Mar 23, 2018

China tariffs force "New Era" to truly begin

Hong Kong and mainland Chinese stocks plunged at open on March 23 due to growing global trade war fears. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump has finally pulled the trigger on his long-promised trade actions against China.

What's happening: Tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods are just one part of what is coming, with the detailed list to come in 15 days, and after that a 30-day comment period, aka lobbying free-for-all.

  • There will also be more restrictions on PRC investments in the U.S. and possibly visa restrictions for PRC citizens in America studying science and technology.

My thought bubble: During his visit to Washington at the beginning of March, Liu He, now a vice-premier, presented the U.S. with a list of areas in which the PRC was willing to make concessions. The Trump team did not agree but the two sides are still discussing that list and it's possible that during the 45-day period the U.S. and China can reach an agreement on broader concessions that may forestall a broader trade war, at least in the near-term.

Why it matters: Chinese President Xi Jinping declared last fall that China has entered a “New Era.” The Trump Administration, after much rhetoric since the campaign, has now signaled officially that engagement is dead and we are in a "New Era of U.S.-China Relations," in which there will be intensified competition if not outright conflict. There may be deals cut to blunt this round of tariffs, but there's little reason to expect any change in the U.S.-China trajectory towards increasing friction.

Go deeper: The tariffs are targeted at the sectors that China identified in its "Made in China 2025" plan as strategic areas it needs to dominate to become a modern economic superpower.

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."