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China announces retaliation for Trump tariffs

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This morning, the Chinese government announced its planned retaliation for the Trump tariffs. Xinhua News Agency says that China has “unveiled a list of products worth $50 billion imported from the United States that will be subject to higher tariffs, including soybeans, automobiles, aircraft and chemical products.” Other products included are sorghum, beef, orange juice, and cranberries. You can find the full list of 106 products here.

  • “Financial markets from stocks to soybeans plunged suddenly in overnight trading as China hit back at President Donald Trump’s trade actions much faster than expected,” says CNBC.
  • However, the “trade war freakout didn’t last long,” reports CNN: “The Dow opened down more than 500 points. But the market erased most of those losses by midday.”
  • “The two sides have left themselves a window to back down,” according to Bloomberg, as the American tariffs have a 60-day public comment period before taking effect, and China’s duties would come into force at the same time.
  • Trump’s tariffs are an outcome of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Section 301 report, which Macro Polo’s Matt Sheehan has analyzed, and calls “a surprisingly cogent analysis — and pushback — on China’s push to dominate high-tech manufacturing.”
  • Chinese tariffs on soy are a big worry for American farmers, but some analysts say there is nothing to worry about: Bloomberg says that China has to import soy, so the tariff won’t hurt the big picture; the Dim Sum blog agrees: China’s soybean retaliation: No good options.
  • Trade war or skirmish? On SupChina, Mary Reed Davis says that “While the U.S. and China aren’t technically in a “trade war” (yet), that doesn’t mean real workers — particularly among rural Trump voters — won’t get hurt.”

To Russia with love

The Associated Press yesterday reported that Wei Fenghe 魏凤和, China’s defense minister,  “says his visit to Russia is a signal to the United States about the increasingly close military ties between Moscow and Beijing.”

  • Minister of foreign affairs Wang Yi 王毅 is accompanying Wei. Wang “is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Thursday,” according to the South China Morning Post.
  • This relationship is as firm as a rock,” said a Chinese military spokesperson to state broadcaster CGTN, explaining that the “China-Russia relationship is the best major-country relationship in today’s world.” CGTN also says that Wei will attend the Moscow Conference on International Security this week.

Eric X. Li pops up again

Eric X. Li 李世默, the venture capitalist who writes op-eds in American newspapers defending China’s leadership, is at it again. This time, he is arguing in the Washington Post that Xi’s lifting of term limits is “a good thing.” He must have changed his mind: In a 2013 TED talk in praise of the Chinese government (in this YouTube video at time stamp 6:48), he remarks on how the adoption of term limits was an example of the Party’s ability to self-correct. (Thanks to Bloomberg correspondent Dexter Roberts for tweeting the video.)

You never know when you might need to look something up

The People’s Daily is here to help with a database (in Chinese) of Xi Jinping’s important speeches (习近平重要讲话数据库 xí jìnpíng zhòngyào jiǎnghuà shùjùkù).

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.