Tag Archives: trade

Solar panel maker wins trade commission finding, tariff decision to go to Trump

An employee inspects photovoltaic cells following electrical contact soldering during manufacture at Solarworld AG in Freiberg, Germany, in July 2016.

On Friday, the International Trade Commission (ITC) sided with bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Suniva, voting 4-0 that cheap imported solar panels and modules have harmed domestic panel manufacturers.

The commission now has until November to send recommendations on remedies to President Trump, who will be responsible for either setting a tariff on imported solar materials or finding some other remedy. Given Trump’s promises to bolster American manufacturing, it’s likely that he’ll favor restrictions on solar panel imports.The case is unique in that it has caused a considerable rift in the solar industry, with manufacturers on one side and installers on the other. Installers fought against Suniva’s bid for tariffs, saying that cheap imported panels have been a primary driver of the solar industry’s recent boom. Other solar installers have claimed that Suniva’s money woes were the result of mismanagement and poor products, not foreign imports.

Suniva filed for bankruptcy in early 2017 just before it petitioned the ITC for panel and module tariffs. It was later joined by SolarWorld Americas in its petition. The two companies requested “a 40-cent-per-watt duty on imported cells and a 78-cent-per-watt floor price for imported modules,” according to E&E News.

Both sides of the argument have presented numbers to reflect the impact of aggressive tariffs on solar imports. A recent Solar Foundation jobs census found that, in 2016, there were 260,077 solar jobs, including 38,121 jobs in manufacturing. Solar advocacy group Solar Energy Industries of America (SEIA) says that Suniva’s requested tariffs could cause the industry to shed 88,000 jobs. The solar manufacturers, on the other hand, have estimated that protection against imports would allow them to hire nearly 115,000 people, a number that SEIA called “preposterous.”

In a statement, Solar Foundation President Andrea Luecke said, “This decision brings yet more uncertainty to an industry that has created real value for the United States,” adding that the foundation’s recent jobs census showed that “the dramatic growth in US solar employment over the past several years was driven by the sharply reduced cost of installations.”

TJ Kanczuzewski, CEO of Inovateus Solar, told Ars that it was “disheartening” to hear the news of the ITC finding, adding that he was expecting up to a 60-percent drop in solar installations if a newly imposed tariff is as high as Suniva wants. “We’re going to have to plan accordingly,” the CEO said. “There’s still some hope that the tariff will be minimal.”

Ars attempted to contact Suniva but has not received a response. In a statement, Juergen Stein, CEO and president of SolarWorld Americas, said:

On behalf of the entire solar cell and panel manufacturing industry, we welcome this important step toward securing relief from a surge of imports that has idled and shuttered dozens of factories, leaving thousands of workers without jobs. In the remedy phase of the process, we will strive to help fashion a remedy that will put the US industry as a whole back on a growth path.

Complicating matters is the fact that neither Suniva nor SolarWorld Americas is fully US owned and operated. Suniva is 63-percent owned by a Chinese company, and an E&E News report suggests that, prior to bankruptcy, Suniva had been doing quite a lot of manufacturing overseas. SolarWorld Americas, on the other hand, is owned by a German parent company.

US will lose the trade war with China – Jim Rogers

'A US trade war with China will end US monopoly on global financial system’ – Jim Rogers
If the Trump administration puts sanctions on China, this would hurt America more because it just forces China and Russia and other countries to cooperate, says investor and financial commentator Jim Rogers.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned on Tuesday that the US could impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea, saying that the restrictions could involve cutting off Beijing’s access to the US financial system.

“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution banning North Korea’s textile exports and capping its oil imports following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test conducted last week.

RT spoke to famous investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers to discuss global perspectives in the case of the US imposing sanctions on China.

RT: What is the likelihood that the US will go through with and actually impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea?

Jim Rogers: Sanctions are sanctions. They could do sanctions which are not very important or don’t do much damage. And then they will have good public relations which says they have sanctions, but it is meaningless. I would suspect if anything, that is what they will start with. If they put sanctions on China in a big way, it brings the whole world economy down. And in the end, it hurts America more than it hurts China because it just forces China and Russia and other countries closer together. Russia and China and other countries are already trying to come up with a new financial system. If America puts sanctions on them, they would have to do it that much faster and in the end America will lose its monopoly on the financial system, which will hurt America more than anybody.

RT: What do you think, is it an empty rhetoric and saber-rattling from Donald Trump because he said “those [UN] sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen” without specifying what he meant by that. Do you think this is just mere bluff on the part of the US, or would it really use the ‘nuclear option’?

JR: If it uses a nuclear option for sanctions, it will hurt America much more than will hurt North Korea, it will hurt America much more than it will hurt China, Russia and everybody else. It will force the rest of the world to find an alternative to the US financial system. If he does that, it is going to cause a lot of turmoil in the world financial economy and in the end it is going to hurt America more than it is going to hurt anybody else.

I would give you an example, if you look at Russian agriculture right now – America put sanctions on Russian agriculture trying to hurt Russia, but it has helped Russian agriculture. Russian agriculture is booming now. In the end, America has hurt itself more than it has hurt anybody else.

RT: If that happens, what would the consequences be for the global economy? Could this end up becoming a global economic crisis?

JR: We are probably going to have a global economic problem, maybe even crisis, in the next couple of years. This may be one of the things that start it. There is always something which starts a crisis. If America does something like this, this could be the thing that did it. In 1929, it started when America started a huge trade war with the rest of the world and the economists said, “please, this is a mistake,” but America did that anyway. And then we had a great collapse and The Great Depression of the 1930s.

RT: Washington runs a $350 billion annual trade deficit with Beijing. China also holds more than $1 trillion in US debt. How could the US actually threaten China in such circumstances?

JR: Mr. Trump has been saying for over a year, two years, that he was going to start a trade war with China. He was going to put very high tariffs on Chinese goods. In his mind, he wants to do it, he is ready to do it. Some of his advisors are very much in favor of a trade war. It may very well happen. If it happens, it is going to be very bad for the world and it is going to be worse for America than for other people.

RT: How significant is Chinese trade with North Korea?

JR: For North Korea, it is extremely important – that is really the only trade partner. They don’t trade with many people except China. But it is not very important for China. China has got gigantic trade all over the world and North Korea is a very small economy.

RT: What impact will this have on North Korea itself? From an economic perspective, would they be able to keep up their military development under harsh sanctions regime?

JR: If China actually cuts off their oil or something, no, then North Korea cannot do much of anything. North Korea would have troubles surviving if they do something like that. It depends on the sanctions, so far China has not done anything which would destroy North Korea. But they could destroy North Korea if they cut off all trade.

Tatiana Klimova, RT

President tweet goes nuts on China trade – No one is surprised

Trump took to twitter once again to play the twit. He threatened to stop trade with all those doing business with North Korea – an economic act of war not only on China, but the American people. This is what you get with an ex-reality TV show host for president – a guy who makes it up as he goes.

I will say again, as I have many times already, we have a Twilight Zone situation here with a president that is literally a major national security risk. And no, I am not kidding. I am not the only one who thinks so, but among those who will say so publicly.

When Trump put his anti-Russian blustering and fake Moscow threat on the front burner, via his threatening EU energy policy with potentially sanctioning those companies involved in the pipeline deals in process now, we saw that if he would do this to an EU ally, he was capable of worse silliness when dealing with non allies.

EU countries and companies had insisted on partial ownership of the new Russian pipelines to share in a good slice of the long-term economic benefits. They also wanted more secure supply routes to protect against disruptions, like those created by the US’ and NATO’s violent coup in Ukraine and the installation of a criminal oligarchy to run the country that quickly used its transit pipeline to blackmail Russia, while defaulting on the loans that had kept Ukraine afloat.

It would not be an exaggeration in claiming Trump’s announced trade cut off with China as a coup against the American economy. This also shows his staff has no control over him. We need them to threaten to resign en masse if he does not stop his childish but megalomaniac tweets in the morning, but I expect them to do nothing.

The man is incapable of personal embarrassment. Can you all imagine 3.5 or 7.5 more years of this, the damage that can be done? I can’t think of any crazy thing he is not capable ofJD ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPalJimWDean@aol.com

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China has been buying US Treasuries with its trade surplus, becoming a long-term financier of our huge debt

–  First published  …  September 04, 2017 –

As US President Donald Trump threatens to end his country’s dealings with North Korea’s trade partners, a closer look at the substance of the president’s latest Twitter-delivered policy plan reveals the grave damage it would do to the US economy. 

In another bizarre series of tweets, Trump labelled North Korea “an embarrassment to China” and took aim at allies South Korea, accusing Seoul of trying to ‘appease’ its northern neighbors. The threat of ending trade relations with “any country doing business with North Korea” once again raises the prospect of a potentially-disastrous trade war between the US and China.

China receives 90 percent of the goods in North Korea’s $2.83 billion-a-year export trade, making it “North Korea’s only economic backer of any importance,” according to Nicholas Eberstadt, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, North Korea has the 119th largest economy in the world, with China leading India, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines as their largest trade partner. It’s not known how the prospect of further sanctions will impact North Korea.

While Pyongyang imports most of its food and energy supplies from its neighbor, China’s imports from North Korea are mostly made up of seafood, textiles and the minerals. Coal briquettes are Pyongyang’s top export, providing the government coffers with $951 million per year.

The latest UN sanctions imposed on North Korea target its key exports including coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the secretive state’s trade with China rose nearly 40 percent this year compared with the same period in 2016, this despite a noticeable cooling of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang.

China also provides the vast majority of food aid. Since 1995, China, along with Japan, South Korea and the US, have provided more than 75 percent of food aid to North Korea. As relations with all other food aid contributors has deteriorated, only China’s contribution has remained consistent.

It’s feared that any move by the US to cut off trade relations with China, the third-largest destination for its goods and services, would precipitate a global economic meltdown. More immediately, however, it’s forecast that a trade embargo would have a catastrophic impact on the US labor and retail markets.

According to the US-China Business Council, the two countries’ trade relationship is said to support roughly 2.6 million jobs across a number of industries in the US. In total, the two countries traded $578 billion-worth of goods in 2016.

In comparison, Forbes reported that trade between the US and India, North Korea’s other main trading partner, is worth a total of $68 billion. There is also a significant trade imbalance between the countries.

Last year, the US imported $462 billion in Chinese goods and exported $115 billion in goods to China, according to the Census Bureau at the US Department of Commerce.

China also owns an estimated $1.3 trillion in US Treasury bills, notes and bonds, making it the number one investor among foreign governments. US domestic investors, including individuals and corporations, as well as Federal and local government, make up two thirds of all holders of Treasuries.

According to The Economist, any attempt to not repay their Treasuries holdings to China – by default, or in this instance, a sweeping embargo – would result in “cataclysmic consequences for the economy.”

The confluence of events on the Korean peninsula may be Trump’s chance to correct what he has long seen as an unfair trading arrangement with China, a gripe which he made a central pillar to his unlikely run to the presidency in 2016.

Only One Step Away From A Global Trade War

The financial crisis of 2007-2009 effectively terminated the process of globalization. In 2015 world trade suddenly dropped by more than 10% for the first time since 2009. Nothing like this has been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But some politicians, public figures, scholars, and journalists continue to talk about globalization as an «objective» and «progressive» process, even though it has already ended.

The world has embarked on a new era. One important hallmark of this era is the strengthening of protectionism in international trade and investment, the splintering of the global market into trade and economic zones, and even the move to regulating trade on a bilateral basis. According to the WTO, just in the period between October 2015 and May 2016 the G20 countries adopted 145 laws aimed at strengthening trade barriers, and over 1,500 such laws have been adopted since 2008. In total, according to estimates by the renowned British economist Simon Evenett, there are close to 4,000 protectionist laws and regulations on the books around the world. And the countries of the G20 – where over 90% of global trade originates – are responsible for 80 % of those trade barriers.

Donald Trump jumped nimbly onto this bandwagon with campaign slogans promising to revitalize America’s weakened position in world trade – mostly by relying on protectionist measures:

First – he would halt the negotiations to draft the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement between the US and the EU and refuse to ratify the already-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.


Second, he would either find a way out of NAFTA or would completely revise the terms of that treaty with the other parties (Canada and particularly Mexico).


Third, he would use bilateral agreements to frame American trade and economic relations with the rest of the world, while simultaneously moving away from a policy of multilateral or even global regulation of world trade (to the extent that the US is ready to refuse to take part in the work of the WTO).


Fourth, he would completely revise the terms of America’s trade and economic relations with China: increasing the typical level of import duties on Chinese goods to an average of 45% and adopting protectionist measures in connection with what is known as Beijing’s currency war (the artificially weak yuan compared to the US dollar).

Obviously the dogged and headlong pursuit of such a consistently protectionist program could not only strain relations with many of Washington’s trading partners, but could even trigger a trade war. In June the US president-elect thus described American-Chinese economic relations, «We already have a trade war and we’re losing badly». By the spring of 2017 we are likely to hear of his first practical steps to restructure or «adjust» Washington’s international trade policy.

Trump’s protectionist mantras are already being echoed around the world. America’s trading partners are considering retaliatory measures. These are primarily the countries with which the US has the largest trade deficits. In 2015 America’s biggest trade imbalances were with the following five trade partners (in billions of dollars): China – 365.7; Germany – 74.2; Japan – 68.6; Mexico – 58.4; and Vietnam – 30.9. China’s currently astronomical magnitude of foreign exchange reserves is the flip side of the active trade surplus with the US that China has been building up each year. During the 15 years of its membership in the WTO, China has stockpiled a favorable balance of $3.5 trillion from its trade with the US.

The flames of a global trade war could flare up even before Donald Trump moves into the Oval Office. A very important date is right around the corner – Dec. 11, 2016, memorable because that is when China became a full member of the WTO, precisely 15 years ago on Dec. 11, 2001. But many are awaiting Dec. 11, 2016 with tension and fear. Why is that? Because in accordance with the terms of that 15-year-old agreement, China is to be granted the status of a «market economy» no later than Dec. 11, 2016. This is a title it still lacks. According to the WTO’s rules, the member states of this organization can take measures to protect their markets from products exported from countries that are not «market economies». The idea is that countries that have not been awarded the status of «market economies» are propping up their exporters, in one way or another. This includes different types of state subsidies, including surreptitious varieties such as tax breaks. The WTO views public-sector companies with the gravest suspicion. And that would describe a great many of China’s exporters. To protect themselves against exports from such countries, the «civilized» members of the WTO have the right to impose anti-dumping duties, which are sometimes several times higher than the customary tariffs. The WTO does not make the decision to recognize the «market» status of an economy in a centralized manner – that is determined by individual member countries or groups of countries. But Beijing believes that under the terms of China’s 2001 membership agreement with the WTO, after Dec. 11, 2016 all WTO members must adjust their relationships with China in order to take into account the fact that it is now a «market economy». In other words, a mechanism is in place to automatically enforce this provision.

At the beginning of this decade the European Union made it clear to Beijing that China was still very far from a «market economy». And over the course of those years the EU – out of all China’s trading partners – held the record for the most frequent imposition of anti-dumping duties against Chinese goods, especially the products of China’s steel industry. In the past year, Brussels has repeatedly stated that the Chinese economy is still far from being «market-based», and therefore there can be no question of China automatically receiving its desired status. Currently the EU has 68 anti-dumping measures in effect, 51 of which are levied against Chinese goods. These duties can exceed 65% and are imposed on a wide range of products, ranging from steel to solar panels.

Thus, tensions are growing, not only in Beijing’s relationship with Washington, but also with Brussels. Last summer the European steel association Eurofer released a very emotional statement in which it once again demanded that European countries not recognize China as a market economy under any circumstances. That association claims that since 2008 the European steel industry has lost about 85,000 jobs, equal to over 20% of that workforce. According to Eurofer, over the past 18 months China has doubled its exports of rolled steel to the EU. The Eurofer report includes an assessment of not only the steel industry, but also the entire EU economy: due to increased imports of Chinese goods, the EU could lose up to 3.5 million jobs in 25 industries after December 2016.

But there is no consensus within the EU itself about how to proceed in relation to China. In particular, countries such as Spain and Italy are categorically opposed to awarding China the status of a «market economy». Germany is in favor, but has some reservations. The UK was also in favor (without any reservations), although no one in the EU is interested in its opinion any longer. Some EU bureaucrats are willing to accept China’s automatic transition to this new category after Dec. 11, but reserve the right to resort to anti-dumping duties against Chinese goods in «exceptional cases». Representatives of the EU’s ferrous metal industry will only agree to award China this new status if the latter accepts the requirement to eliminate its «excess capacity» for producing ferrous metals. The European Commission (EC) was willing to allow China to automatically be granted this new status on Dec. 11, but the European Parliament unexpectedly rose up in opposition to the EC last May when it passed a harsh anti-China resolution regarding the status of China’s economy.

Beijing, in turn, is trying to encourage the EU to make decisions that are favorable toward China. Sometimes it employs the carrot (for example, the reduction of «excess capacity» in the steel industry) and sometimes the stick («Europe should think twice before it makes a final decision regarding China’s market economy», warned the state-run Xinhua News Agency in the light of May’s European Parliament resolution).

Washington is also keeping its finger on the pulse of this argument. Currently China and the US are trading partners of roughly equal size for the European Union. So if the European Union does in fact recognize China’s market-economy status, that will remove the last hurdle for China’s expansion in Europe. And America’s trade position in the European market will take a corresponding turn for the worse.

This is currently a quiet time of the year for Washington politics. Europe has been left to face China single-handedly and it will have to make its own decision about the status of the Chinese economy. However, even if Brussels reaches its verdict with the political support of the American president (regardless of whether that is Obama or Trump), it will still be faced with a choice between a bad and a very bad option. Either one will trigger a major (global) trade war. Taking into account the mentality of EU bureaucrats, I suspect that they will drag their heels on this crucial decision for an indefinite period. Therefore, the European Union will most likely officially recognize the market economy status of China’s economy, but with the provision that in «exceptional cases» it will continue to resort to anti-dumping duties against Chinese goods.

I believe that by next summer, when Trump has begun to take practical actions on multiple fronts, including work to fundamentally restructure the rules governing global trade, this confusing timeout in the Chinese-European relationship will be over. It is likely to be followed by a sharp flare-up in the trade and economic relationship between the EU and China, which will intensify into an all-out trade war.

Isolated trade-war hot spots that are starting to smolder in different parts of the world could quickly converge into a single major, global, trade-war conflagration.

How Will America Trade With WORTHLESS DOLLARS & NO GOLD? — Bill Holter

Bill Holter from JS Mineset.com is back to help us document the collapse for the fourth week of May, 2016. And as physical gold and silver moves East and into the strong hands of more than a billion Chinese, and as foreign banks publicly settle global trade in the Yuan,

Bill reminds us that “Every step forward by China, is one or two steps backward for the US and the Dollar, that’s what’s happening. For instance, if the Yuan is backed by gold, then why would someone accept the Dollar in lieu of the Yuan if the Dollar’s not backed by anything?

The build out of the infrastructure for the world to move completely away from the Dollar is almost complete. You have been warned.