Frihandel i media vecka 48

2019-11-28

Trumps handelkrig skadar allvarligt USA:s ekonomi. Newsweek skriver:  

“President Donald Trump’s unresolved trade war with China is seriously damaging the American economy and, unless a deal is made soon between Washington and Beijing, the risks of recession will substantially increase, a top economist said.

Trump has said a “phase one” agreement with China on the various trade issues is nearly complete.

But until anything is signed by Trump or his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in goods traded between the two will remain.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at financial consultancy Moody’s Analytics, warned about the trade war’s damaging economic impact during his appearance on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes show Wednesday night.

“If you roll this back to a year ago, we were on track to seeing a very strong economy, lower unemployment, wage growth was picking up, particularly at the low end—of course, minimum wage hikes really did help there,” Zandi said.

“But then we had the trade war. The trade war has done very serious damage to the economy and, in fact, if the president decides to continue to pursue the trade war, recession risks will rise.

“I think [Trump] is connecting the dots between the trade war, the economy, and his re-election. He’ll probably figure out some way to come to some kind of face-saving arrangement with the Chinese.

“But if he doesn’t, then the economy is really going to struggle and recession risks are going to be very high. We were nearly there. We just got side-tracked by really bad economic policy.”

 

2019-11-26

Bloomberg skriver om hur Kinas inställning till Hong Kong påverkas av USA:s politik och önskan om ett handelsavtal:

“Chinese President Xi Jinping last month warned that any attempt to split Hong Kong from China — which agreed in 1997 to allow Hong Kong to keep its liberal system for 50 years — would end with “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.” The victory of pro-democracy forces in local elections last weekend has already prompted a stern warning from Beijing. The prospect of a Tiananmen-style confrontation in Hong Kong is real.

It is not, however, inevitable. That is the opinion of Emily Lau, the former chair of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party.

First, she told me in an interview last weekend at the Halifax International Security Forum, there is the 1997 agreement, which Chinese officials do not want to break. “They would look very bad to the world and even the Chinese people,” she said. Second, there is Hong Kong’s status as a world financial center, which Chinese officials do not want to jeopardize.

China also has external disincentives to refrain from a military incursion. One of them is President Donald Trump’s threat that such a move would derail trade negotiations. Xi has “a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that, you’ll be making a big mistake,’” Trump said last week with typical bluster. “It’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal. And he wants to make a trade deal.”

(—)

But while Trump’s top priority with China may be a trade deal, Congress has other ideas. Last week both houses passed by a near-unanimous vote the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would sanction and ban travel for any person responsible for human-rights abuses against citizens in Hong Kong.

These kinds of tailored sanctions have typically been imposed after a government commits an atrocity — such as the Saudi murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. This bill is meant to send a message to the officers and soldiers garrisoned inside Hong Kong: If you engage in violence against demonstrators, you will be held accountable.

On balance, Lau said, she supports the legislation. Although it would be difficult to “establish the facts in this process,” she said, the prospect of sanctions could restrain many police officers or government officials with family or financial connections in America. “If you ban them from traveling and freeze their assets, they would be very scared,” she said.

Regardless of whether Trump signs the bill, it’s almost certain that the sanctions will become law — Congress has the votes to override Trump’s veto. (If he does nothing, it becomes law next week.) And if he does veto it simply to preserve his negotiations with Xi, it would still be a mistake. When asked Tuesday about the Hong Kong protesters, Trump said, “We’re with them,” then emphasized the need for an agreement with China.

Xi needs a trade deal as much as Trump does. The American president should seize this opportunity to show China and the world that even a divided Washington can show solidarity with Hong Kong.”

2019-11-25

DN skriver om WTO:s kris:

“Men konflikter om villkor har alltid uppstått, långt innan president Donald Trump drog i gång sina handelskrig. Världshandelsorganisationen, WTO, skapades just för att upprätthålla regler och ramverk. Den 11 december kan dess hjärta drabbas av infarkt.

WTO:s överprövningsorgan är ett slags skiljenämnd, dit länder kan vända sig med klagomål på hur andra sköter sin handel. Det ska ha sju domare, och måste ha tre för att kunna fatta beslut. Nu finns precis tre, men om två veckor går mandaten ut för två av dem. USA har i flera år blockerat nya nomineringar. Organet är på väg att dö, och ingen tror att Washington tänker rädda det.

(—)

Tveklöst måste WTO reformeras för att överleva. Dessvärre finns inget samförstånd om vilka problem som ska lösas. Att ett av de största heter Kina står dock helt klart.

Kina insisterar på att fortsätta definieras som u-land, vilket ger betydande förmåner, trots att det har blivit en megaekonomi. Denna vilar i sin tur på gigantiska statssubventioner till exportföretag, dumpade priser, utestängning av utländska företag från hemmamarknaden, teknikstölder och allsköns dubiösa metoder.

WTO:s tvistlösningsmekanism är inte gjord för ett kommunistiskt styrt, statskapitalistiskt system, som Trumps högste handelsansvarige Robert Lighthizer har understrukit. Och EU, Japan med flera har i grunden samma invändningar mot kineserna.

Samtidigt driver Trump sitt eget handelskrig mot Kina utan synlig strategi. Tullar har kablats ut som främst drabbar amerikanska importörer och konsumenter. Mer logiskt vore att använda WTO som murbräcka.

Kina visar inget intresse för reformer som skulle störa den egna modellen, och vill inte ens säga vad som skulle vara tänkbart. Men om USA, EU och andra stora handelsmakter agerar gemensamt skulle det gå att sätta väldig press. Kina har ingen lust, och inte råd, att bli isolerat. I stället lägger Trump ståltullar på de européer och asiater som vore naturliga allierade, och gör sitt bästa för att skjuta WTO i sank.”

 

 


Taggar: WTO, Kina, Trump, Hong Kong
Kategorier: Frihandel i media