May 29, 2019

The China-U.S. travel spending decline

Data: National Travel and Tourism Office; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

One of the few areas the U.S. holds a trade surplus with China is in travel. Significantly more Chinese visit the U.S. every year than Americans visit China, spending an estimated $36.3 billion last year.

Details: Tourism has been a major boost to U.S. businesses and has helped reduce the overall trade deficit with China.

Why it matters: The increase in tourism spending by Chinese year-over-year has been markedly slowing since 2016 and is seriously threatened by the escalating trade war, the U.S. Travel Association warns.

  • "The difficulty with trade skirmishes is that the unintended consequences are hard to predict, and we were concerned from the start that tensions with China might affect business and other travel to the U.S.," said the group's executive vice president for public affairs and policy Tori Barnes.
  • "The irony is that travel exports have been the greatest success story of our trade relationship with China, generating a $30 billion surplus and accounting for 19% of all our exports to that country in 2017."

Go deeper: Chinese tourism to the U.S. drops for first time in 15 years

Go deeper

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.

Trump indulges Wall Street with Milken pardon

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump loves Wall Street shenanigans. Companies owned by him have declared bankruptcy six different times, and he was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk-bond prices.

Driving the news: Trump pardoned Milken this week, with an official statement positively gushing over Milken's role in developing the wilder side of fixed-income capital markets.