Tuesday October 23, 2018

July 2018 News

June News | August News

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Mysterious Illness at U.S. Consulates in China
U.S. and China Enact Tariffs
Blast at U.S. Embassy in Beijing
Facebook’s China Subsidiary Faces Approval Issues
Final Bill Does Not Reinstate ZTE Export Ban

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Mysterious Illness at U.S. Consulates in China

Additional cases of the mysterious symptoms plaguing U.S. diplomats abroad have been reported in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai. These cases were discovered after 250 embassy employees in China were examined. At least 8 employees from Guangzhou have been evacuated back to the U.S. for additional examinations since May. One employee from Shanghai and two from Beijing have also been sent back to the U.S.

On June 29, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed this ongoing issue with Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, over the phone. The task force established by Pompeo in June has yet to reach a conclusion about the cause of the injuries. Possible culprits include: deliberate sonic harassment, malfunctioning surveillance devices, environmental factors, and even mass hysteria.

June’s Consulate Illness News

Read More:

Business InsiderThe US evacuated 9 diplomats from China after they experienced strange auditory sensations
New York TimesMore Americans Evacuated From China Over Mysterious Ailments

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U.S. and China Enact Tariffs

On July 6 the U.S. enacted tariffs targeting $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, focusing mostly on manufactured products and components. On that same day, China enacted retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans, beef, cars, and other agricultural products totaling $34 billion. The second wave of U.S. tariffs targets $16 billion of Chinese imports and is expected near the beginning of September.

The tariffs on soy are likely to affect Chinese consumers the most, as China imports 1/3 of the soy it uses each year. Most experts believe the Chinese tariffs on agricultural products will be harmful to the American farmers growing targeted crops, but the effects may not be seen in the short term. The tariffs may encourage Chinese farmers, and farmers worldwide, to increase their production of the targeted crops, threatening American exports in the long run. The tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods may prove beneficial to some American manufacturers competing to replace products affected by the tariffs.

On July 10, the Trump administration responded to China’s retaliatory tariffs by releasing an additional list of Chinese imports to be taxed. The list of products is worth $200 billion and includes agricultural products, handbags, and refrigerators. If enacted, this will be the third wave of tariffs imposed directly on China.

Update, July 19: On July 16, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the U.S. plan to levee 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

Update, July 31: Representatives from the U.S. and China are reportedly attempting to restart negotiations to resolve the recent bilateral trade issues. The first rounds of negotiations broke down after the U.S. and China imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports in early July. In spite of these attempts, the next round of U.S. tariffs, on $16 billion of Chinese imports, is expected as soon as August 1.

USCPF Article on U.S.-China Tariffs

June’s U.S.-China Trade Issues News | August’s U.S.-China Tariffs News

Read More:

CNN – Trump readies new tariffs on China
NPR – Trade War With China Heats Up, But Tariff Effects Are Already Rippling Across U.S.
New York Times
China Strikes Back at Trump’s Tariffs, but Its Consumers Worry
New York TimesChina’s Taste for Soybeans Is a Weak Spot in the Trade War With Trump
Politico – China slams U.S. over ‘largest trade war in economic history’
USA TodayChina’s tariffs will hit farm states hard, spare service-heavy states

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Blast at U.S. Embassy in Beijing

On the afternoon of July 26, a blast occurred outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing. This blast was close to the south east corner of the compound, near the line for Chinese citizens picking up their American visas. This corner is also close to the Indian embassy.

It was a small detonation, described as a “thunder-like” noise with a pillar of white smoke. Chinese police have referred to the weapon as “fireworks.” The only injury reported was a minor hand injury to the suspected culprit. The suspect was identified as “Jiang”, a 26 year-old man from Inner Mongolia. A motive has not been revealed. Chinese police have blamed the incident on the suspect’s mental health. A woman was arrested earlier in the day after attempting self-immolation, but it is not clear if these two events were related.

Read More:

BBC – Beijing blast: Small explosive device set off near US embassy
China Daily –
Firework-like device explodes near US embassy in Beijing
New York Times –
U.S. Embassy Street in Beijing Is Rocked by Blast
Reuters – Lone suspect in blast near U.S. embassy in Beijing caught
South China Morning Post – Chinese police identify suspect in US embassy blast in Beijing; blood and broken glass litter street

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Facebook’s Chinese Subsidiary Faces Approval Issues

On July 24, it was reported that a Facebook subsidiary had received approval to operate in China. This subsidiary would have offered both small investment loans and business advice to local startups and businesses in Zhejiang province. The approval was rescinded less than a day later. It appears that although the subsidiary had received approval from provincial officials, there were disagreements between these officials and the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Read More:

CNN – Facebook wants to open an ‘innovation hub’ in China
New York Times – China Said to Quickly Withdraw Approval for New Facebook Venture
Reuters – Facebook plans innovation hub in China despite tightening censorship

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Final Bill Does Not Reinstate ZTE Export Ban

During their efforts to write the annual defense bill, both the House and the Senate included provisions penalizing ZTE for their failure to follow a settlement the company reached with the Department of Commerce. The House version prohibited the U.S. government, and companies that work with the U.S. government, from buying products from China’s biggest telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE, out of concern for national security. The Senate version reinstated the ban on U.S. companies exporting their products to ZTE. The ban, imposed after ZTE failed to follow the settlement, was removed by the Trump administration earlier this month after it struck a deal with the company to keep it in business.

The final, reconciled version of the defense bill does not include the Senate’s provision, but does include the House’s. The bill has not yet been voted on, but is expected to pass both the House and the Senate.

June’s ZTE News

Read More:

CNNCongress won’t reinstate penalties on ZTE
Reuters – China’s ZTE revises down first-quarter profit after factoring in U.S. supplier ban
SCMP – US lawmakers agree to pull back from ZTE ban, in victory for Donald Trump

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Page Updated: July 31
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