May 29, 2019

The China-U.S. travel spending decline

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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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

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

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A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

Trump privately scolded, warned by allies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.