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Prelude to a Market Bloodbath: a Ludicrous Theory of How It All Started.
The text below was actually a comment of mine on another Redditor's post, but since I think they all left for the day, I have decided to create a standalone post with it. Even though it's my theory, tbh I prefer the other theory of mine, which is: From the COVID-19 outbreak to the great oil war between Russia & Saudi to the market crash, this whole event is a live simulation that some powerful group is executing for their future plan. But today, I would like to present my less favourable theory: Theory of How COVID-19 Pandemic Has Started. Obviously, for some parts, I got the sources. But for others, it's just a speculation based on the wellknown (?) inner working (political) systems of China. ----------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------- Both Shanghai clique (Jiang Zemin) and Communist Youth League (Hu Jintao) want to unseat Xi Jinping. .A. Because: Shanghai clique detests Xi Jinping because Xi & his Princelings put many key politburo of Shanghai clique in jail in the name of anti-corruption. And Princelings took away Shanghai clique's influences from big key Chinese businesses such as Wanda Group, Alibaba Group & Tencent. Communist Youth League loathes Xi Jinping because Xi & his Princelings broke China's 太上王 institution, the nation's long standing political treaty among the ruling classes, by sidelining most of Hu Jintao's prominent politburo in the council. Subsequently, the political power of Li Keqiang's (Communist Youth League) within State Council has been dramatically minimized over the years, although he is the No. 2 party figure. It was a break with two previous generations of leadership, which were based on consensus among members of the ruling party’s inner circle of power, the Standing Committee, a.k.a China's 太上王 institution. So, Shanghai clique and Communist Youth League decided to work together to hatch a seemingly perfect plan: - Unseating Xi Jinping would be the best outcome, but they knew it would be laborious. - While keep trying to unseat Xi, this operation by their plan should be something to weaken Xi Jinping's power within State Council. - The operation should also reboot the political power of Li Keqiang to re-boost the current status of Communist Youth League within State Council. - The operation should also restore the financial flow for Shanghai clique & the businesses that are still under Shanghai clique's control. - By weakening Xi Jinping's power, the operation should reinstate Shanghai clique's control of (at least some of) key businesses of the nation. - Used-to-be hyper wealthy Shanghai clique decided they were to be okay with what's going to happen in the field, colossal businesses loss in the region; because 1) most of better businesses used to be owned by them have been already taken away by Princelings anyway. And 2) a while ago their foreign financial backers, such as Henry Kissinger, George Soros & Koos Bekker who used to be kissy kissy with them, left for the new power in China. Now those backers seems to be in bed with Xi. And 3) Xi started to crack down Shanghai clique's assets hidden overseas with the inside-info those backers provided to Xi. exploding head gifs - The operation's process must appear natural, so the blame could never fall onto neither of Shanghai clique nor Communist Youth League. - For the operation, they needed to pick an appropriate region where the influence of Shanghai clique and Communist Youth League were still prevalent. - All the blame should fall under Xi & Princelings' political and bureaucratic incompetence. .B. Preparation: - Dr. Wang Yanyi is a Chinese immunologist. She is the director general at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the deputy director for Wuhan in the China Zhi Gong Party. - Dr. Wang Yanyi is married to Chinese professor Shu Hongbing. - Shu Hongbing is a Chinese cytologist and immunologist. He is a tier-1 member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a close associate of Jiang Mianheng thru said Academy and Shanghai Tech University connection. - Jiang Mianheng is Jiang Zemin's son (Jiang Zemin = No. 1 in Shanghai clique). Jiang Mianheng has served as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the first President of ShanghaiTech University. - Because many international bodies are closely monitoring the NBL-4 facility in Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory and in turn the NBL-3 facility in the same laboratory attracts fewer observing eyes from outside bodies, they decided to use the latter to pick & modify the pathogen. - The pathogen's spreading speed should be rapid to achieve the maximum effect. - Jiang Chaoliang is a pro-Shanghai clique Chinese politician and he was the Communist Party Secretary of Hubei. - Later, as a result of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Jiang Chaoliang has been replaced by Ying Yong, a close ally of Xi Jinping. .C. Operation: - The operators released a pathogen of their choice in Hubei near the end of 2019. The holiday season was coming up, so there would be large frequent crowds to spread the pathogen. - Some people in the region started to experience flu like symptoms but they didn't think much about it because it's a Winter season. - Seeing numerous passengers were unusually ill, the cab drivers in Wuhan city knew something was up with the area close to the city laboratory. - The number of flu patients in Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University started to curiously go up. - The CPC bureaucrats in said hospitals started to report the situation to their superiors. Then, in turn, those superiors reported to politburo in State Council. - Finally, Xi Jinping received the news regarding the situation in Wuhan city. - On Jan. 7, 2020, Xi demanded during a Politburo Standing Committee to take care of the situation. - Jiang Chaoliang and the other pro-Shanghai clique politburo in Hubei province pretended listening to Xi's order but they quietly ignored it by suppressing the evidences + sabotaging the field. -- Have you read the article which was reporting that the researchers received a gag order from China’s NHC with instructions to destroy the samples? - Shanghai clique & Communist Youth League told their relatives and close associates to leave the region. It would look business as usual because it's near the Chinese New Year holiday season. - Remember, Academics & the related institutions in China are Shanghai clique's turf. - On Jan. 14, W.H.O declared that "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China." - On Jan. 20, 2020, after realizing his previous directions were conveniently ignored, Xi gave special instructions to control the now-became outbreak. - But again the pro-Shanghai clique politburo in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province pretended following Xi's instructions but ultimately ignored those by still sabotaging the proceedings. - Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang allowed and in fact applauded a massive annual potluck banquet for 40,000 families from a city precinct, who (on the ordinary people levels) are mostly the supporters of Xi Jinping. ---- It's going to be interesting to see who they would blame later on if there were to be a disaster in the region. - On Jan. 23, 2020, after having confirmed their relatives and close associates left the region, they imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province. - Before the lockdown, 5 million people have already left Wuhan city. It was on. Some of them went to their homes in the different regions of China. But some people with connections & means left China and went to U.S., South Korea, Iran, Italy, & France, which are Chinese tourists' popular destinations. - Xi Jinping and his Princelings now suspected something was not right. Xi disappeared from the public view. - Willy Lam, a political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, commented that Xi Jinping's activities after his lengthy public disappearance looked like an attempt to shift blame to Li Keqiang if progress in fighting the disease is unsatisfactory. .D. Outcome: - With his performance of containing the situation were being praised by State Council, Li Keqiang's political power has been expanded within the council. ---- Li Keqiang belongs to China's Communist Youth League, which has been under Shanghai clique's control. ----------------------------------------------- - On Feb. 1, the US was the one of the first nations in the world along with Russia and N. Korea that banned not just Chinese nationals but all foreigners travelling from mainland China, declares public health emergency. And China and some US media criticized Trump for stoking fear and overreacting. - On Feb. 3, China is expected to gradually implement a larger stimulus packages (in total) than a USD $572 billion from 2008. ---- Let's see where those money will go to. (Actually we would never find out but it will probably go to key people of Shanghai clique.) - On Feb. 7, China National Petroleum Corp. has recently declared Force Majeure on gas imports. They are trying to make a breathing room for their foreign exchange reserves shortage. China's foreign exchange reserves fell to mere USD $3.1 trillion in Oct. 2019. - On Feb. 12, the US targets Russian oil company for helping Venezuela skirt sanctions. ---- My guess is that at this moment, the US admin noticed something is up, so they tried to secure some leverage against Russia. - Around Feb. 24, China is rumoured (on Twitter) to delay its US-China phase one trade deal implementation indefinitely which includes the increasement of China's purchasing American products & services by at least $200 billion over the next two years. - If China indeed delays the phase one trade deal implementation, there won't be many comebacks (such as more tariffs) that the US can carry through, because now the pandemic is happening within the US Soil. - On Feb. 24, S&P 500 Index started to drop. Opened with 3225.89 and closed 3128.21. By Feb. 28, it dropped to 2954.22. - On Feb 28, China transferred more than 80,000 Uighurs to factories used by global brands such as Apple, Nike, & Volkswagen & among others. ----------------------------------------------- - On Mar. 1, China's State Council super tighten up their already draconian internet law. - On Mar. 1, Princelings published an awesome propaganda called A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combating COVID-19 in 2020 which compiles numerous state media accounts on the heroic leadership of Xi Jinping, the vital role of the Communist Party, and the superiority of the Chinese system in fighting the virus. - Starting at Mar. 3, the Fed has taken two significant measures to provide monetary stimulus. - On Mar. 4, Xinhua News, China's official state-run press agency posted an article "Be bold: the world should thank China (理直气壮, 世界应该感谢中国)." - Said article states "If China retaliates against the US at this time, it will also announce strategic control over medical products, and ban exports of said products to the US. ... If China declares today that its drugs are for domestic use only (banning exports), the US will fall into the hell of new coronavirus epidemic." - This Xinhua article would be in part Shanghai clique's grand posturing (who are holding political power & capacity in medicals & biochemicals of China) to show off to people of China that Shanghai clique is still relevant in power. - On Mar. 5, Shanghai Index has recovered the coronavirus loss almost completely. - On Mar. 7, Saudi's Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Muhammad bin Nayef were arrested on the claims of plotting to overthrow King Salman. ---- Ahmed bin Abdulaziz is known to have very tight investment-interest relationship with Bill Gates, Bill Browder, Blackstone, & Morgan Stanley. - Interestingly, one common factor that connects Bill Gates, Bill Browder, Blackstone, & Morgan Stanley is China. - On Mar. 8, the Russia–Saudi oil price warhas initiated. The ostensible reason was simple. China, the biggest importer of oil from Saudi and Russia, was turning back tankers as the coronavirus outbreak forced the economy to a standstill. - On, Mar. 13, China's Ministry of Commerce states that China is now the best region for global investment hedging. - On Mar. 16, the fan club of Europe globalists (:D) has published a piece, China and Coronavirus: From Home-Made Disaster to Global Mega-Opportunity. The piece says the following: Combined with the new aid disbursements and advice the other countries, Chinese leaders appear to be hoping that their heavily-promoted success in fighting the virus helps Beijing appear like a global leader on public health – and thus ready to take on other types of global leadership. “The Chinese method is the only method that has proved successful” [in fighting the virus], is a message spread online in China by influencers, including many essentially promoting propaganda. This is not necessarily true. After all, other wealthy Asian states have shown different, effective models. But it is certainly a message that seems to be resonating with opinion leaders around the world. - On Mar. 16, the US stocks ended sharply lower with the Dow posting its worst point drop in history and falling to its lowest level in nearly three years. But some showed a faint hint of uncertain hope. ----------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------- Many thanks for reading up my long ass post!! -- The updated version is hopefully coming soon. :D
Yes, China is Hoarding Gold: Is That Positive for Prices?
In mid-2015, China ended years of speculation over its gold reserves by announcing that it had 1,658 tons of gold. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) had increased its official gold holdings by 60% since its last disclosure in 2009. China had 1,054 tons of gold in its reserves as of April 2009. By 2015, the price of bullion had dipped to its lowest since the 2011 gold bull run that pushed the metal to highs of $1,900 per ounce. The East Asian economic giant had been accumulating gold as the USD strengthened, pushing the prices of bullion to some of the lowest levels of the decade. China is an export powerhouse and is not only the world’s largest exporter but also the largest holder of foreign exchange (forex) reserves. The country has over $3.11 trillion worth of foreign exchange holdings, to shield it during economic emergencies. These vast forex reserves also buoy its native currency and give it much-needed clout in international affairs. These immense reserves increase the footprint of the US dollar in international trade. Its dollar reserves have also been a significant contributor to the current global savings glut. The Chinese manufacturing sector holds a lot of US government bonds, and these savings — plus those made by other Asian countries — have directed mass capital flows to US households. Beijing has, however, clarified that it is diversifying its reserves away from the dollar. Beijing is highly exposed to American currency. Its overdependence on the dollar has been behind its silent gold-buying spree that raised its reserves from 1,658 tons in 2015 to 1,848.31 tons by the fourth quarter of 2019. Economists note that China’s bid to decouple from the dollar heightened with the China-US trade war. The US threatened not only Chinese stocks listed in the US with delisting, but slapped massive tariffs on their exports. China, on the other hand, used its dollar-pegged currency, the Yuan, to fight back against the US’s punitive measures.
China Diversifying its Forex Reserves
In August, the PBOC allowed the Yuan’s value to fall against the dollar to cheapen its exports. The move increased the prices of American goods, a move that not only caused a massive shockwave in the market but also angered the US president so much that he called China an outright currency manipulator. Besides diversifying to other currencies, China has also accumulated “shadow reserves.” Diversification away from the USD will also give the Yuan a more significant role in global finance. It is this Chinese desire to counteract a highly US dollar-centric system that has seen the country buy up massive amounts of gold as part of its alternative investments. One factor that has gone almost unnoticed is the massive accumulation of gold by Chinese citizens. They have collectively imported over 12,000 tons of gold into the country since 2009. Switzerland is the world’s largest importer of gold, buying about 22% of all global gold imports as per 2018 data. It is closely followed by China, which raked in close to 16% of all gold imports in the same year. Hong Kong, India, and the United Kingdom are also part of the world’s biggest gold-buyer markets. Switzerland might be a global leader in gold imports, but it is also the largest exporter of the premier precious metal. The central European country is a gold refinery hub, and it is home to four of the world’s largest gold refineries. The mountainous country is home to Newmont Mining’s Valcambi SA, which refines close to 1,400 metric tonnes of the precious metal every year. Switzerland is such an exporter of gold that of the 3,100 tons of the yellow metal produced in the country in 2016, 2,716 tons went to exports.
China Keeps Most of its Gold
China is the world’s second-largest importer of gold, but unlike Switzerland, most of the gold China imports remain in China. As an illustration, China imported $64 billion worth of gold in 2016, and only exported a paltry $1.2 billion worth of it. In essence, China was $62.7 billion richer by the end of that year. The East Asian nation not only stores its imports but also buys a large share from Hong Kong, the fifth most prolific importer of the precious metal. The Pearl of the Orient bought 842 tons or 8.7% of the world’s gold imports in 2016. In that year, Hong Kong sold 1,337 tons to China, dipping its hands into its reserves in its bid to meet the insatiable Chinese demand for gold. The Chinese have not always had it easy with gold. Mao Zedong banned the individual purchase of gold, and the ban was enforced for decades afterward. The Chinese bank was the only buyer of gold in the country, and it only allocated its gold reserves to a small number of state-owned jewelers. In the early 2000s, the ban on individual gold purchases was lifted, and the Chinese gold rush began in earnest. The world’s busiest physical gold exchange was launched and opened to the public, flourishing as the government put measures in place that encouraged the gold trade. This excitement and clamor for gold moved a lot of gold from western vaults to the east as the most massive movement of gold recorded in recent history took place. Since then, the Chinese demand for gold takes 14% of the world’s supply, yet the country has been the largest producer of the yellow metal since 2007. The nation consumes over two times more gold than it mines with a large percentage of its citizens spending massive amounts of cash on gold adornments. Many Chinese millennials spend thousands of Yuan on fashionable jewelry. Their parents, on the other hand, buy 24-carat clunky gold jewelry, the perfect investment vehicle for that generation. The jewelry — evocative of gold ingots — is easy to sell and the money recouped when the need arises. They also buy matt ranges of gold jewelry, shunning tacky pure gold adornments for creative and lower carat gold designs.
Gold is a Safer Investment in a Debt-Ridden Global Economy
China has been a net importer of gold since the 1990s, but its significant purchases have increased since the global economic recession. The Chinese central bank — the supervisors of the Shanghai Gold Exchange — has encouraged the gold trade in the country by enabling the commerce of fine gold at its lowest spreads. Sun Zhaoxue, the China Gold Association president, has, in the past, said: “Individual investment demand is an essential component of China’s gold reserve system, and we should encourage individual investment demand for gold. Practice shows that gold possession by citizens is a useful supplement to national reserves and is very important to national financial security …. We should advocate to ‘store gold among the people’ [“People’s Gold”] and guide a healthy, positive development in this segment … This is the aim of our gold strategy.” She goes on to ask for a strategic national gold strategy to make China resilient against multiple economic occurrences. To this end, the Shanghai Gold Exchange has made tremendous steps in making the gold trade as easy as possible, even launching an app to aid it. China’s centuries-old infatuation with gold has led them to accumulate over 20,000 tons of gold because the People’s Bank of China does not buy gold from the domestic market. Consequently, all the gold that is purchased by the Chinese stays in the local market. Pundits also believe that the Chinese central bank holds more gold than its official reserve numbers portray. The economic giant underreports its gold holdings to enable it to accumulate more of the precious metal at lower prices. As China slowly delinks from a USD that has already lost its value due to prevailing high debt to GDP ratios globally, it stands out as one nation prepping for an oncoming economic catastrophe that could inevitably lift prices. The World Bank has already issued a warning that the current wave of debt is untenable. Global debt percentages now exceed 322% of GDP. Central banks have pushed the global economy to the brink due to easing policies meant to stimulate economic activity. Unfortunately, they find themselves intertwined in a broadening circle of money printing activities, which will eventually lead to extreme inflation. The management of inflation means that real rates will keep falling, and gold values will keep rising. In debt-ridden financial systems, he who holds the gold makes the rules. And China is ready to step up.
Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.
This article is taken from the Wall Street Journal written about nine months ago and sits behind a a paywall, so I decided to copy and paste it here. This article explains Trump's policies toward global trade and what has actually happened so far. I think the article does a decent job of explaining the Trade War. While alot has happenedsince the article was written, I still think its relevant. However, what is lacking in the article, like many articles on the trade war, is it doesn't really explain the history of US trade policy, the laws that the US administration is using to place tariffs on China and the official justification for the US President in enacting tariffs against China. In my analysis I will cover those points.
When Trump entered the White House people feared he would dismantle the global system the US and its allies had built over the last 75 years, but he hasn't. He has realign into two systems. One between the US and its allies which looks similar to the one built since the 1980s with a few of quota and tariffs. As the article points out
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos. Furthermore, the article points out Douglas Irwin, an economist and trade historian at Dartmouth College, calls these results the “status quo with Trumpian tweaks: a little more managed trade sprinkled about for favored industries. It’s not good, but it’s not the destruction of the system.” Mr. Trump’s actions so far affect only 12% of U.S. imports, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In 1984, 21% of imports were covered by similar restraints, many imposed by Mr. Reagan, such as on cars, steel, motorcycles and clothing. Protectionist instincts go so far in the US, there are strong lobby groups for both protectionist and freetrade in the US.
The second reflects a emerging rivalry between the US and China. Undo some of the integration that followed China accession to the WTO. Two questions 1) How far is the US willing to decouple with China 2) Can it persuade allies to join.
The second is going to be difficult because China's economic ties are greater than they were between the Soviets, and China isn't waging an ideological struggle. Trump lacks Reagan commitment to alliance and free trade. The status quo with China is crumbling Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska, personifies these broader forces reshaping the U.S. approach to the world. When Mr. Xi visited the U.S. in 2015, Mr. Sullivan urged his colleagues to pay more attention to China’s rise. On the Senate floor, he quoted the political scientist Graham Allison: “War between the U.S. and China is more likely than recognized at the moment.” Last spring, Mr. Sullivan went to China and met officials including Vice President Wang Qishan. They seemed to think tensions with the U.S. will fade after Mr. Trump leaves the scene, Mr. Sullivan recalled. “I just said, ‘You are completely misreading this.’” The mistrust, he told them, is bipartisan, and will outlast Mr. Trump. both Bush II and Obama tried to change dialogue and engagement, but by the end of his term, Obama was questioning the approach. Trump has declared engagement. “We don’t like it when our allies steal our ideas either, but it’s a much less dangerous situation,” said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute whose views align with the administration’s more hawkish officials. “We’re not worried about the war-fighting capability of Japan and Korea because they’re our friends.”
The article also points out unlike George Kennan in 1946 who made a case for containing the Soviet Union, the US hasn't explicitly made a case for containing the Soviets, Trump's administration hasn't, because as the the article explains its divided Michael Pillsbury a Hudson Institute scholar close to the Trump team, see 3 scenarios
New Cold War with drastically reduced economic ties
China resolve their tensions, integrate and run the world together
Transactional US-China relationship of the sort during the 1980s
Pillsbury thinks the third is most likely to happen, even though the administration hasn't said that it has adopted that policy. The US is stepping efforts to draw in other trading partners. The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO effort to crack down on domestic subsidies and technology transfers requirement. US and Domestic concerns with prompted some countries to restrict Huawei. The US is also seeking to walloff China from other trade deals. However, there are risk with this strategy
Other countries like Japan and South Korea to dependent on China. Too integrated.
Raise objections to Belt and Road. But no alternative
My main criticism of this article is it tries like the vast majority of articles to fit US trade actions in the larger context of US geopolitical strategy. Even the author isn't certain "The first goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s goal. If his aim is to hold back China’s advance, economists predict he will fail.". If you try to treat the trade "war" and US geopolitical strategy toward China as one, you will find yourself quickly frustrated and confused. If you treat them separately with their different set of stakeholders and histories, were they intersect with regards to China, but diverge. During the Cold War, trade policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc was subordinated to geopolitical concerns. For Trump, the trade issues are more important than geopolitical strategy. His protectionist trade rhetoric has been fairly consistent since 1980s. In his administration, the top cabinet members holding economic portfolios, those of Commerce, Treasury and US Trade Representative are the same people he picked when he first took office. The Director of the Economic Council has changed hands once, its role isn't as important as the National Security Advisor. While State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor have changed hands at least once. Only the Director of National Intelligence hasn't changed. International Trade makes up 1/4 of the US economy, and like national security its primarily the responsibility of the Federal government. States in the US don't implement their own tariffs. If you add the impact of Treasury policy and how it relates to capital flows in and out of the US, the amounts easily exceed the size of the US economy. Furthermore, because of US Dollar role as the reserve currency and US control of over global system the impact of Treasury are global. Trade policy and investment flows runs through two federal departments Commerce and Treasury and for trade also USTR. Defense spending makes up 3.3% of GDP, and if you add in related homeland security its at most 4%. Why would anyone assume that these two realms be integrated let alone trade policy subordinate to whims of a national security bureaucracy in most instances? With North Korea or Iran, trade and investment subordinate themselves to national security, because to Treasury and Commerce bureaucrats and their affiliated interest groups, Iran and the DPRK are well, economic midgets, but China is a different matter. The analysis will be divided into four sections. The first will be to provide a brief overview of US trade policy since 1914. The second section will discuss why the US is going after China on trade issues, and why the US has resorted using a bilateral approach as opposed to going through the WTO. The third section we will talk about how relations with China is hashed out in the US. The reason why I submitted this article, because there aren't many post trying to explain US-China Trade War from a trade perspective. Here is a post titled "What is the Reasons for America's Trade War with China, and not one person mentioned Article 301 or China's WTO Commitments. You get numerous post saying that Huawei is at heart of the trade war. Its fine, but if you don't know what was inside the USTR Investigative report that lead to the tariffs. its like skipping dinner and only having dessert When the US President, Donald J Trump, says he wants to negotiate a better trade deal with other countries, and has been going on about for the last 35 years, longer than many of you have been alive, why do people think that the key issues with China aren't primarily about trade at the moment.
OVERVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE ORIENTATION
Before 1940s, the US could be categorized as a free market protectionist economy. For many this may seem like oxymoron, how can an economy be free market and protectionist? In 1913, government spending made up about 7.5% of US GDP, in the UK it was 13%, and for Germany 18% (Public Spending in the 20th Century A Global Perspective: Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi - 2000). UK had virtual zero tariffs, while for manufactured goods in France it was 20%, 13% Germany, 9% Belgium and 4% Netherlands. For raw materials and agricultural products, it was almost zero. In contrast, for the likes of United States, Russia and Japan it was 44%, 84% and 30% respectively. Even though in 1900 United States was an economic powerhouse along with Germany, manufactured exports only made up 30% of exports, and the US government saw tariffs as exclusively a domestic policy matter and didn't see tariffs as something to be negotiated with other nations. The US didn't have the large constituency to push the government for lower tariffs abroad for their exports like in Britain in the 1830-40s (Reluctant Partners: A History of Multilateral Trade Cooperation, 1850-2000). The Underwood Tariffs Act of 1913 which legislated the income tax, dropped the tariffs to 1850 levels levels.Until 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 making income tax legal, all US federal revenue came from excise and tariffs. In contrast before 1914, about 50% of UK revenue came from income taxes. The reason for US reluctance to introduced income tax was ideological and the United State's relative weak government compared to those in Europe. After the First World War, the US introduced the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921, than the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 followed by a Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. Contrary to popular opinion, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 had a small negative impact on the economy, since imports and exports played a small part of the US economy, and the tariffs were lower than the average that existed from 1850-1914. Immediately after the Second World War, when the US economy was the only industrialized economy left standing, the economic focus was on rehabilitation and monetary stability. There was no grandiose and ideological design. Bretton Woods system linked the US dollar to gold to create monetary stability, and to avoid competitive devaluation and tariffs that plagued the world economy after Britain took itself off the gold in 1931. The US$ was the natural choice, because in 1944 2/3 of the world's gold was in the US. One reason why the Marshall Plan was created was to alleviate the chronic deficits Europeans countries had with the US between 1945-50. It was to rebuild their economies so they could start exports good to the US. Even before it was full implemented in 1959, it was already facing problems, the trade surpluses that the US was running in the 1940s, turned to deficits as European and Japanese economies recovered. By 1959, Federal Reserves foreign liabilities had already exceeded its gold reserves. There were fears of a run on the US gold supply and arbitrage. A secondary policy of the Bretton woods system was curbs on capital outflows to reduce speculation on currency pegs, and this had a negative impact on foreign investment until it was abandoned in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s, where foreign investment recovered to levels prior to 1914. Factoring out the big spike in global oil prices as a result of the OPEC cartel, it most likely wasn't until the mid-1990s that exports as a % of GDP had reached 1914 levels. Until the 1980s, the US record regarding free trade and markets was mediocre. The impetus to remove trade barriers in Europe after the Second World War was driven by the Europeans themselves. The EEC already had a custom union in 1968, Canada and the US have yet to even discuss implementing one. Even with Canada it took the US over 50 years to get a Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was inspired by the success of the EEC. NAFTA was very much an elite driven project. If the Americans put the NAFTA to a referendum like the British did with the EEC in the seventies, it most likely wouldn't pass. People often look at segregation in the US South as a political issue, but it was economic issue as well. How could the US preach free trade, when it didn't have free trade in its own country. Segregation was a internal non-tariff barrier. In the first election after the end of the Cold War in 1992, Ross Perot' based most of independent run for the Presidency on opposition to NAFTA. He won 19% of the vote. Like Ross Perot before him, Donald Trump is not the exception in how America has handled tariffs since the founding of the Republic, but more the norm. The embrace of free trade by the business and political elite can be attributed to two events. After the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, a strong vested interest in the US in the form of multinationals and Wall Street emerged advocating for removal of tariffs and more importantly the removal of restrictions on free flow of capital, whether direct foreign investment in portfolio investment. However, the political class embrace of free trade and capital only really took off after the collapse of the Soviet Union propelled by Cold War triumphalism. As mentioned by the article, the US is reverting back to a pre-WTO relations with China. As Robert Lighthizer said in speech in 2000
I guess my prescription, really, is to move back to more of a negotiating kind of a settlement. Return to WTO and what it really was meant to be. Something where you have somebody make a decision but have it not be binding.
The US is using financial and legal instruments developed during the Cold War like its extradition treaties (with Canada and Europe), and Section 301. Here is a very good recent article about enforcement commitment that China will make.‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms NOTE: It is very difficult to talk about US-China trade war without a basic knowledge of global economic history since 1914. What a lot of people do is politicize or subordinate the economic history to the political. Some commentators think US power was just handed to them after the Second World War, when the US was the only industrialized economy left standing. The dominant position of the US was temporary and in reality its like having 10 tonnes of Gold sitting in your house, it doesn't automatically translate to influence. The US from 1945-1989 was slowly and gradually build her influence in the non-Communist world. For example, US influence in Canada in the 1960s wasn't as strong as it is now. Only 50% of Canadian exports went to the US in 1960s vs 80% at the present moment.
BASIS OF THE US TRADE DISCUSSION WITH CHINA
According to preliminary agreement between China and the US based on unnamed sources in the Wall Street Journal article US, China close in on Trade Deal. In this article it divides the deal in two sections. The first aspects have largely to do with deficits and is political.
As part of a deal, China is pledging to help level the playing field, including speeding up the timetable for removing foreign-ownership limitations on car ventures and reducing tariffs on imported vehicles to below the current auto tariff of 15%. Beijing would also step up purchases of U.S. goods—a tactic designed to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.
The second part will involve the following.
Commitment Regarding Industrial Policy
Provisions to protect IP
Mechanism which complaints by US companies can be addressed
Bilateral meetings adjudicate disputes. If talks don't produce agreement than US can raise tariffs unilaterally
China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
China directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets to generate large-scale technology transfer.
China conducts and supports cyber intrusions into U.S. commercial computer networks to gain unauthorized access to commercially valuable business information.
In the bigger context of trade relations between US and China, China is not honoring its WTO commitments, and the USTR issued its yearly report to Congress in early February about the status of China compliance with its WTO commitments. The points that served as a basis for applying Section 301, also deviate from her commitments as Clinton's Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky paving the way for a trade war. Barshefsky argues that China's back sliding was happening as early as 2006-07, and believes the trade war could have been avoided has those commitments been enforced by previous administrations. I will provide a brief overview of WTO membership and China's process of getting into the WTO. WTO members can be divided into two groups, first are countries that joined in 1995-97, and were members of GATT, than there are the second group that joined after 1997. China joined in 2001. There is an argument that when China joined in 2001, she faced more stringent conditions than other developing countries that joined before, because the vast majority of developing countries were members of GATT, and were admitted to the WTO based on that previous membership in GATT. Here is Brookings Institute article published in 2001 titled "Issues in China’s WTO Accession"
This question is all the more puzzling because the scope and depth of demands placed on entrants into the formal international trading system have increased substantially since the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994, which expanded the agenda considerably by covering many services, agriculture, intellectual property, and certain aspects of foreign direct investment. Since 1994, the international community has added agreements covering information technology, basic telecommunications services, and financial services. WTO membership now entails liberalization of a much broader range of domestic economic activity, including areas that traditionally have been regarded by most countries as among the most sensitive, than was required of countries entering the WTO’s predecessor organization the GATT. The terms of China’s protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization reflect the developments just described and more. China’s market access commitments are much more far-reaching than those that governed the accession of countries only a decade ago. And, as a condition for membership, China was required to make protocol commitments that substantially exceed those made by any other member of the World Trade Organization, including those that have joined since 1995. The broader and deeper commitments China has made inevitably will entail substantial short-term economic costs.
What are the WTO commitments Barshefsky goes on about? When countries join the WTO, particularly those countries that weren't members of GATT and joined after 1997, they have to work toward fulfilling certain commitments. There are 4 key documents when countries make an accession to WTO membership, the working party report, the accession protocol paper, the goods schedule and service schedule. In the working party report as part of the conclusion which specifies the commitment of each member country what they will do in areas that aren't compliant with WTO regulations on the date they joined. The problem there is no good enforcement mechanism for other members to force China to comply with these commitments. And WTO punishments are weak. Here is the commitment paragraph for China "The Working Party took note of the explanations and statements of China concerning its foreign trade regime, as reflected in this Report. The Working Party took note of the commitments given by China in relation to certain specific matters which are reproduced in paragraphs 18-19, 22-23, 35-36, 40, 42, 46-47, 49, 60, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73, 75, 78-79, 83-84, 86, 91-93, 96, 100-103, 107, 111, 115-117, 119-120, 122-123, 126-132, 136, 138, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152, 154, 157, 162, 165, 167-168, 170-174, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-185, 187, 190-197, 199-200, 203-207, 210, 212-213, 215, 217, 222-223, 225, 227-228, 231-235, 238, 240-242, 252, 256, 259, 263, 265, 270, 275, 284, 286, 288, 291, 292, 296, 299, 302, 304-305, 307-310, 312-318, 320, 322, 331-334, 336, 339 and 341 of this Report and noted that these commitments are incorporated in paragraph 1.2 of the Draft Protocol. " This is a tool by the WTO that list all the WTO commitment of each country in the working paper. In the goods and service schedule they have commitments for particular sectors. Here is the a press release by the WTO in September 2001, after successfully concluding talks for accession, and brief summary of key areas in which China hasn't fulfilled her commitments. Most of the commitments made by China were made to address its legacy as a non-market economy and involvement of state owned enterprises. In my opinion, I think the US government and investors grew increasingly frustrated with China, after 2007 not just because of China's back sliding, but relative to other countries who joined after 1997 like Vietnam, another non-market Leninist dictatorship. When comparing China's commitments to the WTO its best to compare her progress with those that joined after 1997, which were mostly ex-Soviet Republics. NOTE: The Chinese media have for two decades compared any time the US has talked about China's currency manipulation or any other issue as a pretext for imposing tariffs on China to the Plaza Accords. I am very sure people will raise it here. My criticism of this view is fourfold. First, the US targeted not just Japan, but France, Britain and the UK as well. Secondly, the causes of the Japan lost decade were due largely to internal factors. Thirdly, Japan, UK, Britain and France in the 1980s, the Yuan isn't undervalued today. Lastly, in the USTR investigation, its China's practices that are the concern, not so much the trade deficit.
REASONS FOR TRUMPS UNILATERAL APPROACH
I feel that people shouldn't dismiss Trump's unilateral approach toward China for several reasons.
The multilateral approach won't work in many issues such as the trade deficit, commercial espionage and intellectual property, because US and her allies have different interest with regard to these issues. Germany and Japan and trade surpluses with China, while the US runs a deficit. In order to reach a consensus means the West has to compromise among themselves, and the end result if the type of toothless resolutions you commonly find in ASEAN regarding the SCS. Does America want to "compromise" its interest to appease a politician like Justin Trudeau? Not to mention opposition from domestic interest. TPP was opposed by both Clinton and Trump during the election.
You can't launch a geopolitical front against China using a newly formed trade block like the TPP. Some of the existing TPP members are in economic groups with China, like Malaysia and Australia.
China has joined a multitude of international bodies, and at least in trade, these bodies haven't changed its behavior.
Trump was elected to deal with China which he and his supporters believe was responsible for the loss of millions manufacturing jobs when China joined the WTO in 2001. It is estimate the US lost 6 Million jobs, about 1/4 of US manufacturing Jobs. This has been subsequently advanced by some economists. The ball got rolling when Bill Clinton decided to grant China Most Favored Nation status in 1999, just a decade after Tiananmen.
China hasn't dealt with issues like IP protection, market access, subsidies to state own companies and state funded industrial spying.
According to the survey, 39 percent of the country views China’s growing power as a “critical threat” to Americans. That ranked it only eighth among 12 potential threats listed and placed China well behind the perceived threats from international terrorism (66 percent), North Korea’s nuclear program (59 percent) and Iran’s nuclear program (52 percent). It’s also considerably lower than when the same question was asked during the 1990s, when more than half of those polled listed China as a critical threat. That broadly tracks with a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that found concern about U.S.-China economic issues had decreased since 2012.
In looking at how US conducts relations foreign policy with China, we should look at it from the three areas of most concern - economic, national security and ideology. Each sphere has their interest groups, and sometimes groups can occupy two spheres at once. Security experts are concerned with some aspects of China's economic actions like IP theft and industrial policy (China 2025), because they are related to security. In these sphere there are your hawks and dove. And each sphere is dominated by certain interest groups. That is why US policy toward China can often appear contradictory. You have Trump want to reduce the trade deficit, but security experts advocating for restrictions on dual use technology who are buttressed by people who want export restrictions on China, as a way of getting market access. Right now the economic concerns are most dominant, and the hawks seem to dominate. The economic hawks traditionally have been domestic manufacturing companies and economic nationalist. In reality the hawks aren't dominant, but the groups like US Companies with large investment in China and Wall Street are no longer defending China, and some have turned hawkish against China. These US companies are the main conduit in which China's lobby Congress, since China only spends 50% of what Taiwan spends lobbying Congress. THE ANGLO SAXON WORLD AND CHINA I don't think many Chinese even those that speak English, have a good understanding Anglo-Saxon society mindset. Anglo Saxons countries, whether US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are commerce driven society governed by sanctity of contracts. The English great philosophical contributions to Western philosophy have primarily to do with economics and politics like Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. This contrast with the French and Germans. Politics in the UK and to a lesser extent the US, is centered around economics, while in Mainland Europe its religion. When the Americans revolted against the British Empire in 1776, the initial source of the grievances were taxes. Outside of East Asia, the rest of the World's relationship with China was largely commercial, and for United States, being an Anglosaxon country, even more so. In Southeast Asia, Chinese aren't known for high culture, but for trade and commerce. Outside Vietnam, most of Chinese loans words in Southeast Asian languages involve either food or money. The influence is akin to Yiddish in English. Some people point to the Mao and Nixon meeting as great strategic breakthrough and symbol of what great power politics should look like. The reality is that the Mao-Nixon meeting was an anomaly in the long history of relations with China and the West. Much of China-Western relations over the last 500 years was conducted by multitudes of nameless Chinese and Western traders. The period from 1949-1979 was the only period were strategic concerns triumphed trade, because China had little to offer except instability and revolution. Even in this period, China's attempt to spread revolution in Southeast Asia was a threat to Western investments and corporate interest in the region. During the nadir of both the Qing Dynasty and Republican period, China was still engaged in its traditional commercial role. Throughout much of history of their relations with China, the goals of Britain and the United States were primarily economic, IMAGINE JUST 10% OF CHINA BOUGHT MY PRODUCT From the beginning, the allure of China to Western businesses and traders has been its sheer size I. One of the points that the USTR mentions is lack of market access for US companies operating in China, while Chinese companies face much less restrictions operating in the US.
China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from U.S. companies.
China deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.
Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box. So while many attribute this shift to the Trump Administration, I do not. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed—by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to the United States but as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the US-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure: In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined the WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic and even opponent of past US policies toward China. American business doesn’t want a tariff war but it does want a more aggressive approach from our government. How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation? The answer lies in the story of stalled competition policy, and the slow pace of opening, over nearly two decades. This has discouraged and fragmented the American business community. And it has reinforced the negative attitudinal shift among our political and expert classes. In short, even though many American businesses continue to prosper in China, a growing number of firms have given up hope that the playing field will ever be level. Some have accepted the Faustian bargain of maximizing today’s earnings per share while operating under restrictions that jeopardize their future competitiveness. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. Nor does it mean they aren’t acutely aware of the risks — or thinking harder than ever before about how to diversify their risks away from, and beyond, China.
What is interesting about Paulson's speech is he spend only one sentence about displaced US workers, and a whole paragraph about US business operating in China. While Kissinger writes books about China, how much does he contribute to both Democrats and the Republicans during the election cycle? China is increasingly makING it more difficult for US companies operating and those exporting products to China.
[EVENT] Market shock mitigation deployed by CPC, PBOC in response to American sanctions
Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China,Sanlihe, Xicheng District, Beijing
Shock Mitigation, Market and Sector Responses
A strong statement today by President Xi Jinping as news trickled in of yet another American policy shift: "America cannot win a trade war." Over successive policy statements and briefs from central Ministry of Finance officials, it has become clear that the response of Chinese authorities is directed to drive home the President's sentiment. China holds vastly more capacity to outlast the United States in a protracted trade war, including over $3T in Forex reserves to the United States $118 billion, finalized and active RCEP and nearly finalized SCO agreements, and large internalized increases in domestic consumption. However, President Jinping has stated that "Beijing will not allow the Washington to display a complete lack of international diplomatic respect and sensibility, treating China as an inferior nation to be brought to heel." Many Chinese news outlets are now quoting Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, who noted that "American middle and lower class consumers will be the real losers here, while Chinese manufacturers will seek to accelerate their move to developing markets and focus greater on our emerging middle class." Finance and administration officials have touted a recently released package of counter active industry and domestic economic actions as the first step in a "decisive Chinese response," signaling that Beijing intends to both sharply mitigate Chinese economic damage while fighting back against American tariffs, both defensively and offensively.
Internal Economic Measures
CPC leaders are aware that in a war of tariff attrition with their largest export market, they have a distinct major advantage: a burgeoning domestic consumption market driven by a developing middle class and decade high level of economic growth, and have made a point of contrasting this with a mature and developed American market. Leaders have quickly sought to boost market confidence, banking on the successful and level response of the administration in Beijing in sharp contrast to the erratic and damaging actions lately from Washington. Having successfully prevented and even boosted capital reserves over the past five years far across the $3T line while slowly shrinking various bubbles under the SAFE program, officials are confident that the Chinese economy is well positioned to absorb the external shock through a variety of means, including the following:
The PBoC has cut the internal lending rate from 6% to 4.5% for approximately two years, as well as lowered the required reserve ratio for consumer deposits to 16%, the lowest since 2015.
The government has ad hoc relaxed real estate market restrictions further in order to avoid a constriction of the property market and a possible bubble collapse. These measures are a continuance of the 2017 volatility measures, and allow foreign businesses and individuals to purchase more than one property in the country. Foreign institutional investors are also no longer required to pay registration fees on loans availed to fund their property.
The central bank has pumped ¥90bn into the market financial system over a variety of methods, seeking to avert fears of a meltdown and instill confidence; a similarly successful and larger package of ¥230bn was used in 2015. Similarly, SAFE has extended a ban on stock sells by shareholders who hold more than 5% of a company.
These measures are designed as a temporary stopgap while the CPC works on releasing a long term, sustainable economic rebalance, which is widely expected in the following days.
The Yuan is currently pegged in a "managed floating rate" against the USD at ¥6.2/$1. To ease the pressure on Chinese exporters driven by US tariffs, and to ensure that exports remain competitive especially in critical developing markets - which Beijing is now seeking to dominate, as has been for years - the PBOC has instituted a small change to the managed reference rate. This is not referred to as a devaluation in any way.
The reference rate is (once again) set as relative to "foreign exchange demand and supply," a tactic that Beijing has used in the past in order to easily manipulate the value, and has narrowed the trading band to +/- 1.5pc.
CNY production will be increased 5.5pc as the PBOC begins buying USD in larger quantities.
Beijing is looking to quietly engineer a 2pc reduction in the CNY in a single sweep, with a maximum trading rate falling against to ¥7/$1. However, Yang Gi, Deputy Minister of the PBOC, has put out a statement noting:
"The assumption that the People's Bank is attempting to engineer a ten percent devaluation is groundless. The volatility in the market is currently under careful control, and is largely in relation to American financial pressures. However, the PBOC stands ready to step in with capital control measures - including forex buybacks of the Yuan - if the market turns sour."
Specific Industry Stimulus
Party officials and Financial deputies have examined at the situation in each of the general tariffed areas excepting automobiles; steel/iron, aluminum, textiles, industrial machinery, and heavy manufacturing. In several cases, demand is incredibly saturated domestically; in others, the addition of SCO/RCEP FTAs and the progress of the Silk Road to Western Asia and Europe have insulated the sectors. However, officials also view this as a chance to rebalance growth in several over-capacitated sectors, a long standing goal.
Steel: China has previously made a bid to drain overcapacity of their heavy steel sector, which was estimated at 14%, by beginning construction of a massive capital renovation project, the Xiongan New Area. It was expected by officials that the project would rebalance the domestic demand and allow a gradual shift towards neutral or near neutral production; the American sanctions are expected to have little domestic effect, perhaps accelerating the needed balance by 3pc during the first year. American exports are no longer in the Top Ten destination lists, with Vietnam, South Korea, and Pakistan taking the top spots.
Aluminum: Previously, American aluminum manufacturers had hoped to address the mammoth Chinese overcapacity through diplomatic solutions,, as China has growth to capture 22% of the American market. No longer willing to play ball with American WTO complaints, given their recent actions, central planning authorities will institute a heavier subsidy for aluminum production, essentially negating a portion of the tariff, while they seek to redirect capacity towards RCEP nations. Market data will no longer be available, or will be incredibly disjointed, to misdirect American trade groups as they battle the market flood of cheap aluminum. However, Chinese authorities have instituted a ban on new aluminum manufacturing and facilities while the sector is able to bleed capacity into Asian markets.
Textiles: Chinese exporters trade approximately $39bn with American importers, namely large retail stores such as Walmart, per year in textiles. This has been massively outpaced by East Asian, which at 2016 figures found $93bn of Chinese imports, and Europe, which imported $72bn. However, in an attempt to insulate North American focused exporters, China has offered a subsidy of ¥40bn drip fed over several years to offset the 20% tariff, and has massively encouraged these exporters to shift quickly away from North America in favor of Silk Road nations.
Industrial Machinery: Here Chinese firms do heavy business with America: *$194bn in exports as of 2015. While a 20% tariff on machinery needed for American construction sectors is widely expected to raise construction costs and depress the American building industry, Chinese leaders feel they strongly need to encourage this trade flow away from a volatile American market. With a subsidy of ¥60bn, CPC officials have instituted a "Silk Road Industrial Machine Fund," which encourages with grant funding Chinese domestic manufacturers to retool both their logistics and production facilities to provide exports to developing nations. It is the goal of the CPC to reduce American machinery exports to under $100bn by 2025 and replace this with competitive gains in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Automotive parts and finished exports have not been given specific attention due to the second part of the package, where reciprocal measures will soon be imposed; leading to the belief that American car parts manufacturers will soon lobby the government to remove the shortsighted 30% duty.
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