China's government has hit back at the Trump administration, accusing the US president of "bullying" over his aggressive tactics in the escalating trade conflict between the two nations, saying it will "rise up" should a full-scale trade war break out.
"China doesn't want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out," Zhong Shan, China's minister for commerce said in a statement.
 
So far, the Trump administration has placed tariffs on $250 billion (R3.7 trillion) worth of Chinese goods, affecting more than 5,000 products. The president, however, has said he is willing to "go to 500"- a colloquial term for placing tariffs on all US imports from China.
 
What was initially seen as an empty threat is now viewed by many observers as a genuine possibility after the latest round of tariffs were announced in late September, after which Trump doubled down on his threats to tax all Chinese imports. Such threats, Zhong said, will not lead China to back down and offer the US concessions.
 
"There is a view in the US that so long as the US keeps increasing tariffs, China will back down. They don't know the history and culture of China," he said.
 
"This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most difficult conditions," he continued.
 
"The US should not underestimate China's resolve and will."
 
Zhong's comments came just a few hours after President Trump once again accused China of taking advantage of the US over trade.
 
"We can't have a one-way street," Trump said during a press conference to discuss the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday afternoon.
 
"It's got to be a two-way street. It's been a one-way street for 25 years. We've got to make it a two-way street. We've got to benefit also," he told reporters.
 
Alongside increasing tariffs, communications between the two sides have become more and more strained in recent weeks. China in September called off planned talks between mid-level officials, and this week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exchanged displeased words with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a trip to Beijing.
 
"Recently, as the US side has been constantly escalating trade friction toward China, it has also adopted a series of actions on the Taiwan issue that harm China's rights and interests, and has made groundless criticism of China's domestic and foreign policies," Wang said at a press conference.
 
"We demand that the US side stop this kind of mistaken action."
 
Pompeo hit back, saying the US has "great concerns about the actions that China has taken."
 
A currency war brewing?
Away from the escalating tensions over trade, the US Treasury has shown new concern about China's devaluation of the renminbi, an action it believes Beijing is using to strengthen its hand with regard to trade by making Chinese goods cheaper.
 
"As we look at trade issues there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations," Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.
 
"We are going to absolutely want to make sure that as part of any trade understanding we come to that currency has to be part of that."
 
Trump has frequently criticised China for his belief that Beijing is artificially weakening its currency to make Chinese exports more competitive, something he believes Beijing is doing to hurt the US economy.
 
In August, he claimed that Beijing is a "currency manipulator."
 
 
Source: Business Insider
The New York Times on Tuesday released an extensive investigation focused on President Donald Trump's fortune.
The Times reported that the president and his family engaged in "instances of outright fraud" to enhance their wealth.
 
The story also runs counter to Trump's narrative that he is a self-made billionaire.
The New York Times reported in an extensive investigation published Tuesday that President Donald Trump engaged in what it described as "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s that even included "instances of outright fraud" that enhanced the fortune that his parents - mainly his father - passed on to him.
 
What The Times reported runs counter to Trump's oft-repeated narrative: that he is a self-made billionaire who built his own empire.
 
While The Times was not able to review Trump's personal tax returns - which he has refused to release, breaking with decades of precedent for presidential nominees - it said it examined a "trove of confidential tax returns and financial records" showing that Trump received at least $413 million (R6.2 billion) in today's dollars from when he was a child through the present day.
 
The Times reported that this money was passed on to Trump because he assisted his parents in dodging taxes, setting up a sham corporation and helping his father take millions in improper tax deductions.
 
The IRS apparently did not offer much "resistance" to the schemes, The Times said.
 
The Times reported that Trump's parents transferred in total more than $1 billion in wealth to their kids, an amount that could've produced as much as $550 million in tax revenue. Instead, the newspaper said, the Trumps paid just north of $50 million in taxes.
 
Charles Harder, an attorney for the president, told The Times in a statement that the report was "100% false and highly defamatory."
 
Robert Trump, the president's brother, also issued a statement to The Times, saying that "all appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid" following their parents' deaths.
 
"Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004," he continued.
 
Harder, the White House, and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that oil prices were too high, and he called for the OPEC cartel of oil producers to "get prices down!"
Trump seemed to threaten the withdrawal of US military resources from the Middle East if OPEC members in the region didn't work to lower prices.
 
He has consistently complained that oil prices are too high.
The oil price dropped after the tweet.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again tweeted his belief that major oil producers in the Middle East were conspiring to keep oil prices high, and he seemed to threaten the withdrawal of military resources from the region if the OPEC cartel did not help to lower prices.
 
"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!" he said in an early-morning tweet. "We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"
 
Oil prices have increased from about $50 a barrel last September to more than $70 a barrel today, with a rebalancing of supply and demand in the market as well as major weather and geopolitical events playing a part.
 
Trump has consistently complained that oil prices are too high, following a significant uptick in prices that has been passed on at the pump to US drivers.
 
High petrol prices can be an issue for voters, and Trump's attacks come just a couple of months ahead of the US midterms, where analysts say rising prices could hurt Republicans. Prices at the pump hit four-year highs back in July.
 
For this year's April-to-September driving season, the Energy Information Administration expects US petrol prices to be up 19% from a year ago, mostly because of expectations for higher crude-oil prices.
 
Bruce Whitfield: Here’s why there is no escaping high petrol prices – and what government can do to make it better
Trump sent a similar tweet in July, in which he also called the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries a monopoly and tacitly threatened to withdraw US support.
 
"The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help," he tweeted on July 5. "If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $'s. This must be a two way street.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA

US President Donald Trump said he and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have fallen “in love” –- their bromance fuelled by “beautiful letters” he received from the leader of the nuclear-armed state.

Trump on Saturday elevated his recent praise of Kim to new heights, at a West Virginia rally in support of local candidates for his Republican Party.

“And then we fell in love — OK? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters. We fell in love,” Trump told the crowd.

On Monday at the United Nations General Assembly Trump lauded the North Korean strongman — who is accused by the UN and others of widespread human rights abuses — as “terrific”, one year after Trump eviscerated Kim from the same platform.

Trump followed those comments by saying Wednesday he had received an “extraordinary letter” from Kim, and sounded optimistic about prospects for a second summit between the two leaders “fairly quickly.”

Trump used his debut address at the UN General Assembly 12 months ago to threaten to “totally destroy” North Korea and belittle its leader as “rocket man,” prompting Kim to respond by calling the president a “mentally deranged US dotard.”

Those were among a series of playground-type slurs the leaders of the two nuclear-armed states hurled at each other, setting the world on edge.

Last August, after US media reported Pyongyang had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit into a missile, Trump warned Pyongyang not to threaten the United States or it would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Kim had earlier compared comments by Trump to the bark of a “rabid dog,” and Trump derided Kim as a “sick puppy” — before the apparent outbreak of puppy love.

Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty.

The summit led to a warming of ties and a halt in Pyongyang’s missile launches, but there has been little concrete progress since.

North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho on Saturday told the UN there was “no way” that his country would disarm first as long as the US continued to push for tough enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump's obsession with building walls has apparently gone global. 
 
Trump recently suggested to the Spanish government it should build a wall in the Sahara desert to address the migration crisis, according to Spain's foreign minister Josep Borrell. 
 
Spain has experienced a surge in migration, particularly over the past year as thousands of people attempt to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe. 
 
The European country has seen over 30,000 migrants and refugees arrive by sea so far in 2018, making Spain the top destination for migrants arriving via the Mediterranean. Moroccans represent the largest single nationality arriving in Spain, but people are coming from other countries in Africa as well.
 
Nearly 2,000 people have died attempting to make the journey across the sea to Europe in 2018 so far. 
 
Trump famously called for a wall to be built along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration to the US during his 2016 presidential campaign, and now apparently feels it can help Europe as well. 
 
When Spanish diplomats told Trump building a wall across the Sahara desert would be no easy feat the president said, "The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico," according to Borrell. 
 
The Sahara desert is roughly 5,000km long. Comparatively, the US-Mexico border spans roughly 3,200km. 
 
Beyond the sheer size of the Sahara, the other challenge to building such a wall is the fact Spain would need permission to do so from the African countries the massive desert stretches across. 
 
Borrell spoke of Trump's Sahara wall suggestion at a lunch in Madrid this week, but did not clarify when the president made these remarks. But The Guardian reports it could've been when the Spanish foreign minister accompanied King Felipe and Queen Letizia to the White House in June.
 
When asked for more details on Borrell's comments, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry told The Guardian, "We can confirm that’s what the minister said, but we won’t be making any further comment on the minister’s remarks."
 
It seems Trump struggles to avoid discussing his desired border wall in almost any context, and on Tuesday said a recent visit to a 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania gave him more inspiration for his vision. 
 
"They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania. Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible," Trump told Hill.TV in an interview on Tuesday. "They have a series of walls, I’m saying, 'It’s like perfect.' So, so, we are pushing very hard."
 
Trump's plan for a border wall along the US-Mexico border has encountered many obstacles in US Congress. The president has repeatedly claimed that construction on the wall is underway, but this is inaccurate. 
 
 
Tribune...
The US has not granted South Africa an exemption on its increased steel and aluminium tariffs, this after the department of trade and industry (DTI) made representations to the US government.
 
The DTI issued a statement expressing its disappointment on the matter on Monday, following a teleconference between Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and US Ambassador CJ Mahoney.
 
US President Donald Trump however signed proclamations granting a select number of countries exemptions until June 1, Bloomberg reported. These countries include the European Union, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.
 
The US is imposing a 10% ad valorem tariff on imports for aluminium products and 25% ad valorem tariff on imports for steel.
 
Davies had made two written submissions to the US and the SA Ambassador to the US Mninwa Mahlangu also engaged with the White House National Security Council Staff, State Department, the Office of the US Trade Representative and Commerce Department on the matter. Davies also had teleconferences with Mahoney and other US trade officials on March 22 and again on April 30 – when SA learnt its fate.
 
Similarly SA’s steel exports in 2017 only accounted for 0.98% of total US steel imports. However the exports represent 5% of SA’s production and this equates to 7 500 jobs in the steel supply chain, the department said. “SA will be disproportionately affected both in terms of jobs and productive capacity,” the department reiterated in its arguments to the US government.
 
The department also argued that SA is also grappling with the steel glut and has control measures in place to avoid transshipment of steel from third countries.
 
SA also offered to restrict its exports to a quota based on the 2017 exports level, but this was not enough to convince the US.
 
Collateral damage
 
The department also pointed out that some of the exempted countries are the “biggest” exporters of steel and aluminium to the US. 
 
According to the department the exempted countries accounted for 58% of steel imports and 49% of aluminium imports to the US in 2017.
 
“South Africa is therefore not a cause of any national security concerns in the US nor a threat to US industry interests and is not the cause of the global steel glut.
 
“Instead, South Africa finds itself as collateral damage in the trade war of key global economies. South Africa is concerned by the unfairness of the measures and that it is one of the countries that are singled out as a contributor to US national security concerns when its exports of aluminium and steel products are not that significant,” the DTI said.
 
The department raised concerns about the impact this decision will have on the competitiveness of SA steel and aluminium products in the US. The department believes it is likely to displace SA products out of the US market in favour of the exempted countries.
 
“South Africa is also concerned that the measures are implemented in a way that contravenes some of the key WTO (World Trade Organisation) principles.”
 
The department said it remains open to engage with US authorities to find a “mutually acceptable” outcome and encouraged domestic exporters to continue to engage with US buyers.
 
 
Fin24

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House carries symbolic as well as real value.

The two leaders have met once before – on the sidelines of the 2017 G7 meeting in Italy. But this is the first official visit to the White House since Trump’s election and since Kenyatta’s highly controversial 2017 re-election.

So why the visit, and why now?

The White House has cast it as an opportunity to deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries, and to advance mutual interests in trade, security and regional leadership by way of reaffirming

Kenya’s position as a corner stone of peace and stability in Africa.

For Kenyatta, it’s an opportunity to reset Kenya’s position as a leading regional actor and Africa’s “ambassador”.

From a strategic perspective, Kenya has been a crucial player in the war on terror given its frontier status with Somalia. It has been a central player in the UN African Union Mission to Somalia force that’s seeking defeat the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Kenya has suffered retaliatory action as a result of its role. Twenty years ago it was one of the first countries in Africa to bear the brunt of Al-Qaeda with a lethal terror attack in Nairobi. This placed Kenya firmly in the position of a strategic player, ensuring the success of the war on terror in East and Central Africa for which the US has strategic interests.

So Kenyatta’s visit will seek to consolidate continuing US military support. This will be through various channels, among them the counter terrorism partnership fund and the combating terrorism fellowship programme. He will also want a commitment to the US’s continued military at Manda Bay and Camp Simba, a Kenya naval base for anti-terrorism operations.

Kenyatta has recently played a lead role as regional broker by hosting a number of peace initiatives in the South Sudan peace process. Despite US reservations, the most recent peace accord appears to be holding, with Kenya taking some credit for the tentative success.

The US will seek to ensure that Kenya continues to play a constructive leadership role and a guarantor of the peace process in South Sudan given its tremendous leverage on that country’s leadership.

Other pressing issues will include trade and foreign direct investment. Here Kenyatta will have to tread carefully given Kenya’s increasingly close ties with China.

And Kenyatta will have his work cut out trying to navigate Trump’s world. How he manages to gain meaningful compromise from an unpredictable and beleaguered host will be keenly watched both at home and far beyond.

Banking on trade

In many ways US-Kenya relations is in uncharted territory. And given Trump’s penchant for bilateralism, Kenyatta will hope to master the art of the deal by minimising the negative impact of “America first” agenda on Kenya-US trade relations.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, imports from Kenya more than doubled . In 2015, 12.3% of US AFRICA FDI went to Kenya. But Trump’s “America first” stance has led to a review of Africa partnerships as well as a renegotiation of bilateral trade agreements.

Amid this policy uncertainty, Kenyatta will want to discuss how to boost trade relations to augment Kenya’s domestic economy given the very broad economic agenda he has set himself to transform the country. Kenya’s economy had suffered from electoral volatility and a slowdown in foreign direct investment, particularly from the US. Kenyatta will be keen to explore how to jump start this with his US counterpart in addition to ensuring the continued robustness of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from which Kenya has greatly benefited.

The Kenyan president can point to the fact that it remains a destination of choice for many US corporations that have established themselves in the domestic economy. These include Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google and IBM.

Kenya-China relations

Kenya’s relationship with China has been growing in leaps and bounds. This is clear from the rise in foreign direct investment flows from China over the past 10 years.

In addition, China has firmly developed a substantial economic and trade strategic relationship with Kenya – from manufacturing to infrastructure development. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the US. The wide gauge railway project, among many others, has established Beijing as an indispensable developmental partner.

To reflect this importance, one of Kenyatta’s first foreign trips was to Beijing.

This growing closeness has caused concern in Washington. The US is keen to retain its traditional sphere of influence and is often wary of other players, particularly China, chipping away at it.

The Conversation

With the increasing trade war with China, the US will seek reassurance that its interests in the region will not be compromised by Beijing’s increasing aggressive overtures in Kenya as well as in the region more broadly.

 

David E Kiwuwa, Associate Professor of International Studies, University of Nottingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

United States President, Donald Trump, has called his Nigeria counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, “so lifeless,” after their April meeting.
 
Buhari and Trump met at the White House on April 30. Both leaders discussed issues bordering on fighting terrorism and economic growth.
 
Punch quoted Global business newspaper, Financial Times, in a recent publication, as saying that as Trump is set to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the newspaper, in an article titled, ‘Africa looks for something new out of Trump,’ claimed that the US leader described Buhari, whom he met officially in April, as ‘so lifeless.’
 
The paper added that Trump warned his aides that he never wanted to meet someone ‘so lifeless’ again.
 
“The first meeting with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter,” Financial Times claimed.
 
Trump had, at a meet-the-press held by the two leaders, praised the Buhari administration. He commended the President’s effort in tackling corruption and insurgency.
 
The 72-year-old American president had then called Nigeria one of the most beautiful places on earth, adding that he would love to visit someday.
 
 
Source: Punch
The dollar dipped Tuesday in Asia after Donald Trump hit out at the Federal Reserve’s interest rate rises and accused it of not backing his economic plan, while most equity markets edged up ahead of highly anticipated China-US trade talks.
The greenback has been on the ascent in recent months as US borrowing costs have gone up and the economy improves, but it stumbled after Trump’s latest criticism of the central bank.
 
In an interview with Reuters, the president said he was “not thrilled” with the rate rises under new Fed boss Jerome Powell, repeating comments made last month about the bank’s tightening measures.
 
 
When asked if he believed in the Fed’s independence, he refused to say yes, telling the reporter: “I believe in the Fed doing what’s good for the country.”
 
Trump also accused the European Union and China of manipulating their currencies, adding that Beijing was weakening the yuan to offset the effects of US tariffs.
 
While analysts said it was unlikely Trump’s remarks would make much difference to the Fed’s decision-making — Powell has said in the past “we don’t take political considerations into account” — the greenback was weaker against most other currencies.
 
The Fed is expected to raise rates twice more this year.
 
The pound and euro enjoyed some much-needed buying, while the yen was also up.
 
Higher-yielding and emerging market currencies — from South Korea’s won and the Indonesian rupiah to the Australian dollar and Mexican peso — were also higher, having come under pressure last week from the Turkey financial crisis.
 
Stocks rally
After the previous day’s broad gains, equity markets fluctuated as traders turn their attention to the China-US talks, which are due Wednesday and Thursday.
 
By the close Tokyo was up 0.1 percent, Hong Kong added 0.6 percent and Shanghai rallied 1.3 percent.
 
Seoul jumped one percent and Singapore and Wellington each gained 0.1 percent, while Taipei and Jakarta also rose.
 
Sydney shed one percent.
 
In early European trade London and Paris each dipped 0.2 percent, while Frankfurt shed 0.1 percent.
 
The trade meeting will be the first since the world’s top two economies started imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods, with the Wall Street Journal saying they are aimed at smoothing the way ahead of a November summit.
 
They also come despite Washington continuing to push through fresh measures slated for Thursday.
 
However, JP Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Tai Hui said: “Given the little progress made on the US-China negotiations in the past six months, investors’ expectations are still low.
 
“Ongoing negotiation is good news, and that’s what the market is riding on at this stage, but a sustainable agreement to end this tension still seems unlikely at this point.”
 
He added: “If China’s earlier offer to buy US products and open up its market did not convince the US to de-escalate, it would take more creativity from Beijing to reach a compromise.”
 
– Key figures around 0810 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,219.73 (close)
 
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 27,752.79 (close)
 
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.3 percent at 2,733.83 (close)
 
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,580.80
 
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1535 from $1.1479 at 2030 GMT
 
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2836 from $1.2791
 
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.01 yen from 110.11 yen
 
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 30 cents at $66.73 per barrel
 
Oil – Brent Crude: UP five cents at $72.26 per barrel
 
New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.4 percent at 25,758.69 (close)
 
The Guardian
 

United States President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill that imposes tough new conditions that have to be met before sanctions are lifted.

The Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that his country is open for business, but this new law – the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act – could scupper those plans as far as the US is concerned.

The United States law says that in order for sanctions to end the election has to be “widely accepted as free and fair”. The other condition mentioned is that the army has to “respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and to be nonpartisan in character”.

In the days following the poll, six opposition supporters died in clashes with the army, which has led some to question about its neutrality.

Zimbabwe is also required to take steps towards “good governance, including respect for the opposition”.

The United States has criticised the treatment of opposition supporters and in particular key opposition figure Tendai Biti, who has been arrested in connection with the post-election violence.

“The United States government is gravely concerned by credible reports of numerous detentions, beatings, and other abuses of Zimbabweans over the past week, particularly targeting opposition activists”, State Department spokespersonHeather Nauert said.

“We call on Zimbabwe’s leaders to guarantee Mr Biti’s physical safety and ensure his constitutional and human rights are respected.”

The United States began imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001. The sanctions imposed in Zimbabwe target individuals, as well as banning trade in defence items and direct government assistance for non-humanitarian programmes.

However, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge for free and fair poll has been marred by post-electoral violence that claimed seven lives after soldiers opened fire in Harare’s crowded streets last week.

 

Source: Report Focus News

Page 1 of 3

  1. Opinions and Analysis

Calender

« October 2018 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31