World Economy

Trump Wars Continue

Trump Wars ContinueTrump Wars Continue

The United States has formally told the World Trade Organization that it opposes granting China market economy status, a position that if upheld would allow Washington to maintain high anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods.

The statement of opposition, made public on Thursday, was submitted as a third-party brief in support of the European Union in a dispute with China that could have major repercussions for the trade body’s future, CNBC reported.

China is fighting the EU for recognition as a market economy, a designation that would lead to dramatically lower anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods by prohibiting the use of third-country price comparisons.

The US and EU argue that the state’s pervasive role in the Chinese economy, including rampant granting of subsidies, mean that domestic prices are deeply distorted and not market-determined.

A victory for China before the WTO would weaken many countries’ trade defenses against a flood of cheap Chinese goods, putting the viability of more western industries at risk.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress in June that the case was “the most serious litigation we have at the WTO right now” and a decision in China’s favor “would be cataclysmic for the WTO”.

Lighthizer has repeatedly expressed frustration with the WTO’s dispute settlement body and has called for major changes at the organization.

The USTR brief, which follows a commerce department finding in October that China fails the tests for a market economy, argues that China should not automatically be granted market economy by virtue of the expiration of its 2001 accession protocol last year.

The move comes as trade tensions between Washington and Beijing are increasing as the Trump administration prepares several possible major trade actions, including broad tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum and an investigation into Chinese intellectual property misappropriation.

  CNN-AT&T Merger

The war between Trump and CNN has taken a new turn with the government’s challenge to a tie-up between AT&T and the cable news channel’s parent firm Time Warner, AFP reported.

Even as his justice department moved to block the deal, the president has stepped up his attacks on the major news network, his most frequent target of “fake news” complaints.

Trump has been attacking CNN since the 2016 campaign, but the latest developments raise questions about whether he is using his power to choke off investment, or even force CNN to be sold to a partner friendlier to the White House.

As the atmosphere has deteriorated, CNN said it would boycott the White House Christmas party “in light of the president’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN.”

Trump returned the compliment, with a tweet saying, “Great, and we should boycott Fake News CNN. Dealing with them is a total waste of time!”

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