China says trade war with US hampered its 2019 foreign trade

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   464

A man works on the CSCL Yellow Sea cargo ship at the Los Angeles Port in Los Angeles, California, USA, 08 August 2019. EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

Beijing – China’s international trade growth slowed to 3.4 percent in 2019, affected by the trade war with the United States, a country with which exchanges decreased 10.7 percent, according to official data published Tuesday.

China’s foreign trade increased by 3.4 percent to 31.54 trillion yuan ($4.57 trillion) in 2019, figures of the General Administration of Customs showed.

Exports grew by 5 percent in 2019 to 17.23 trillion yuan, while imports increased by 1.6 percent to 14.31 trillion yuan.

The trade surplus increased by 25.4 percent, totaling 2.92 trillion yuan.

Although the growth rate was lower than in the previous two years, Customs authorities underlined that the total trade volume as well as imports and exports set record nominal figures in 2019.

There was a sharp increase in pork imports (75 percent), a product in great demand in China and for which supply was severely affected by the African swine fever epidemic.

Purchases of veal meat abroad, used as a substitute, also experienced a notable increase (59.7 percent).

China’s trade scenario last year was marked by the ongoing trade war with the United States, leading bilateral trade between them to fall by 10.7 percent to 3.73 trillion yuan.

The figure means the United States is no longer China’s second-largest trading partner, and falls to third place, although it is still far superior to fourth-placed Japan.

Chinese exports to the US reduced by 8.7 percent to 2.89 trillion yuan, while imports from the North American country dropped by 17.1 percent to 845.38 billion yuan.

This lopsided trade balance between them in favor of China — which last year stood at 2.04 trillion yuan, a drop of 4.7 percent — was among the major reasons for the Trump administration to start the trade war with Beijing.

While trade with the US fell, China increased exchanges with the European Union by 8 percent, the United Kingdom (12 percent).

One of the commercial year’s notable relationships was with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional bloc with which China raised its businesses by 14.1 percent and took the place of the US as Beijing’s second-largest trading partner.

In addition, the Asian giant carried out 8 percent more year-on-year more purchases and sales in Latin America in 2019, and 6.8 percent more in Africa.

The country’s Customs authorities also highlighted trade growth with countries that are part of the Chinese initiative of the New Silk Routes, which rose by 10.8 percent.

Another figure highlighted by the state press is that, for the first time since the statistical series began, Chinese private companies outperformed those with foreign funding.

Looking ahead, Capital Economics analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard believes the “gradual recovery” of the economies of China’s main trading partners will help sustain exports this year.

This should also be helped by the so-called “first phase” of the agreement between China and the US, which is to be signed Wednesday and will serve to end the tariff conflict between the two powers.

Evans-Pritchard is not so optimistic about the growth of imports in 2020 “It could not increase much more due to the winds against domestic demand,” he said, and said the agreed increase in purchases of US products would be carried out by sacrificing other countries’ imports.

The General Administration of Customs published data today for the month of December, in which foreign trade increased by 12.7 percent and set a new monthly volume record. EFE-EPA

vec/tw-lds

Detroit bus driver dies of COVID-19 days after posting rant vs coughing passenger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

A bus driver in the United States (US) died 11 days after he posted a video on Facebook complaining about a coughing passenger.

50-year-old Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on March 21 recounting an incident where an woman in her late fifties coughed several times without covering her mouth.

“I feel violated, I feel violated for those folks that was on the bus when this happened,” he said on his video.

He also advised everyone watching the video to take the pandemic seriously.

He reiterated his anger to the old woman who coughed without covering her mouth saying it was those kinds of people who are not taking the situation seriously.

“This is real, I’m out here. We are all here. We are moving in this city back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do,” he said.

“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”

A week after his Facebook rant, Hangrove, a father of six, died on April 1 due to complications from COVID-19.

His video has already been viewed more than half a million times. Netizens are also rallying for the frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAC

Trump extends national COVID-19 guidelines to April 30

UNTV News   •   March 30, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will extend the guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus to April 30, from his original target of Easter on April 12. Trump added that deaths from the coronavirus could peak around Easter.

U.S. President Donald Trump also called on Congress Sunday (March 29), to restore the full tax deduction for meals and entertainment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of a wide-ranging 2017 tax reform measure, Congress eliminated the corporate tax deduction for entertainment expenses, but taxpayers were allowed to continue to deduct 50% of the cost of client business meals. Trump said he wanted to restore that tax deduction “so companies can send people to restaurants.”

In a long and wide-ranging news conference focused on his administration’s response to COVID-19, President Trump questioned the increasing need for masks, urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to look into hospitals requesting hundreds of thousands of masks during the pandemic.

“How do you go from 10 to 20 to 300-thousand? 10 to 20,000 masks to 300,000, even though this is different? Something’s going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out of the back door? he asked. “I don’t think it’s hoarding. I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding. But check it out. Check it out.”

On March 25, Trump issued an executive order to prevent the hoarding of essential medical equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, including ventilators and masks.

The executive order authorized the U.S. government to directly target hoarders, who can be criminally prosecuted.

But with the infection rate rising rapidly, Reuters has documented shortages of vital protective equipment in hospitals in hard-hit New York, where healthcare workers are hiding supplies such as facemasks from colleagues in other departments.

As supply chains break down or delay delivery of vital equipment, nurses say they are locking away or hiding N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and other supplies that are prone to going missing if left unattended for long. (Reuters)

(Production: Vanessa Johnston, Arlene Eiras)

US Indo-Pacific Command cancels 2020 Balikatan Exercises amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The United States Indo-Pacific Command on Friday said it has canceled the Balikatan exercises scheduled for May 4 to 15 in the Philippines amid the threat posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the US Indo-Pacific Command said the cancellation of the joint military exercises between the troops from the Philippines and the US is in accordance with international travel restrictions implemented by the two countries in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“In light of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pandemic and in the best interest of the health and safety of both countries’ forces, it is prudent to cancel Balikatan 2020,” Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said.

“We remain deeply committed to our long-standing Alliance and friendship,” he added.

Balikatan is an annual exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States, and involves the participation of Australia.

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