Trump moves to punish China over Hong Kong
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s preferential trade treatment and enacted a bill that would require sanctions against foreign individuals and banks that contribute to the erosion of the city’s autonomy. “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” Trump said in a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House. “No special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies.” On Wednesday, China said it would retaliate and sanction United States institutions and individuals. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act and executive order are in response to China’s imposition of a controversial national secur
Here’s what Trump told China’s president behind closed doors, according to John Bolton
Over a dinner of grilled sirloin steak in Buenos Aires, Chinese President Xi Jinping, reading from his notes, was full of praise for his American counterpart, President Donald Trump. The US leader improvised his response, but nodded when Xi suggested the US had too many elections. It was a chummy scene at the banqueting table as the leaders of the world’s two largest economies sat down for trade negotiations on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in December 2018, according to a new account by former US national security adviser John Bolton, who was ousted from the Trump administration late last year. “At dinner, Xi began by telling Trump how wonderful he was, laying it on thick,” B
‘Chinese diplomatic failure’ as Australia’s dovish voices fall silent
When Australia first proposed an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which would send relations with China to their lowest ebb in years, reaction at home was mixed. Kerry Stokes, one of the country’s richest tycoons, used a front-page interview in the West Australian newspaper he owns to warn against poking “our biggest provider of income in the eye,” while mining magnate Andrew Forrest called for any investigation to be delayed. Former foreign ministers Bob Carr and Gareth Evans criticized the government for creating unnecessary tensions by turning an otherwise reasonable search for answers into a public spectacle, instead of engaging in quiet diplomacy. In t
Beijing wants to turn the ‘Chinese Hawaii’ into a trade hub to rival Hong Kong
China has unveiled plans to turn its southern island of Hainan into the mainland’s answer to Hong Kong or Singapore, as it tries to dampen the risk of decoupling with the United States. Beijing on Monday outlined a package of special policies to make the tropical island a free-trade port by lowering the income tax rate for selected individuals and companies, scrapping import duties and relaxing visa requirements for tourists and business travelers. The island province of 9.5 million people will also enjoy freedoms in terms of trade, investment and the movement of people and data, according to the plans. The project to create a regional trade, shopping and shipping center in Hainan – which at
Two in three Americans think poorly of China, survey says
Americans’ views on China have fallen to their lowest level since an annual poll started asking the question in 2005, according to survey results released Tuesday. The poll last month by the Washington think tank Pew Research Center found 66% of respondents held an unfavorable view of China, up from 47% in 2017 when President Donald Trump took office. And a large majority of the 1,000 Americans polled said they lacked confidence in President Xi Jinping to do the right thing when it came to global affairs, a steep increase since last year. The results come as the relationship between the two economic giants has deteriorated rapidly during the coronavirus outbreak. The two countries are engage
Why Trump officials don’t want to cut tariffs on Chinese medical supplies
Hardliners within the Trump administration are trying desperately to avoid reducing tariffs on imported medical supplies from China, hoping to stave off mounting pressure from health care workers and a panicked public as the coronavirus death toll mounts. After an extended US-China trade war and President Donald Trump’s signing of an initial agreement in December, hawks within the administration are loath to set a precedent.  Their concern is that emergency concessions could undercut their hawkish trade stance toward Beijing, which Trump sees as a cornerstone accomplishment leading up to the November elections, say former officials and analysts. “There will be inexorable pressure to relax t
How the world can benefit from US-China tech war
The phase one trade deal between China and the US, signed on January 15, signaled a truce in the trade war. This is a welcome development, not only for the two countries but also for the rest of the world. It is expected to usher in a period of relative calm and reduced uncertainty, which should increase both investment and consumption globally.  However, it is not a net win for either country, even though they are both better off with the truce. They have both suffered economic losses from the mutual tariffs. In fact, China’s estimated loss in gross domestic product is higher than that of the United States, in both absolute and relative terms. Unfortunately, the conclusion of the phase one
2019 was the year Chinese artificial intelligence clashed with US
In 2017, China told the world it planned to become a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI). Two years later, that promise came to dominate the Chinese, if not the global, conversation about technology. At a conference this past May, John Kerry, the former US secretary of state, said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement was not the “wisest” move. “It would have probably been smart to go try to do it and not announce [the plan], because the announcement was heard in Washington and elsewhere,” he said. His words foreboded a storm approaching Chinese AI firms. Reports days later indicated Washington was considering placing several Chinese surveillance companies on the US Entity Li
Trade war: US and China said to agree on interim deal
The US and China have reached consensus on the terms of a “phase one” trade deal, multiple US media outlets have reported. Intended to be the first in a series of incremental agreements to resolve the trade war, the deal has the approval of US President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported, citing several unnamed people briefed on the matter. As part of the agreement, the US would not only postpone tariffs on around $160 billion of Chinese goods scheduled to go into effect on Sunday, but also make cuts in duties already in place, Myron Brilliant of the US Chamber of Commerce told CNBC, citing US administration sources who had briefed him on the plans. Neither the White House nor the Office of th
‘To hell with decoupling!’ says China's former commerce minister
China’s former commerce minister has issued a strong rebuff against “unthinkable” suggestions that the world’s two largest economies could disengage from each other due to the ongoing tensions caused by the trade war, with Chen Deming saying: “To hell with decoupling!” The US and China have found themselves linked for the past 40 years, but with the 18-month trade war having led to the straining of the relationship, suggestions have been made that a broader economic and technological decoupling could happen. “Is globalization falling into ‘hemispherization’ or is the whole process halted? Whoever insists on decoupling …. will fall behind and even be phased out in the advancement of science a