19 November 2016   Leave a comment

An editorial in the Chinese news service, Xinhua, has blasted reports that US President-Elect Trump wishes to impose tariffs on Chinese products.  Such editorials reflect the official view of the Chinese government and it does not mince any words:

“Trump’s campaign rhetoric has suggested that the future leader in Washington would be no friend to free trade, while his lashing-out at the TPP bodes ill for the trade pact.

“What is more alarming is that the incoming U.S. president may backtrack from other free trade deals in the area and beyond.

“In exactly two months’ time, Trump will be at the helm of the world’s largest economy. Turning his trade-bashing campaign talks into actual policies could bash any hope that the Asia-Pacific will finally have its much-wanted free trade deal. Worse, it could drag his country and the wider world into deeper economic distress.

“The billionaire-turned-politician needs to prove that derailing the global economy has not been one of the reasons why he ran for U.S. president.”

Mr. Trump does have the unilateral authority to impose punitive tariffs on China.  Doing so, however, would unquestionably bring about a trade war with China.

The meeting between Mr. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe was notable since it was Mr. Trump’s first formal meeting with a head of state and because it was conducted without any coordination or consultation with the US State Department.  The meeting also reflects Japan’s concern that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on American alliances during the campaign suggests that he is willing to see formally strong ties loosen considerably.  Japan has already begun to diversity its connections with other countries, notably Russia.  But the more urgent question is the extent to which Japan might compensate for a reduction of an American commitment with a build-up of its own military capabilities.  Such a move would trigger off the Security Dilemma for other countries in the region.

The Pew Research Center has conducted an interesting study in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.   The questions asked to respondents were about economic problems, economic aspirations, and societal cleavages.   One of the more interesting questions concerned the role of internal divisions (race, ethnicity, or religion) and government bias.  The responses revealed that many in these countries believe that economic benefits are unfairly allocated on the basis of these societal differences,

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Posted November 19, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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