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.

The Federal Government has expressed willingness to involve Nigerians in the diaspora in its strides to develop the country’s economy.

The effort, which is aimed at ensuring the realisation of the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, AbdulGaniyu Aminu.

The ERGP is a four-year medium term strategic blueprint of the Federal Government covering 2017 to 2020 and focusing on human capital investment, restoration of economic growth, and building a competitive economy.

According to the statement, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, is expected to begin a tour of the United States on Monday to this effect.

Amino said the tour would serve as an avenue to meet and discuss with Nigerians living abroad and advance a case for returning home and exploring opportunities in the country.

The statement also noted that the minister would travel to Cuba to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on science and technology.

“The visit to the United States of America which is from August 27 to September 4 will afford the minister the opportunity to meet with Nigerians in the United States to sensitise them to the numerous advantages of the Executive Order Five, which is to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017-2020.

“In accordance with section five (capacity building) of the Executive Order Five, the ministry is expected to take steps to encourage indigenous professionals in the Diaspora to return home and use their experience to develop Nigeria. Onu is expected to visit New York, Washington-DC and Florida.

“The minister will, at the end of the visit to the US, proceed to Cuba on September 5 to honour the invitation of the Government of Cuba to enable both countries to evaluate the possibilities of cooperation in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

“The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreement in science, technology, and innovation, under the auspices of Ministries of Science and Technology of both countries,” he added

Amino pointed out that, Nigeria could domesticate some of Cuba’s technologies to reduce importation in line with the Executive Order Five since the country had advanced it’s technologies.

 

Business Insider

The US is to impose sanctions on Russia after determining that it used nerve agent against former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK in March.

The move was announced on Wednesday by the US state department.

A UK investigation blamed Russia for the attack, but the Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement.

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on 4 March.

They were seriously ill but recovered after spending several weeks in hospital.

The US determined “that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals”, US state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

BBC reports that the sanctions are to take effect on or around 22 August, she added

European companies can be protected from new U.S. sanctions on Iran, a junior British foreign minister said on Tuesday, after President Donald Trump withdrew from an international agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons.
 
As Washington’s so-called snapback sanctions are reinstated on Tuesday, a new EU law to shield European companies will also take effect to try to mitigate what EU officials say is their unlawful reach beyond U.S. borders.
 
“If a company fears legal action taken against it and enforcement action were taken against it by an entity in response to American sanctions then that company can be protected as far as EU legislation is concerned,” Alistair Burt, the British minister of state for the Middle East, told BBC radio.
 
“It is a commercial decision for companies whether they continue to work in Iran.”
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged on Sunday that his son met with Russians in 2016 at Trump Tower to get information on his election opponent Hillary Clinton, saying it was “totally legal” and “done all the time in politics.”
 
The Republican president had previously said the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
 
Trump’s morning Twitter post was his most direct statement on the purpose of the meeting, though his son and others have said it was to gather damaging information on the Democratic candidate.
 
In a post on Twitter, Trump also denied reports in the Washington Post and CNN that he was concerned his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., could be in legal trouble because of the meeting with the Russians, including a lawyer with Kremlin ties.
 
He repeated that he had not known about the meeting in advance.
 
“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” Trump said.
 
Political campaigns routinely pursue opposition research on their opponents, but not with foreign representatives from a country viewed as an adversary. Russian officials were under U.S. sanctions at the time.
 
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Russia to sway the White House race in his favor. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied his government interfered.
 
One part of the inquiry has focused on a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Jr., other campaign aides and a group of Russians.
 
Email released by Donald Jr. himself showed he had been keen on the meeting because his father’s campaign was being offered potentially damaging information on Clinton.
 
Donald Jr. said later he realized the meeting was primarily aimed at lobbying against the 2012 Magnitsky sanctions law, which led to Moscow denying Americans the right to adopt Russian orphans.
 
President Trump has repeatedly denied that his campaign worked with Moscow, saying “No Collusion!” Last week, however, he adopted his lawyers’ tactics and insisted “collusion is not a crime.”
 
While collusion is not a technical legal charge, Mueller could bring conspiracy charges if he finds that any campaign member worked with Russia to break U.S. law. Working with a foreign national with the intent of influencing a U.S. election could violate multiple laws, according to legal experts.
 
CNN reported last month that Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer, was willing to tell Mueller that Trump did know about the Trump Tower meeting in advance.
 
Trump’s lawyers and the White House have given conflicting accounts about whether Trump was involved in crafting Donald Jr.’s response to a New York Times article last summer revealing the Trump Tower meeting with the adoptions rationale. Trump’s lawyers acknowledged in a letter to Mueller’s team in January 2018 that Trump dictated the response, according to the Times.
 
Trump has stepped up his public attacks on the Mueller probe since the first trial to arise from it began last week in Alexandria, Virginia, involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
 
The federal tax and bank fraud charges Manafort faces are not related to the Trump campaign but Manafort’s close relations with Russians and a Kremlin-backed Ukrainian politician are under scrutiny in the trial.
 
Trump’s attacks on the special counsel’s investigation have been rebuffed by Republican leaders in Congress who have expressed support for Mueller.
 
“The president should be straightforward with the American people about the threat to our election process that Russia, Putin in particular, is engaged in is ongoing,” Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
 
One of the president’s personal lawyers said on Sunday that if Trump is subpoenaed by the special counsel, his lawyers will attempt to quash it in court. Any legal battle over whether the president can be compelled to testify could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
 
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election with a campaign of hacking into Democratic Party computer networks and spreading disinformation on social media. American intelligence officials say Russia is targeting the November congressional elections, which will determine whether or not Republicans keep control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
 
 
Source: Reuters
 
 
 
 

The Naira on Thursday gained marginally against the dollar at the parallel market in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The Nigerian currency gained 50 kobo to close at N358, stronger than N358.5 traded on Thursday, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N480 and N418.5 respectively.

At the Bureau De Change (BDC) window, the naira closed at N360 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N480 and N418.5 respectively.

The naira, however, appreciated at the investors’ window, closing at N361.45, stronger than N361.68 traded on Thursday, while it was sold at N305.90 at the Central Bank of Nigeria official window.

Meanwhile, Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, said that Nigeria performed very well among emerging markets in Africa.

Emefiele in an interaction with newsmen at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, added that the foreign exchange market had remained stable.

According to him, the apex bank had enough buffers to defend the naira.

 

Source: NAN

Tensions are escalating between China and the US over trade. The Chinese government has announced retaliatory measures on a range of American products including cars and some American agriculture products after the US listed 1,333 Chinese products to be hit by punitive tariffs of 25%.

Yet a trade war does not make economic sense for either side. Bilateral trade between the US and China was worth about US$711 billion in 2017 and Boeing’s single deal with China signed during Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing in 2016 was worth about US$37 billion alone.

The jobs and livelihoods at risk are huge. So why is there no particular desire, especially from Trump, to ease the tension and find a new solution?

There has been much talk about the US trade deficit with China and allegations that China steals US intellectual property. But the answer could lie in US fears of the Chinese government’s “Made in China 2025” initiative and how it signals the growing threat of China as an economic rival. That the official US Trade Representative’s recent investigation into Chinese trade practices mentioned the Made in China 2025 initiative more than 100 times, suggests this is the case.

Image problems

Made in China 2025 was launched by the Chinese government in 2015 to upgrade the country’s manufacturing capabilities. It is a plan to transform what China produces from a low-cost, labour-intensive model to advanced and smart manufacturing. Certain key industries such as aerospace, robotics and high-tech medical equipment have been prioritised. The hope is that China will gradually match developed countries’ manufacturing capabilities and become industry leaders.

A lot of the products from these key industries, such as industrial robots, aviation and aerospace equipment, new energy and power supplies and advanced rail machinery were all included in the tariff target list published by the US Trade Representative. So it would seem that the current situation is not simply a trade issue aimed to reduce America’s trade deficit with China. Instead, it is likely targeted at the future competition China will pose.

Made in China 2.0. shutterstock.com

China’s Made in China 2025 strategy makes perfect sense in my field of research, which concerns where products are manufactured and how this effects their popularity in the global market place. A strong and positive image of a country can generate what economists call “halo effects” on its products. So, Germans have built good reputations for their cars and engineering, France and Italy for their wine and fashion, and the US for their innovative products.

This worldwide reputation brings with it prestige and higher price premiums. Although there is still debate around whether brand origin could be more important than where the product is produced (Apple, for example designs its products in the US but manufactures them in China), there is no doubt that “Made in China” suffers from an image problem.

Chinese products have long been associated with a cheap and cheerful perception that they are not good in terms of quality or ingenuity. The Chinese government has long been aware of this view and keen to change it.

At the turn of the 21st century, it set up a policy called “Going Out” to encourage leading Chinese firms to expand internationally, acquire new technology and the tools to innovate. The two big examples were IT firm Lenovo’s takeover of IBM’s personal computer division in 2005 and Geely automotive’s purchase of Volvo in 2010. Made in China 2025 serves the same purpose – to boost China’s technology and innovation capabilities and to improve the image of Chinese products.

Impressive growth

There is no doubt that China has come a long way since the 1990s. It has built 22,000km of advanced high speed rail network within the last decade, which is more than the rest of the world combined. It is also considered as the global leader in renewable energy and technology, patent filings, commercial drones, industrial robotics and e-commerce and mobile payments.

China is already a leader in some tech. shutterstock.com

Chinese telecommunications company Huawei typifies the transformation of Chinese products in recent years. Within the last decade, Huawei has surpassed Ericsson and Nokia to become the world’s biggest telecom equipment supplier and has just overtaken Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung.

What’s more remarkable about these statistics is that Huawei has transformed itself from a cheap phone maker to an accepted premium brand that can compete with Apple and Samsung. Its latest releases the top of the range Huawei P20 Pro will retail for US$1,100 and its top end model Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS will sell for US$2,109 – even more than the iPhone X.

There is no doubt that some in the US are uncomfortable with China’s impressive growth and feel threatened by it. It suggests the current trade dispute is not just about imports and exports, but also an incumbent superpower feeling the threat of a growing challenger.

 

Qing Shan Ding, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Huddersfield

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

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised on Tuesday to open the country's economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars, in a speech seen as an attempt to defuse an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

While much of his pledges were reiterations of previously announced reforms that foreign businesses say are long overdue, Xi's comments sent stock markets and the U.S. dollar higher on hopes of a compromise that could avert a trade war. Xi said China will widen market access for foreign investors, addressing a chief complaint of its trading partners and a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which has threatened billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump struck a conciliatory tone in response to Xi's speech, saying in a post on Twitter that he was "thankful" for the Chinese leader's kind words on tariffs and access for U.S. automakers, as well as his "enlightenment" on the issue of intellectual property.

"We will make great progress together!" Trump tweeted.

Washington charges that Chinese companies steal the trade secrets of American companies and force them into joint ventures to get hold of their technology, an issue that is at the center of Trump's current tariff threats.

The latest comments from both leaders appear to reinforce a view that a full-scale trade war can be averted, although there have been no talks between the world's two economic superpowers since the U.S. tariffs were announced.

"President Xi’s speech appears to have struck a relatively positive tone and opens the door to potential negotiations with the U.S. in our view. The focus now shifts to the possible U.S. response," economists at Nomura said.

"But of course actions speak louder than words. We will keep an eye on the progress of those opening-up measures."

The speech at the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan had been widely anticipated as one of Xi's first major addresses in a year in which the ruling Communist Party marks the 40th anniversary of its landmark economic reforms and opening up under former leader Deng Xiaoping.

Xi said China would raise the foreign ownership limit in the automobile, shipbuilding and aircraft sectors "as soon as possible" and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.

"This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products," Xi said.

He said "Cold War mentality" and arrogance had become obsolete and would be repudiated. His speech did not specifically mention the United States or its trade policies, which have been assailed by Chinese state media in recent days. Vice Premier Liu He had already vowed at the World Economic Forum in January that China would roll out fresh market opening moves this year, and that it would lower auto import tariffs in an "orderly way".

Chinese officials have promised since at least 2013 to ease restrictions on foreign joint ventures in the auto industry, which would allow foreign firms to take a majority stake. They currently are limited to a 50 percent stake in joint ventures and cannot establish their own wholly owned factories.

Tesla's Chief Executive Elon Musk has railed against an unequal playing field in China and wants to retain full ownership over a manufacturing facility the company is in talks to build there.

"This is a very important action by China. Avoiding a trade war will benefit all countries," Musk tweeted after Xi's speech.

Foreign business groups welcomed Xi's commitment to reforms, including promises to strengthen legal deterrence on intellectual property violators, but said the speech fell short on specifics.

"Ultimately U.S. industry will be looking for implementation of long-stalled economic reforms, but actions to date have greatly undermined the optimism of the U.S. business community," said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council.

EASING OF TENSION

Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office at Everbright Sun Hung Kai, said the market was cheered by Xi's speech because it was framed in more positive terms which could ease trade tensions, but he voiced caution about promised reforms.

"China is opening sectors where they already have a distinct advantage, or a stranglehold over the sector," Short said, citing its banking industry, which is dominated by domestic players.

Xi's renewed pledges to open up the auto sector come after Trump on Monday criticized China on Twitter for maintaining 25 percent auto import tariffs compared to the United States' 2.5 percent duties, calling such a relationship with China not free trade but "stupid trade."

Analysts have cautioned that any Chinese concessions on autos, while welcome, would be a relatively easy win for China to offer the United States, as plans for opening that sector had been under way well before Trump took office. But Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at the forum on Tuesday that China's economic reforms were driven by domestic factors and not due to external pressures.

Xi said China would accelerate opening up its insurance industry, with Shanghai Securities News citing a government researcher after the speech saying foreign investors should be able to hold a controlling stake or even full ownership of an insurance company in the future.

Trump's move last week to threaten China with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods was aimed at forcing Beijing to address what Washington says is deeply entrenched theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfers from U.S. companies. Chinese officials deny such charges, and responded within hours of Trump's announcement of tariffs with their own proposed commensurate duties.

The move prompted Trump last week to threaten tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods, which have yet to be identified. None of the announced duties have been implemented yet, offering room for negotiation.

Beijing charges that Washington is the aggressor and spurring global protectionism, although China's trading partners have complained for years that it abuses World Trade Organization rules and practices unfair industrial policies that lock foreign companies out of crucial sectors with the intent of creating domestic champions.

While U.S. officials, including Trump, have recently expressed optimism that the two sides would hammer out a trade deal, Chinese officials in recent days have said negotiations would be impossible under "current circumstances". Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan, on a visit to Beijing, said he was optimistic that very few if any of the proposed tariffs by the United States and China announced in recent weeks will actually be implemented.

"I think it’s so clearly in the interest of both countries that we have a constructive trading relationship and that we have substantive talks to redress these issues.”

 

They say home is where the heart is. But for a large proportion of the world’s population, home is where the work is. Or the food is. Or safety. 14% of the world’s adults – nearly 710 million people – said they want to permanently migrate to another country, according to analytics company Gallup.

Conflict, famine and disaster are driving large numbers of people from countries such as Syria, South Sudan and Congo, while chronic high unemployment is at the root of people’s desire to leave Albania.

And where do they want to go? The US primarily: one in five potential migrants named the country as their preferred destination. Meanwhile, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Saudi Arabia appeal to at least 25 million adults each. Roughly 20 countries attract more than two-thirds of all potential migrants worldwide.

 
Image: Gallup

Gallup interviewed approaching 587,000 people aged over 15 in 156 countries between 2013 and 2016 to come up with its figures.

 

The US has been the preferred destination for potential migrants for years. However, Germany’s popularity rose significantly after Chancellor Angela Merkel promised “no limit” to the number of refugees her country would accept. The period of Gallup’s survey covered the height of the European migrant crisis.

 
Volunteers approach a rubber dinghy packed with refugees and migrants as they arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA - RTX24LAS
Image: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

By contrast, the UK lost some of its allure during the lead-up to the Brexit vote, with 35 million potential migrants naming it as their desired destination between 2013 and 2016, down from 43 million between 2010 and 2012.

Leaving home

In 31 countries throughout the world at least three in 10 adults say they would like to move permanently to another country if they could.

Desire to migrate increased the most in non-European Union countries in Europe, in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the Middle East and North Africa. This is in contrast to Asia, the US and Canada where the desire to move remained pretty constant.

 
Image: Gallup

The figures also show that following the global financial crisis, the desire to migrate diminished. But with an improving economic climate, alongside increasing unrest in some parts of the world, the number of people wishing to move is once again on the rise.

 

Source: Charlotte Edmond / World Economic ForumWorld Economic Forum

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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