Sep 17, 2019

South Africa's main opposition parthy The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that almost 70% of PRASA controlled train stations do not have CCTV cameras.

A response to a DA Parliamentary Question has revealed that of the 585 train stations under PRASA’s control, only 181 stations have at least one CCTV camera. This means that only 30.9% of stations in the country have at least one CCTV cameras.

In the Western Cape, where rail safety has been particularly out of hand, only 42 out of 122 stations in the province have CCTV cameras. This means only 34.4% of the province’s stations have at least one CCTV camera.

These are alarming figures considering the fact that crime is on the increase. In 2018 alone, an estimated 495 people lost their lives while making use of our trains and 2079 were injured. Clearly the ANC government cannot be trusted to keep commuters safe.

To make matters worse, around 26.8% of all the cameras installed nationally are not working.

How can we have effective policing at train stations when most stations do not have cameras, and those that do are not guaranteed to have operational ones?

PRASA’s old, outdated and stoic infrastructure places many commuters across the country under constant threat of being attacked by criminals, due to the state of lawlessness and lack of law enforcement at PRASA stations.

The table below shows a total of installed CCTV cameras at PRASA managed railway stations per region:

The DA is of the view that policing and train services should be handed over to competent provinces such as the Western Cape, as the national government is incapable and clearly unwilling to keep our people safe.

Unlike the ANC, the DA has a rail plan that will create a safe and well-managed railway system which put commuters first and will ensure job security. The plan is based on four aspects:

Stabilising and modernising the current rail system;
Merging Transnet and PRASA under the Department of Transport;
Ceding control of Metrorail services to Metros; and,
Diversifying Ownership.

Poor railway infrastructure and mismanagement makes it hard for South Africans to reliably depend on trains to deliver them to their destinations safely and on time.

Sep 17, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that although it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia, he did not want to rush into war.
The attacks on Saturday sent oil prices soaring and raised fears of a new Middle East conflict.
Iran has rejected U.S. charges it was behind the strikes that damaged the world’s biggest crude-processing plant and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.
Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic programs. Washington also wants to pressure Tehran to end its support of regional proxy forces, including in Yemen where Saudi forces have been fighting Iran-backed Houthis for four years.
The United States was still investigating if Iran was behind the Saudi strikes, Trump said, but “it’s certainly looking that way at this moment.”
Trump, who has spent much of his presidency trying to disentangle the United States from wars he inherited, made clear, however, he was not going to rush into a new conflict on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
“I’m somebody that would like not to have war,” Trump said.
Several U.S. Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, have blamed Tehran for the strikes. Pompeo and others will travel to Saudi Arabia soon, Trump said.
A day after saying the United States was “locked and loaded” to respond to the incident, Trump said on Monday there was “no rush” to do so.
“We have a lot of options but I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this,” he said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the strikes were carried out by “Yemeni people” retaliating for attacks by a Saudi-led military coalition in a war with the Houthi movement.
“Yemeni people are exercising their legitimate right of defense,” Rouhani told reporters during a visit to Ankara.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called the allegations “unacceptable and entirely baseless.”
The attacks cut 5% of world crude oil production.
Oil prices surged by as much as 19% after the incidents but later came off their peaks. The intraday jump was the biggest since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
The market eased from its peak after Trump said he would release U.S. emergency supplies and producers said there were enough stocks stored up worldwide to make up for the shortfall. Prices were around 12% higher by afternoon in the United States.
Saudi Arabia said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons, adding that it was capable of responding forcefully and urging U.N. experts to help investigate the raid.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Iranian threats were not only directed against the kingdom but against the Middle East and the world.
While the prince did not directly accuse Tehran, a Foreign Ministry statement reported him as calling on the international community to condemn whoever was behind the strike.
“The kingdom is capable of defending its land and people and responding forcefully to those attacks,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have been enemies for decades and are fighting a number of proxy wars.
Trump said he had not made commitments to protect the Saudis.
“No, I haven’t promised Saudis that. We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out,” he said. “That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an attack on us. But we would certainly help them.”
Two sources briefed on state oil company Saudi Aramco’s operations told Reuters it might take months for Saudi oil production to return to normal. Earlier estimates had suggested it could take weeks.
Saudi Arabia said it would be able to meet oil customers’ demand from its ample storage, although some deliveries had been disrupted. At least 11 supertankers were waiting to load oil cargoes from Saudi ports, ship tracking data showed on Monday.
Tension in the oil-producing Gulf region has dramatically escalated this year after Trump imposed severe U.S. sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports altogether.
For months, Iranian officials have issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran is blocked from exporting oil, other countries will not be able to do so either. But Iran has denied a role in specific attacks, including bombings of tankers in the Gulf and previous strikes claimed by the Houthis.
U.S. allies in Europe oppose Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy, arguing that it provides no clear mechanism to resolve issues, creating a risk the enemies could stumble into war.
Trump has said his goal is to force Iran to negotiate a tougher agreement and has left open the possibility of talks with Rouhani at an upcoming U.N. meeting. Iran says there can be no talks until Washington lifts sanctions.
U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council on Monday it was “not entirely clear” who was behind the strike but he said it had increased the chances of a regional conflict.
But the U.S. ambassador to the world body, Kelly Craft, said emerging information on the attacks “indicates that responsibility lies with Iran” and that there is no evidence the attack came from Yemen.
Sep 17, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a battle for political survival in a closely fought election on Tuesday that could end his 10-year domination of national politics.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and will close at 10 p.m. when Israeli media will publish exit polls giving a first indication of the outcome.
Opinion polls put former armed forces chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck-and-neck with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, and suggest the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party could emerge as kingmaker in coalition talks.
The two main parties’ campaigns in Israel’s second parliamentary election in five months point to only narrow differences on many important issues: the regional struggle against Iran, ties with the Palestinians and the United States, and the stable economy.
An end to the Netanyahu era would be unlikely to lead to a big change in policy on hotly disputed issues in the peace process with the Palestinians that collapsed five years ago.
Netanyahu has announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinians seek statehood. But Blue and White has also said it would strengthen Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank, with the Jordan Valley as Israel’s “eastern security border”.
The election was called after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition following an April election in which Likud and Blue and White were tied, each taking 35 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament.
Netanyahu, 69, has cast himself as indispensable and blighted by voter complacency over his tenure – the longest of any Israeli prime minister. He was prime minister from June 1996 until July 1999 and has held the post since March 2009.
Warning he may be replaced by “leftists” who would weaken Israel in the eyes of both foes and friends, Netanyahu has flooded the airwaves and social media with calls on his Likud faithful to turn out in force.
“It’s up to you! The (Likud) lead is very small,” he appealed hoarsely in a video message posted on Twitter.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz, 60, have tried to energize their bases, and poach votes from smaller parties.
Netanyahu portrays Gantz as inexperienced and incapable of commanding respect from world leaders such as Trump. Gantz accuses Netanyahu of trying to deflect attention from his possible indictment on corruption charges that the prime minister has dismissed as baseless.
Hagit Cohen, a 43-year-old social worker, said she would back Blue and White rather than her former favorite, the now fringe Labour party: “I don’t want my vote to be wasted. Gantz may not be perfect, but enough is enough with Bibi (Netanyahu).”
Gantz also worries about public apathy. Interviewed by Army Radio, he urged Tel Aviv residents to “put down their espressos for an hour” and vote – a nod to the secular, middle-class constituency he hopes to mobilize against pro-Netanyahu religious-nationalists.
“There is a definite sense of fatigue. Many Israelis are fed up with the politicians, or expect more of the same,” said Amotz Asa-El, research fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute.
Netanyahu, Asa-El said, “has always divided the electorate into ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’. This time he’s reading the political map even more closely and knows that he needs every extra vote.”
Sep 17, 2019

The Federal Government of Nigeria Wednesday proposed an increment of the Valued Added Tax.

The increment will see the VAT rising from 5% to 7.2%.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, revealed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister said that the increase would commence after the amendment of the VAT Act by the National Assembly, and after consultations with the state and local government areas, as well as the Nigerian populace.

According to her, “Our projection is to finish consultations early enough so that it takes effect in 2020.”

She also said that the FEC approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategic Paper, MTEF/FSP for 2020 to 2022, which would guide the 2020 Budget.

Sep 17, 2019
Some of the migrants in Lampudesa Italy: they tell stories of woes, abuse, rape, torture in prisoners camps
Migrants who landed in Lampudesa, Italy last weekend have narrated a shocking catalogue of abuses, rape, murder and torture by persons who ran prisoner camps in Libya.
One of the stories told was that of a Nigerian migrant, who was shot in the leg by his jailer because he attempted to take a piece of bread.
Three persons accused of their torture and kidnap have been arrested by Italian police. Surprisingly they were not Libyans.
A 27-year old man from Guinea and two Egyptians, aged 24 and 26, were responsible.They were taken into custody in a detention centre in Messina, Sicily, after police gathered testimony against them from other migrants.
The arrested men had crossed the Mediterranean themselves, landing in Lampedusa before being transferred to Sicily.
Witnesses said the three ran a prisoners’ camp in a former military base in Zawyia in Libya, where those ready to attempt the perilous sea crossing were forcibly held until they could pay a ransom.
Those interviewed said they had been “beaten with sticks, rifle butts, rubber pipes, whipped or given electric shocks”, and had seen other prisoners die, police said.
They had also been refused water or medical attention for their wounds or for diseases contracted in the camp, they said.
Anyone unable to pay up was passed on to other traffickers “for sexual and/or work exploitation”, or was killed.
The testimonies were gathered from migrants spread in reception centres across Sicily and on the island of Lampedusa.
“All the women who were with us… were systematically and repeatedly raped,” one witness was quoted as saying.
“They gave us seawater to drink and, sometimes, hard bread to eat. We men were beaten to get our relatives to pay sums of money in exchange for our release,” he said.
“I saw the organisers shoot two migrants who had tried to escape”.
Another said he was “whipped by electrical wires. Other times I was beaten, even around the head”.
One survivor described how the electric shocks “made you fall to the ground unconscious”, adding that he had “personally witnessed many murders by electric shock”.
Libya, despite being wracked by chaos and conflict since the 2011 uprising that killed Muammar Ghadafi has remained a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
According to figures from the International Organization for Migration in July, at least 5,200 people are currently trapped in official detention centres in Libya, often in appalling conditions.
There are no figures for the number of people held in illegal centres run by human traffickers, who brutally torture them to try to extort money from their families.
Italy’s tough line on migrants arriving from North Africa, and European Union cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, has seen some of those attempting the crossing picked up at sea and returned to the chaos-wracked country.
The UN and aid groups have warned those returned face rampant human rights abuses in both official and illegal centres.
Sep 16, 2019

Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile operate, Econet Wireless is having Tesla batteries installed at its base stations around the country as a backup to electricity shortages currently hitting the country.

The power utility company, Zesa (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority), early this year, introduced 18-hour long load shedding schedules to contain the situation as it is producing less electricity due to low water levels in Lake Kariba, the country’s largest source of power, exacerbated by drought.

Zesa, which also relies on importing power from neighboring countries, owes South Africa’s Eskom around $23 million in unpaid bills. At present Eskom supplies 400 megawatts to Zimbabwe which is not enough to restore the situation to normalcy.

Zimbabwe has had cash shortages as its economy continues to fall and mobile money is essential for most daily transactions by Zimbabweans. Large chunks of the country’s economy runs through electronic systems and mobile money, which is dominated by Econet’s Ecocash with 95% market share. It’s estimated around 5 million transactions a day moving more than $200 million.

All this means local mobile network base stations need to always be on regardless of electricity shortages. In July, Econet generators failed to kick in after a power outage forcing a mobile money blackout for a day. Most citizens were stranded and economists estimated the country lost millions of dollars.

With fuel shortages and unstable prices, mobile operators are finding it hard to use diesel-powered generators to back up their stations and have turned to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker and storable-energy company Tesla to provide them with batteries to keep providing services to their subscribers.

Tesla’s larger-than-life founder Elon Musk, who was born in neighboring South Africa, launch the Powerwall in 2015. The residential version is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to be mounted in a garage or on the side of a house. The device, the size of a small refrigerator can store power from a home’s solar panels, or connect to the electrical grid, storing up electricity when rates are low and providing backup electricity supply in case of a blackout.

The lithium-ion batteries stores energy and can stand up to 10 hours, enough time to power up a station until electricity supplies are restored in some parts of the country and Econet-owned solar specialist Distribution Power Africa (DPA) is currently doing the installations.

The commercial Powerwalls which costs $6,500 each will be used when solar panels cannot generate enough electricity during the night or when there is bad weather.

DPA chief executive officer Norman Moyo recently told Bloomberg his company is installing 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station of the 1,300 base stations in the country. He said base stations power supplies were critical considering that for transactions to run in Zimbabwe telecom network should be up adding that “Telcoms have become the lifeblood of the economy.”


Read More: Quartz Africa

Sep 15, 2019

Middle East geopolitics have come back with a vengeance to hit the oil market. What everybody feared has happened.

An attack has penetrated the defenses of Saudi Arabia’s massive Abqaiq oil processing facility, the heart of the kingdom’s oil production and export infrastructure, causing an unknown amount of damage. Crude prices will react and emergency stockpiles will be tapped.

Fires at the plant were brought under control within hours, but the flow of crude from Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, will almost certainly be affected, although we don’t yet know by how much or for how long. Traders who have shrugged off tensions in the Middle East for months will respond to this attack when markets open on Monday.

The top of the value spike will rely on how a lot we all know in regards to the extent of the injury and the way lengthy it is going to take to restore. An absence of knowledge will lead merchants to imagine the worst.

The Abqaiq crude processing plant is the only most necessary facility within the Saudi oil sector. In 2018 it processed about half of the dominion’s crude oil manufacturing, in line with a prospectus printed in May for the state oil firm’s first worldwide bond. That’s roughly 5 million barrels a day, or one in each 20 barrels of oil used worldwide.

Abqaiq is extra necessary to the Saudi oil sector than the dominion’s Persian Gulf export terminals at Ras Tanura and Ju’aymah, or the Strait of Hormuz that hyperlinks the Gulf to the Indian Ocean and the excessive seas. Crude might be diverted away from the Persian Gulf and Hormuz by pumping it throughout the nation to the Red Sea by way of the East-West oil pipeline. But it can not bypass Abqaiq. The East-West pipeline begins at Abqaiq and output from the enormous Ghawar, Shaybah and Khurais fields is all processed there, so an assault on the ability will influence crude flows to export terminals on each coasts.

The newest assault comes simply months after drones, allegedly launched from Iraq by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, focused pumping stations on the oil pipeline. The injury attributable to that earlier assault was minimal, however highlighted the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, even when situated tons of of miles from the nation’s borders.

So what occurs now?

Saudi Arabia will most likely search to keep up export ranges as a lot as attainable by supplying prospects from stockpiles. It holds crude in storage tanks within the kingdom, in addition to at websites in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands. But it has been working its crude hoard down because the starting of 2016 and it is now again at ranges not seen since 2008, in line with knowledge from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. That means the dominion has a lot much less to attract on than it did three years in the past.

The assault can even check stockpiles in oil-consuming nations. Members of the International Energy Agency are required to carry 90 days’ price of oil imports in emergency shares and people shall be pressed into service if the outage at Abqaiq is extended. Non-member nations like China and India have additionally been increase their very own emergency reserves. Those, too, shall be pressed into service.

Neighboring nations who, simply days in the past, had been being exhorted to stay to output quotas agreed in December will now pump as a lot as they’ll to make up for any losses from Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq will all increase output as a lot as they’re ready. But the one nation with plenty of spare capability, Iran, gained’t see any easing of the restrictions positioned on its oil gross sales by the U.S. Quite the alternative. Its help for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who’ve claimed duty for the assault on Abqaiq, will be certain that any easing of the stress being exerted on it stays a distant prospect.

Credit: Bloomberg

Sep 15, 2019

Angola is attracting renewed interest from Chinese business owners since it lifted curbs on money transfers, following an exodus of tens of thousands of Chinese amid an economic crisis.

Africa’s second-largest oil producer introduced foreign-exchange policies that have made it easy to transfer money legally, Xu Ning, chairman of the Angola-China Industrial and Commerce Association, said in an interview in the capital, Luanda. That’s drawing a “new group” of companies from China to Angola, mainly in the industrial sector, he said.

“The new government is doing things that make it safe to invest in Angola,” Xu said. “We’re much better than before.”

Angola has had the highest number of Chinese workers of any country in sub-Saharan Africa for almost a decade, reaching a peak of 50,526 in 2013, data from John Hopkins University’s China-Africa Research Initiative show. These figures don’t include traders, shopkeepers and independent business owners.

More than 100,000 Chinese workers, traders and businessmen left the country after the 2014 oil-price crash triggered an economic crisis and froze most construction projects, according to Xu. Relying on oil for more than 90% of exports, Angola kept a tight grip on its currency even as dollars ran dry, leaving hundreds of companies struggling to pay overseas suppliers.

Arbitrary Detentions

Under President Joao Lourenco, who assumed office two years ago, the central bank eased restrictions on money transfers and it’s become more appealing for businesses to get dollars from official channels, according to Xu. Today, the official exchange rate for the kwanza is 369 per dollar, compared to a black-market rate of 530 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to an official rate of about 166 kwanza per dollar and a street rate that was twice as high in September 2017.

Another significant change is that Angolan immigration officials have stopped arbitrarily detaining Chinese nationals and that the police responds to and acts on complaints, Xu said.

Chinese investors have been kidnapped in the past or fallen victim to other crimes, China’s ambassador to Angola, Gong Tao, told reporters on Tuesday, without giving details.

Angola’s public debt to China currently stands at $22.8 billion, with recent direct investments including an assembly plant for fishing vessels, an aluminum factory and a brewery, he said.

Credit: Bloomberg

Sep 15, 2019

Surjan Singh, the third of the three former executives of Credit Suisse, charged by the US justice authorities in connection with the scandal of Mozambique's "hidden debts", has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a report by the Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Singh appeared before the New York court dealing with the case last Friday. With this guilty plea, it seems that the prosecutors have dropped other charges of wire fraud and securities fraud. However, the full details of his plea bargain have not yet been made public.

Two other former Credit Suisse bankers, Detelina Subeva and Andrew Pearse, entered guilty pleas earlier in the year. All three have been freed on bail.

They were all originally arrested in London in January. One by one they have negotiated with the US prosecutors and have made their way to the New York court to enter their guilty pleas.

The accusation against them is that, in 2013 and 2014, they conspired with officials of the Abu Dhabi-based group Privinvest and with figures in the Mozambican government of the time, to ensure that enormous loans were granted to three fraudulent companies, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).

In all, the fraud involved loans of over two billion US dollars, granted by Credit Suisse and the Russian bank, VTB. According to the US prosecutors, at least 200 million dollars of the loan money was used for bribes and kickbacks.

When Pearse appeared before the New York judge in July, he made statements that implicated the chief executive officer of Privinvest, Iskandar Safa, in the fraud.

He said that, "Privinvest with the knowledge of its executive Jean Boustani (currently detained in a New York prison), Iskandar Safa and Najib Allam (Privinvest's Chief Finance Officer), wired me millions of dollars in unlawful kickbacks from loan proceeds and illegal payments for my assistance in securing loans made by Credit Suisse".

"I agreed to accept and keep these monies, knowing that they were the proceeds of illegal activity", he said. "I took these actions to enrich myself and my co-conspirators and to benefit Credit Suisse which gained substantial profits from the Proindicus and Ematum loans in which it was involved".

As managing director of Credit Suisse Securities Europe Ltd, Pearse led the team that closed the 372 million dollar loan to Proindicus in February 2013. He said that Boustani "offered to pay me half of the amount by which I, together with others, reduced a subvention fee to be paid by Privinvest in connection with the loan".

"I accepted Boustami's offer", Pearse added, "successfully made efforts to reduce the fees paid by Privinvest, and received payments by wire from Privinvest into a bank account I opened in the United Arab Emirates with the assistance of Privinvest employees. Safa was aware of my agreement with Boustani".

Pearse said he knew that Surjan Singh, "was secretly being paid by Privinvest to aid the conspiracy. Specifically, in September and October 2013 I made two payments of one million dollars each to Singh. The payments, which came from funds I received from Privinvest, were in exchange for Singh's assistance in reducing the subvention fee on Proindicus and for securing Credit Suisse's approval of the Ematum loan".

Pearse explained that he assisted "in bringing about an agreement between Singh and Boustani, of which Safa was aware, under which Singh received payments totalling 4.4 million dollars in exchange for facilitating Credit Suisse's approval of the Ematum loan".

Friday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique" suggests that the real targets of the US investigations are Credit Suisse and Iskandar Safa.

Credit Suisse has already admitted that Pearse, Subeva and Singh bypassed its internal security systems. This could lay the bank wide open to an enormous fine by the New York, since American investors, who purchased Ematum bonds, and the syndicated Proindicus debt, were among those defrauded.

Key to the fraud was the company Palomar, which is part of the Privinvest group. Safa owned two thirds of the shares in Palomar (through Privinvest Shipbuilding Investments) , and Pearse the other third. Boustani was a Palomar director, and Subeva worked for Palomar at the same time as she was employed by Credit Suisse.

Pearse admitted in July "I agreed with Safa and Boustani that I would receive a percentage of any further Proindicus loan proceeds that Privinvest received after the initial 372 million dollar loan. I subsequently reached similar agreements with Safa and Boustani to receive a percentage of the loan proceeds from the Ematum and MAM transactions, while working as a director at Palomar Holdings".


Credit: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique

Sep 13, 2019
China’s state news agency, on Friday, reported that China will exempt U.S. agricultural products from added tariffs as Chinese firms purchased vast amounts of U.S. soybeans shortly ahead of high-level trade negotiations.
The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council will exclude some agricultural products such as soybeans and pork from the additional tariffs on U.S. goods.
This comes as U.S. President Donald Trump said that the promised tariff hike on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods had been postponed from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15.
Earlier, the Chinese government’s Customs Tariff Commission published two lists of U.S. products to be exempted from additional import duties for the period from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 16, 2020. The development comes as the U.S. and China are preparing for a new round of talks set to take place in Washington in October.
The two countries have been engaged in a trade conflict since 2018, when the Trump administration imposed the first round of its additional trade duties on China, prompting a reciprocal response from Beijing.
Soybeans constitute a major portion of U.S. exports to China. The sales drastically plummeted amid the trade dispute, hurting U.S. farmers by dropping 74 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year.
Beijing was forced to turn to Latin American countries to satisfy its need for agricultural product.
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