How China Obtains American Trade Secrets – by Keith Bradsher – New York Times

“. . . . The American authorities have long accused Chinese companies and individuals of hacking and other outright theft of American corporate secrets. And some in the Trump administration worry that Chinese companies are simply buying it through corporate deals.

American companies say Chinese companies also use more subtle tactics to get access to valuable technology.

Sometimes China requires foreign companies to form joint ventures with local firms in order to do business there, as in the case of the auto industry. It also sometimes requires that a certain percentage of a product’s value be manufactured locally, as it once did with wind turbines and solar panels.

The technology companies Apple and Amazon set up ventures with local partners to handle data in China to comply with internal security laws.

Companies are loath to accuse Chinese partners of theft for fear of getting punished. Business groups that represent them say Chinese companies use those corporate ties to pressure foreign partners into giving up secrets. They also say Chinese officials have pressured foreign companies to give them access to sensitive technology as part of a review process to make sure those products are safe for Chinese consumers.”

Opinion | Why Is Trump a Tariff Man? – by Paul Kruman – The New York Times

“One answer is that Trump has long had a fixation on the idea that tariffs are the answer to America’s problems, and he’s not the kind of man who reconsiders his prejudices in the light of evidence. But there’s also something else: U.S. trade law offers Trump more freedom of action — more ability to do whatever he wants — than any other policy area.

The basic story is that long ago — in fact, in the aftermath of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 — Congress deliberately limited its own role in trade policy. Instead, it gave the president the power to negotiate trade deals with other countries, which would then face up-or-down votes without amendments.

It was always clear, however, that this system needed some flexibility to respond to events. So the executive branch was given the power to impose temporary tariffs under certain conditions: import surges, threats to national security, unfair practices by foreign governments. The idea was that nonpartisan experts would determine whether and when these conditions existed, and the president would then decide whether to act.

This system worked well for many years. It turned out, however, to be extremely vulnerable to someone like Trump, for whom everything is partisan and expertise is a four-letter word. Trump’s tariff justifications have often been self-evidently absurd — seriously, who imagines that imports of Canadian steel threaten U.S. national security? But there’s no obvious way to stop him from imposing tariffs whenever he feels like it.

And there’s also no obvious way to stop his officials from granting individual businesses tariff exemptions, supposedly based on economic criteria but in fact as a reward for political support. Tariff policy isn’t the only arena in which Trump can practice crony capitalism — federal contracting is looking increasingly scandalous — but tariffs are especially ripe for exploitation.

So that’s why Trump is a Tariff Man: Tariffs let him exercise unconstrained power, rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies. Anyone imagining that he’s going to change his ways and start behaving responsibly is living in a fantasy world.”

Opinion | Trump and Xi Sittin’ in a Tree – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I was glad to see the stock market get a boost from the news that Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators were talking again and that President Trump blinked a bit and pulled some of his planned tariffs.

But don’t be fooled. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are still locked in a cage match over who is the true big dog in today’s global economy. Both are desperate not only to “win,” but to be seen to win, and not be subjected to the scorn of their rivals or critics on social media.

Precisely because neither leader feels he can afford that fate, both have overplayed their hands. Xi basically believes that nothing has to change — and all can be made to stay the same by the force of his will. Trump basically believes that everything has to change — and all can be made to change by the force of his will.

The rest of us are just along for the ride.

Let’s look at both men’s calculations and miscalculations. Trump was right in arguing that America should not continue to tolerate systemic abusive Chinese trade practices — intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, huge government subsidies and nonreciprocal treatment of U.S. companies in China — now that China is virtually America’s technology equal and a rising middle-income country.”

Opinion | How Trump and Xi Can Make America and China Poor Again – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“If you think that the United States-China trade dispute is going to be easily resolved, you’re not paying attention. It’s so much deeper than you think — and so much more dangerous.

If President Trump and President Xi Jinping don’t find a way to defuse it soon, we’re going to get where we’re going — fracturing the globalization system that has brought the world more peace and prosperity over the last 70 years than at any other time in history. And what we’ll be birthing in its place is a digital Berlin Wall and a two-internet, two-technology world: one dominated by China and the other by the United States.

This will be a much more unstable and less prosperous world. Trump and Xi should drop everything and sit down to resolve this crisis before it becomes a runaway train — fueled by populists and nationalists, and amplified by social media, in both countries.

How did we get here? Two things converged: The character of U.S.-China trade changed — it went “deep,” and both President Xi and President Trump overplayed their hands and freaked each other out.”

Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/us/politics/hikvision-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The move is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders. The president, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goodsthreatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems. The Commerce Department may require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Commets
Thank you Ana Swanson and Edward Wong. My god this is complicated. I confess I liked comments which appeared on the surface at least, to disagree with each other. We need to try and help the oppressed Uighurs of Xinjiang. But are tariffs the best way to do it, or do tariffs bite us as well as the Chinese? We need to play hard balll with China, but are tariffs the right tool? Was there anything in th TPP, (the Trans Pacific Partnership) tool bag for its members to help the Uighurs? Please write more about this complexity. Does our trade war with China help or hurt our need to reduce world green house gases dramatically in the next ten years? I would like to hear from world famous economists as well as Sinophiles.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com.

Trump’s Love for Tariffs Began in Japan’s ’80s Boom – By Jim Tankersley and Mark Landler – The New York Times

InconvenientNews.Net

By Jim Tankersley and Mark Landler
May 15, 2019, 9
“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…

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Opinion | America the Cowardly Bully – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

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By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

March 4, 2019,   529 c


President Trump’s trade belligerence has done lasting damage to America’s reputation.CreditCreditPete Marovich for The New York Times
This is the way the trade war ends. Not with a bang but with empty bombast.

“According to multiple news organizations, the U.S. and China are close to a deal that would effectively end trade hostilities. Under the reported deal, America would remove most of the tariffs it imposed last year. China, for its part, would end its retaliatory tariffs, make some changes to its investment and competition policies and direct state enterprises to buy specified amounts of U.S. agricultural and energy products.

The Trump administration will, of course, trumpet the deal as a triumph. In reality, however, it’s much ado about nothing much.

As described, the deal would do little to address real complaints about Chinese policy, which mainly involve China’s systematic expropriation of intellectual property. Nor would it do much to address Donald Trump’s pet although misguided peeve, the imbalance in U.S.-China trade. Basically, Trump will have backed down.

If this is the story, it will repeat what we saw on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump denounced as the “worst trade deal ever made.” In the end, what Trump negotiated — the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or U.S.M.C.A. — was very similar to the previous status quo. Trade experts I know, when not referring to it as the Village People agreement, call it “Nafta 0.8”: fundamentally the same as Nafta, but a bit worse.”

via Opinion | America the Cowardly Bully – The New York Times

Opinion | You Don’t Understand Tariffs- Man – Editorial- The New York Times

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Not long after claiming victory in the midterm elections in which his party lost at least 39 House seats, President Trump kept up his winning streak this past weekend, this time on the world stage.

At the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, he called a temporary truce with President Xi Jinping of China in the nearly yearlong trade dispute between the two countries. The United States will continue to impose a 10 percent tariff on up to $250 billion of Chinese goods but will hold fire on threats to boost that duty to 25 percent in January. China, which has countered with $110 billion in tariffs on American goods, will reportedly lower some tariffs on American-made autos and resume buying soybeans and other agricultural commodities that had been priced out of the market by the countervailing duties.

“It’s an incredible deal,” the president claimed, and yet it is not, in fact, even a deal. The two countries have given themselves 90 days to find a framework from which to construct a new trade agreement — something they haven’t been able to do over the past two years. Nor has China given an indication that it will make any big concessions in 2019.

via Opinion | You Don’t Understand Tariffs, Man – The New York Times

How Tariffs Work- and Why China Won’t See a Bill – The New York Times

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By Jim Tankersley
Nov. 29, 2018

President Trump frequently promotes the idea that when the United States places a tariff on an import from another country, that other country directly pays the bill.

He’s wrong, but he keeps saying it.

“Billions of dollars will soon be pouring into our Treasury from taxes that China is paying for us,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference earlier this month. On Thursday, he wrote something similar on Twitter:

via How Tariffs Work, and Why China Won’t See a Bill – The New York Times

Opinion | Worse Than Nafta – by Gustavo A. Flores-Macías and Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer – NYT

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By Gustavo A. Flores-Macías and Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer

Professor Flores-Macías is an associate professor of government at Cornell. Professor Sánchez-Talanquer is an assistant professor of political science at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics.

 

“North American business leaders are breathing a sigh of relief after Canada agreed, at the 11th hour, to join the revised North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Mexico. But before they break out the Champagne, they should look at the details.

Although the revised deal brings much-needed modernization in areas such as e-commerce and intellectual property, the media spotlight on Canada has obscured a bigger problem for the region: Under the new terms, North American trade is headed off the rails and, perhaps along with it, political stability south of the border.

A key goal of Nafta, like all free trade agreements, is bringing certainty to the rules of the game to facilitate commercial exchanges. The new deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, undermines that certainty in two ways.

First, the deal eliminates expert panels for resolving government-investor disputes in most industries, save for those covering energy and telecommunications. Although it preserves panels for bilateral disputes regarding dumping and countervailing duties, it defers to domestic courts as the main mechanism for solving controversies should governments change the rules down the road. This measure puts a lot of faith in the transparency and competence of the legal systems of the member countries and opens the door to potential cronyism, unequal access to those systems and even corruption.

Second, the agreement sets up a mechanism for automatically reviewing its terms on a periodic basis. This and the automatic expiration after 16 years as the default option introduce significant uncertainty by making it less costly for governments to upend existing rules and threaten to exit the agreement. Establishing periodic reviews as natural breaking points for the rules of the game would certainly shorten investors’ time horizons.”

via Opinion | Worse Than Nafta – The New York Times