U.S. energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KM) started construction on the Gulf Coast Express Pipeline Project in May 2018. Estimated to cost $1.75 billion, the pipeline will span 514 miles in Texas and aims to increase the United States’ ability to export liquefied natural gas to Mexico. The administration’s steep tariffs on imported steel could throw a major wrench into the pipeline project.
Discussions are now underway as to whether EU antitrust policies need to be relaxed in order to allow greater latitude to meet the challenge posed by Chinese mega-firms.
Americans will give each other 200 million roses over the Valentine season. The majority were grown in Colombia. How did this come to be? For decades, U.S. Government trade, development, and drug eradication policies were designed to move South American growers away from cultivating the coca plant used to make cocaine by substituting commercially profitable production of cut flowers.
New public opinion research shows that the majority of Americans worry the tariffs will do more harm than good for the economy.
The current administration’s use of Section 232 to impose trade-restrictive measures on imports of steel and aluminum has become the source of increasing domestic discontent among steel-using industries, farmers who are the target of retaliatory tariffs, and Members of Congress who are reconsidering having delegated powers over trade to the President. It has also put WTO dispute settlement to an unwelcome test.
China went from a net importer of critical intermediary goods such as glass, paper, steel, and auto parts, to becoming the leading producer and dominant global exporter of these products. How could this seismic shift occur in industries where China does not maintain a particular advantage in labor, technology, or natural resources? The answer in large part is subsidization of Chinese production in the form of state-directed capital flows.
Manufacturers of labor-intensive products like apparel have already been looking elsewhere in Asia as labor costs continue to rise in China. China has not substantially increased market access for foreign investors in many sectors, causing foreign investment to slow or flatline in recent years. With lingering doubts about the worsening investment climate in China, the trade war is hastening decision-making that had already been underway.
The meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping in Argentina in late November may prove to be a turning point for not only for the US-China relationship, but for global trade. Both leaders enter these discussions knowing the far more important question is whether there can be a sustainable co-existence between a Western market-driven economy with democratic ideals and a centrally-managed Chinese economy led by the Communist Party of China.
Trade wars, like real wars, are costly. But people are willing to sacrifice — at least up to a point — when they believe a cause is worth fighting for. Doing nothing in response to China’s policies would have cost nothing in the short run. But if the concerns raised by China’s policies are legitimate, doing nothing to fix them now will cost more to fix over time — if they remain fixable at all.
Well-known razor makers like Boston-based Gillette already face strong headwinds from changing consumer habits: fewer men are shaving as regularly now that beards are more in fashion. Online subscription services like Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s are also putting pressure on prices and profit margins. Now, razor makers are dealing with the problem of tariffs on the specialized steel they import.