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June 2019 News

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China uses Vietnam to avoid U.S. tariffs

Beijing claims U.S. and Canadian marijuana policies are a ‘threat to China’

Hong Kong protests continue after suspension of extradition bill

China uses Vietnam to avoid U.S. tariffs

According to the Vietnamese government, China has been exporting their own goods to Vietnam, then labeling the goods as “Made in Vietnam” in order to avoid paying U.S. tariffs. According to Vietnamese Customs Department official Hoang Thi Thuy, dozens of products have been identified with falsified origin stickers, including textiles, fishery products, agricultural products, steel, aluminum, and processed wooden products. Amidst fears that it could be the subject of U.S. retaliation, the Vietnam government has pledged to increase the penalties associated with these actions.

Vietnam has benefited the most from the U.S.-China trade war, as international companies have begun shifting their supply chains. Vietnam’s gain from trade diversion on tariffed goods was equal to 7.9% of GDP through the first quarter of 2019. However, Vietnamese officials are concerned that a protracted trade war could hurt economic growth. The U.S. Treasury Department added Vietnam to a currency manipulation watchlist last month amidst concerns that Vietnam will use the exchange rate to create a trade advantage.

Read More:

Bloomberg – Chinese Exporters Dodge Tariffs With Fake Made-in-Vietnam Labels Reuters – Vietnam to crack down on Chinese goods relabeled to beat U.S. tariffs

 

Beijing claims U.S. and Canadian marijuana policies are a ‘threat to China’

Canada’s legalization of marijuana and growing marijuana acceptance in the U.S. have sparked ire in Beijing. Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, stated that there was a sharp increase in cannabis users in China in 2018, rising about 25% which totals around 24,000 people. China reportedly intercepted 115 packages containing approximately 55 kilograms (1,940 ounces) of cannabis products last year. The main culprits were Chinese students returning from abroad and foreign students living in China.

Drug possession carries harsh punishments under Chinese law. Anyone caught with over 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of a controlled substance can face the death penalty. Beijing officials have been known to carry out spot drug tests at bars and nightclubs to deter drug use.

This announcement follows tensions between the U.S. and China regarding fentanyl. 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention linked fentanyl to one in four overdose deaths in the U.S in 2018. President Trump claimed that fentanyl was “pouring into the U.S. postal system” through China. As a result, in April the Chinese government announced it would be cracking down on fentanyl-related substances in a move that appears to be targeted at appeasing the Trump administration.

Read More:

The Hill- China blames legalization of marijuana in US, Canada for increase in smuggling U.S. News & World Report- China Calls Marijuana Legalization a ‘Threat’

 

Hong Kong protests continue after suspension of extradition bill

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s top official, announced on June 15th that the controversial extradition bill put forth by the pro-Beijing government will be suspended. The bill would have allowed for suspected criminals to be extradited to mainland China to face the Chinese legal system. Protesters in Hong Kong fear that this bill would erode Hong Kong’s civil rights. Proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary to stop criminals from fleeing to Hong Kong to escape punishment.

Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain in 1997 under the system “one country, two systems.” This principle guarantees Hong Kong certain freedoms, such as the freedom to protest and the right to an independent legal system.

About one million people began peacefully protesting the legislation on June 9, organizing through encrypted social media and apps like Telegram. As the Hong Kong protests continued to grow, police forces used tear gas and brutal force to quell the protesters. 24 people have been arrested during these mostly peaceful protests and are awaiting charges, which has further incensed the Hong Kong people.

Although Chief Executive Lam agreed to suspend the bill and has apologized for what she views as her own failure to communicate about the bill effectively, this is not enough for Hong Kong protesters. They are demanding the bill be totally withdrawn and that Lam resign from her position. She has made no indication that she will bow to these demands, but protesters are adamant that they will continue demonstrating until demands are met.

Update, June 24: According to Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun, Beijing will “not allow” the Hong Kong protests to be brought up at the upcoming G20 meeting in Osaka. He stated: “Hong Kong affairs are Chinese domestic affairs, any foreign force has no right to interfere in this.”

Read More:

South China Morning Post- As it happened: How Hong Kong extradition bill protesters continued siege of police headquarters into Friday night 
CNN – Hong Kong protesters take to the streets again after government apology falls flat

Page Updated: June 21, 2019 Top of Page