2001, and it’s going to take advantage of what’s available to catch up.

natalie kitroeff

It’s like payback.

peter s. goodman

I don’t know that it’s seen as payback. It’s seen as we’re not suckers. We’re not defenseless. We’ve now got a plan. We’ve lived through decades of chaos, but we figured it out now. And we’ve carefully studied how the rest of the world works. We understand how Britain and the United States and France and Japan have turned themselves into these very wealthy societies. And now that’s what we’re going to do. And the way we do it is we exploit our advantages. And our advantages are that we’re a huge country with an awful lot of hardworking people and a central bureaucracy that has got a formula for how to rapidly industrialize. So, I mean, China’s view is we made this deal under the W.T.O. The rules were what they were. The process of adjudication was what it was. I mean, that’s the Chinese view. Now, clearly, there are ways in which China is not complying, and that poses a serious problem, and over the last decade, what’s happened is those unhappy about China have expanded from the workers in select industries finding themselves in direct competition with Chinese companies and often vulnerable to losing their jobs — that’s expanded to the corporate ranks. I mean, banks are angry that they don’t have access to the Chinese market — even auto companies. Technology companies are angry that they’ve had to hand over technology that Chinese companies have then used to undercut them making their own products. So, the sense has taken hold, broadly, in American life that the U.S. has been victimized by China, and that the consumer benefits are simply not enough. [MUSIC]

natalie kitroeff

You said China didn’t see itself as a bunch of suckers. The U.S. obviously doesn’t like to see itself as a bunch of suckers either. Is that how we find ourselves in this raging trade war?

peter s. goodman

Well, in part. While there is now pretty close to unanimity that China’s a problem, there is a very significant divide over what to do about that. So, in the Trump view, the idea is you work out everything in a bilateral arrangement between two countries. Because, in any bilateral arrangement, the U.S. should have the upper hand, because the U.S. is the richest, most powerful country, and every other country has a greater interest in getting access to the American market than the U.S. has getting access to the other market. That’s not how most of the American power structure has historically viewed things. So, multilateral solutions and international institutions have been at the center of economic policy. And the counter view is, O.K., if the W.T.O. is not working properly, we don’t scrap the W.T.O. because if we scrap the W.T.O., then we’re just living in the law of the jungle. And, at the moment, the U.S. might be the biggest, toughest animal in the jungle, but that’s not forever by any means. I mean, China may very well become a larger economy than the United States sooner than we think, and then we’ll be at a disadvantage. So, better to have institutions that focus on creating rules and norms with enforcement mechanisms that actually deal with the sorts of problems that we deal with in modern society. So, if the W.T.O. is not set up to deal with intellectual property and technology, well, then let’s sit down and write some rules that actually govern the problems that we’ve got now.

natalie kitroeff

Peter, I take your point. On the other hand, don’t you think we got to a point in American society where there was just this backlash against these free trade deals?

peter s. goodman


natalie kitroeff

And there was a kind of feeling among those workers that you talked about that the multilateral approach hasn’t worked.

peter s. goodman

Yeah. Well, first of all, as a matter of political reality, there’s no question that that argument didn’t win the favor of people in a lot of key parts of the industrial Midwest. And there’s no question that there’s no simple solution when it comes to dealing with China. So, China represents an economic problem that we’ve just never seen before. And if there were an obvious solution to this problem, we’d have found it already. [MUSIC]

natalie kitroeff

So, Peter, the bilateral approach that we’ve seen President Trump take, which has resulted in a year-plus of trade war, is it working?

peter s. goodman

Well, it’s certainly not working by the president’s own scorecard, because the trade deficit has gone up, not down. There is some evidence that some jobs that might have gone outside of the United States are now staying in the United States, but there’s very little evidence that that has turned into more American jobs. So, if you’re an American company and you now fear building a new factory in China, it’s not that now you’re going to build in the United States, it’s now maybe you’ll build in Vietnam. Maybe you’ll explore a venture in India or some other low-wage country in the world.

natalie kitroeff

So, it’s not as if these jobs are going to be flooding back to the U.S. — that American workers are going to benefit from this approach.

peter s. goodman

Well, some of these jobs are even jeopardized by this approach. I mean, I was in western Michigan last December, and I was visiting a factory that makes the electronics that go into auto lights. And this is a company that’s been in Michigan for decades. They resisted going to Mexico after the U.S. entered Nafta in the mid-90s. These are Republicans who think tribally about their American identity and they really don’t want to look abroad. And, suddenly, they’re finding that the components that they’re importing — electronics from China, some steel products — are going up in price because of Trump’s tariffs. And they were telling me very sheepishly, we’re having to explore the possibility that we’re going to have to shut down this factory or at least move some of the production to Mexico, because the economics just don’t make sense with these tariffs in place.

natalie kitroeff

So, if this is not in accordance with mainstream economic thought, if this approach could actually hurt American workers, hurt those people in Michigan you talked to rather than give them their jobs back, who would be most likely to support the president’s approach?

peter s. goodman

Precisely those people I talked to in Michigan, and people in general who have found themselves in recent decades competing against Chinese industry. I had dinner in western Michigan with a guy whose family business had really been ravaged by cheap Chinese imports more than 15 years ago. This guy’s got his own company, and he’s discovering that he is having a hard time getting his hands on low-priced steel because Trump has put tariffs on steel. He talked about cutting people’s bonuses at Christmas and holding off on hiring and really being concerned about the future of the company. And, yet, he was effusively praising Trump for taking on this fight. I mean, in his telling, no one has had the guts to challenge China. And when I pressed for a coherent explanation about how this trade war was ultimately going to better him, I didn’t get very satisfying answers. But what I got was a deep, emotional sense — a sentiment that Americans have been systematically cheated in the global economy. I mean, the United States is certainly the greatest beneficiary of globalization of any country in history. How it distributes the winnings of globalization is another question, and a lot of people have not gotten their slice of the pie. But there is this deep sense that the U.S. has been fleeced. And this guy I had dinner with was just so happy that his country was now represented by somebody who was willing to take the gloves off. And if he got caught in the midst of this conflict and it cost him some money, that was O.K. by him. He looked at it as, eventually, some good will come out of this, because, if nothing else, Trump is restoring our pride.

natalie kitroeff

I’ve had so many conversations exactly like the one you described with workers and business owners all across the country. It’s almost as if that guy and the people that I’ve talked to see the fight between the U.S. and China as bigger and more important than the personal cost that it might have to them in the short term. And they value the fact that President Trump is willing to fight that fight, it’s — patriotic.

peter s. goodman

Oh, no, that’s right, and I think this is part of why we should get our minds around the distinct possibility that this trade war could go on a long time and a deal might either be very hard to strike, or it could be that this administration doesn’t really want to strike a deal because this is but one element in what has become a kind of holy war. And, so, on the American side, we’re having this battle over whether we’re simply trying to readjust the terms of engagement with a China that we’re going to have to deal with one way or another versus those who view us as now being in almost a new kind of Cold War where our own security and our own prosperity is dependent upon isolating and containing China.

natalie kitroeff

And what about on the Chinese side? If this is a big, bilateral war — bigger, in our minds, than just a trade war — how is this war playing in China?

peter s. goodman

Well, let’s imagine how the world looks to a Chinese business owner who’s now dealing with declining sales and higher costs because of the tariffs that China’s imposed on American goods as part of this trade war. That Chinese business owner isn’t any happier than the guy I had dinner with in Michigan. But Trump has now elevated this trade war to an issue of sovereignty, and allowed the Chinese propaganda machine to present this as an attack on China’s dignity, on China’s destiny, on China’s national integrity by an American president who’s trying to keep China down. So, the Chinese business owner, much like the Michigan business owner, has a reason to think, well, I may have to hurt for a little while in exchange for the longer-term goal of boosting China’s place in the world and China’s security. [MUSIC]

natalie kitroeff

And it seems to me like that dynamic might make this more intractable.

peter s. goodman

There’s no question that on both sides what began as a trade issue has escalated into something that’s tapping deeply into nationalist sentiments, into long grievances and narratives of getting cheated. This is on both sides. And, for significant numbers of people, national pride and dignity is on the line. That does not lend itself to one side backing down.

natalie kitroeff

Thank you Peter.

peter s. goodman

Thank you, Natalie.

michael barbaro

On Tuesday, the president continued to promote his trade war with China.

archived recording (donald trump)

I think it’s going to be — I think it’s going to turn out extremely well. We’re in a very strong position.

michael barbaro

Saying that the 25 percent tariffs he has imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods would benefit the United States, and that he was considering imposing additional tariffs on nearly every Chinese import.

archived recording (donald trump)

Our economy is fantastic. Theirs is not so good. We’ve gone up trillions and trillions of dollars since the election. They’ve gone way down since my election.

michael barbaro

The president suggested he was in no rush to end the fight, but held out the possibility that an agreement could be reached.

archived recording (donald trump)

If they want to make a deal, it could absolutely happen. But in the meantime a lot of money is being made by the United States and a lot of strength is being shown.

michael barbaro

We’ll be right back. [MUSIC] Here’s what else you need to know today.

archived recording (donald trump)

My son spent, I guess, over 20 hours testifying about something that Mueller said was 100 percent O.K., and now they want him to testify again. I don’t know why. I have no idea why, but it seems very unfair to me.

michael barbaro

On Tuesday, the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigates whether he was honest in his previous testimony about a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer who allegedly promised incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. had resisted testifying for weeks, prompting a subpoena from the committee’s Republican chairman, Richard Burr, followed by calls from several other Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, that Donald Trump Jr. ignore the subpoena.

archived recording (lindsey graham)

If I were Donald Trump Jr.‘s lawyer, I would tell him, you don’t need to go back into this environment anymore. You’ve been there for hours and hours and hours, and nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation. I would call it a day.

michael barbaro

In a carefully negotiated deal, Donald Trump Jr. will testify privately for just a few hours on a limited range of subjects. That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Michael Barbaro, see you tomorrow.

Those tensions have not entirely subsided. On Sunday, Mr. Cohn’s successor, Larry Kudlow, irked Mr. Trump when he told a television interviewer that American consumers would pay some of the costs of tariffs.

Mr. DiMicco, the campaign trade adviser, said Mr. Trump was living up to his promises and becoming the first American president to say “enough’s enough” to China. Mr. Trump’s message to Beijing, he said, was that “there’s only one way for us to obviously get your attention because you haven’t lived up to any agreement you’ve made with the global trading community, and that’s to hit you between the eyes with tariffs.”

Mr. Trump relies on his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, to provide the economic rationale for his devotion to tariffs. When a delegation of Republican senators warned Mr. Trump in a recent White House meeting about their cost to consumers, the president turned to Mr. Navarro, who showed the senators a slide presentation that documented how the tariffs had helped lift first-quarter economic growth to 3.2 percent.

A former professor at the University of California, Irvine, Mr. Navarro has long argued, in books and speeches, that tariffs — far from being a burden on consumers and a drag on growth — can fuel growth and productivity. Those views place him outside the mainstream of his profession. But he argues that the standard economic scholarship about tariffs does not take into account market distortions between trading partners.

In the case of China, Mr. Navarro has said, those distortions include huge Chinese subsidies of exports, the forced transfer of technology from American firms that want to do business in China and the theft of American intellectual property. He argues that tariffs, which might otherwise raise the prices of Chinese goods, serve merely to level the playing field. They also encourage production in the United States.

Arthur Laffer, the conservative economist who has advised Mr. Trump, said he has told the president what he tells everyone about trade policy: “When you look at tariffs, they are very, very bad for the economy.” But he believes Mr. Trump is using tariffs to pressure other countries to open their markets more freely.

“I have no reason to second-guess the president on negotiation strategy,” Mr. Laffer said.

Increasingly, though, Mr. Trump appears to view tariffs as not just a negotiating ploy, but an end in themselves. He declared last week on Twitter that Chinese leaders seemed to think they could get a better trade deal if they waited for a new president to be elected.

“Would be wise for them to act now,” Mr. Trump wrote, “but love collecting BIG TARIFFS!”

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on

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China will impose ‘necessary countermeasures’ as higher U.S. tariffs start Friday – Global News

China will impose ‘necessary countermeasures’ as higher U.S. tariffs start Friday – Global News

Paul Wiseman and Kevin Freking

The Associated Press

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to levy tariffs against China, but the latter is vowing to strike back as a result, as the two sides still attempt to come to a deal on trade.

Trade talks between the U.S. and China broke up Friday with no agreement, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Trump asserted on Twitter that there was “no need to rush” to get a deal between the world’s two biggest economies and later added that the tariffs “may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations.”

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, confirmed that the talks had concluded for the day but could not say when they would resume.

Trump claims China will pay for tariffs — but the burden falls on U.S. businesses, consumers

Hours earlier, the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington. China’s Commerce Ministry vowed to impose “necessary countermeasures” but gave no details.

The tariff increase went ahead even after American and Chinese negotiators briefly met in Washington on Thursday and again on Friday, seeking to end a dispute that has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets. After a short session on Friday, the lead Chinese negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, left the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative about midday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shook hands with Liu as he left.

In the afternoon, a motorcade of sport-utility vehicles and a police escort, both with lights flashing, carried the Chinese delegation away from their lodgings at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

WATCH: Tensions high as China, U.S. begin trade talks

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese newspaper Global Times, citing “an authoritative source,” tweeted that “talks didn’t break down. Both sides think that the talks are constructive and will continue consultations. The two sides agree to meet again in Beijing in the future.”

Still, the Trump administration escalated the confrontation again after the Chinese delegation left town. Lighthizer announced Friday evening that he was preparing to impose tariffs on the $300 billion in Chinese imports that haven’t already been targeted. The government will have to get public comment before it can target more Chinese goods.

On Wall Street, stocks fell initially Friday but turned positive on optimism over future talks.

Earlier, Trump asserted in a tweet that his tariffs “will bring in FAR MORE wealth to our Country than even a phenomenal deal of the traditional kind. Also, much easier & quicker to do.”

READ MORE: U.S. to raise tariffs on China to 25% on $200B worth of imports

In fact, tariffs are taxes paid by U.S. importers and often passed along to consumers and companies that rely on imported components.

American officials accuse Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations. “China deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures,” a Commerce Ministry statement said.

U.S. business groups appealed for a settlement that will resolve chronic complaints about Chinese market barriers, subsidies to state companies and a regulatory system they say is rigged against foreign companies.

WATCH: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of trade deal with U.S., report says

The latest increase extends 25 per cent duties to a total of $250 billion of Chinese imports, including $50 billion worth that were already being taxed at 25 per cent. Trump has said he is planning to expand penalties to all Chinese goods shipped to the United States.

Beijing retaliated for previous tariff hikes by raising duties on $110 billion of American imports. But regulators are running out of U.S. goods for penalties due to the lopsided trade balance.

Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery said the carmaker is most concerned about any retaliatory tariffs China might impose.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company says 80 per cent of the vehicles it assembles in the U.S. are sold domestically, but it does export some vehicles to China.

“While most of the vehicles we sell in China are built in China, Ford does export a number of vehicles to China from the U.S.,” McCleery said. “Our biggest concerns are impacts retaliatory tariffs would have on our exports and our expanding customer base in China.”

Chinese officials have targeted operations of American companies in China by slowing customs clearance for them and stepping up regulatory scrutiny that can hamper operations.

The latest U.S. increase might hit American consumers harder, said Jake Parker, vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council, an industry group. He said the earlier 10 per cent increase was absorbed by companies and offset by a weakening of the Chinese currency’s exchange rate.

A 25 per cent hike “needs to be passed on to the consumer,” Parker said. “It is just too big to dilute with those other factors.”

WATCH: Tensions high as China, U.S. begin trade talks

Despite the public acrimony, local Chinese officials who want to attract American investment have tried to reassure companies there is “minimal retaliation,” he said. “We’ve actually seen an increased sensitivity to U.S. companies at the local level,” he added.

The higher U.S. import taxes don’t apply to Chinese goods shipped before Friday. Shipments take about three weeks to cross the Pacific Ocean by sea, giving negotiators more time to reach a settlement before importers may have to pay the increased charges.

Liu, speaking to Chinese state TV upon his arrival Thursday in Washington, said he “came with sincerity.” He appealed to Washington to avoid more tariff hikes, saying they are “not a solution” and would harm the world.

“We should not hurt innocent people,” Liu told CCTV.

READ MORE: Canadian man sentenced to death in China has appeal hearing

Also Thursday, Trump said he received “a beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping and would “probably speak to him by phone.”

The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations Beijing steals technology and pressures companies to hand over trade secrets in a campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.

This week’s setback was unexpected. Through late last week, Trump administration officials were suggesting that negotiators were making steady progress.

U.S. officials say they got an inkling of China’s second thoughts about prior commitments in talks last week in Beijing but the backsliding became more apparent in exchanges over the weekend. They wouldn’t identify the specific issues involved.

READ MORE: Scheer promises ‘eyes wide open’ approach to dealing with China in foreign policy speech

A sticking point is U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing lives up to its commitments. American officials say China has repeatedly broken past promises.

China wants tariffs lifted as soon as an agreement is reached, while U.S. officials want to keep them as leverage to ensure compliance.

“A real enforcement mechanism is critical,” the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said in a statement.

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald and AP videojournalist Dake Kang in Beijing and Alexandra Olson in New York contributed to this report.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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Explainer: China changes laws in trade war with U.S., enforcement a concern

Explainer: China changes laws in trade war with U.S., enforcement a concern

(Reuters) – China has been changing laws to address U.S. concerns about fair treatment of foreign companies, but with some vague wording and persistent concerns about enforcement, it is unclear if this will leave Washington satisfied.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China’s Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. Picture taken April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

In a sharp deterioration in negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, top U.S. trade officials said on Monday that China had backtracked on substantial commitments it made during trade talks with the United States.

The concerns prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to say he would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods imported into the United States. However, trade talks will continue this week.

Washington has demanded China change its economic policies by changing its laws, to better protect U.S. intellectual property, end forced technology transfers from U.S. companies, and stop cyber theft of U.S. trade secrets.


In March, China fast-tracked legislation for its first foreign investment law, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Premier Li Keqiang pledged that the government would follow through and do what the legislation promised in protecting foreign firms.

The law would ban forced technology transfer and illegal government “interference” in foreign business practices, according to the latest draft.

Previous drafts stipulated criminal punishment for officials who violated the law and a last-minute revision has strengthened those clauses.

Foreign business groups have in principle welcomed the law, but the big concern is about enforcement, especially when the judicial system takes its orders from the ruling Communist Party.

One Beijing-based Western executive told Reuters the law was probably best viewed as a “PR exercise” to try and head off some U.S. accusations of unfair treatment for American companies that, in part, led to the trade war.

“It’s all smoke and mirrors,” the executive said, referring to whether the law will actually make a difference.


At a regular law-making session last month, parliament’s standing committee amended three existing laws to try to improve the business environment. These included strengthening trade secret protections, further measures to stop forced technology transfers and increases in the punishment of those who infringe trademarks.

“Bad faith” trademarks, or “trademark squatting”, where an entity registers a brand in anticipation of its entry into China, is a major irritant for foreign investors.

“We believe there needs to be more attention paid to this,” said Nicholas Holt, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China.

“There needs to be more efforts to clamp down on the bad faith trademarks.”

The changes to the Trademark Law take effect on Nov. 1, while amendments to the Administrative Licensing Law, and Law Against Unfair Competition have already come into force.

Getting proper licenses to operate in China has been a lengthy process fraught with uncertainty due to unspecified documentation demanded by various levels of government.

Requiring all administrative licensing criteria to be made public and holding Chinese officials accountable for violating laws have been welcomed by western businesses. But they say implementation would still vary across provinces and cities due to differing interpretations of the law.


The Trump administration says China has repeatedly failed to follow through on pledges to implement reforms sought by the United States.

Washington often cites as an example the difficulties still faced by foreign payment card operators in entering China’s market despite a 2012 World Trade Organization ruling that Beijing was discriminating against them.

Also breeding mistrust was the failure of what would have been the world’s largest-ever semiconductor sector takeover last year in the thick of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

In July last year, China’s antitrust regulator quietly allowed a key approval deadline to lapse, leading to the collapse of Qualcomm Inc’s $44 billion planned takeover of NXP Semiconductors.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Ryan Woo and Michael Martina; editing by Neil Fullick

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China’s Tesla wannabe Xpeng starts ride-hailing service

China’s Tesla wannabe Xpeng starts ride-hailing service

There’re a lot of synergies between electric vehicles and ride-hailing. Drivers are able to save more steering an EV compared to a gas vehicle. Environmentally conscious consumers will choose to hire an electric car. And EVs are designed with better compatibility with autonomous driving, which is expected to hit public roads in the coming decades.

Indeed, Tesla is eyeing to launch its first robotaxis in 2020 as part of a broader ride-sharing scheme. Over in China, where Tesla has a few disciples, EV startup Xpeng Motors, also known as Xiaopeng, just started offering a ride-hailing app powered by its own electric fleets.

Screenshot of Xpeng’s ride-hailing app, Youpeng Chuxing

The company is the latest in a clutch of carmakers flocking to introduce their own ride-hailing platforms. Didi Chuxing’s massive loss has not deterred their ambitious plans. Rather, this may be a prime time to crack a market long dominated by Didi, which is prioritizing safety over growth following two high-profile incidents and a series of new government regulations.

Xpeng’s ride-hailing app is currently only available in a limited area within Guangzhou where it’s headquartered, shows a test conducted by TechCrunch on Thursday.

The company’s coffer is probably large enough to fund its newly minted venture. It’s one of the most-backed EV upstarts alongside rival Nio, which raised $1 billion from a New York initial public offering last year.

Xpeng has to date banked $1.3 billion from Alibaba, IDG Capital, Foxconn, UCAR and other big-name investors, according to disclosed funding data collected by Crunchbase. Founder He Xiaopeng, a serial entrepreneur who made a fortune selling his mobile browser company UCWeb to Alibaba, told CNBC in March that Xpeng may also try an IPO down the road, but wants to focus on building the business first.

When it comes to sources of inspiration for the business, Xpeng told local media that it sees Tesla as its “benchmark.” The company has never been shy about its admiration for its American peer. In an interview with Quartz in 2018, He said one of the reasons he founded Xpeng “was because Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents available. It was so exciting.”

But the affection might have gone a little far. In March, Tesla sued an ex-employee for allegedly stealing Autopilot’s proprietary technology before taking a job at Xpeng.

Xpeng, which started shipping to its first owners in March, was founded five years ago against the backdrop of Beijing’s aggressive electric push in the transportation sector. The sprawling city Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, has turned all its public buses and almost all of its taxis electric.

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Nintendo Answer Questions About Its Plans For China

Nintendo Answer Questions About Its Plans For China

Illustration for article titled Nintendo Answer Questions About Its Plans For China

Screenshot: Nintendo

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

In the past, Nintendo released its consoles through a subsidiary called iQue. Even Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa recently admitted that they “cannot say these releases were a great success.”

In a recent Q&A for investors, Furukawa was asked about Nintendo’s plans for China. Why all the China questions? Because the Switch is finally going on sale there. Below are the most important takeaways from the Nintendo president.

Working with a local Chinese company:

It is true that Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent”) has applied for a game console review to launch Nintendo Switch in China, as disclosed on a Chinese government agency website. The reason for our collaboration with Tencent is because they hold one of the largest positions in China’s network communication and game marketplaces, which we think will allow us to maximize the expansion of our business there.

There are big expectations:

China is a huge market, so the expectations for our business there are probably very high. The reality, however, is that the Chinese game market is almost all mobile games and PC games. The market for dedicated video game platforms has not been very large, so we recognize that this will be a new challenge for us.

It’s still going to be difficult:

We recognize that the Chinese market is vast and attractive, but looking forward, we don’t expect our video game business in China to easily expand, given that our primary markets for dedicated video game consoles, Japan, the Americas, and Europe have been built over the course of more than 30 years. The launch timing for Nintendo Switch in China is not yet determined, so nothing in this area has been included in the financial forecast for the current fiscal year (ending March 2020).

What about mobile?

Actively using Nintendo IP includes the expansion of IP through our mobile business, theme parks, and other methods, but we are not currently able to discuss anything specific about our expansion in China. At this time, we are only announcing that a collaboration with Tencent has been underway regarding plans to sell Nintendo Switch in China, and we are not able to discuss any other aspects of that business.

So…is Nintendo going to work with Tencent for mobile in China?

I cannot say anything at this time about the possibility of our mobile business in China.

Discussions inside our company are ongoing, so we will share more information at a later time when we are able.

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