Monday October 14, 2019

September 2019 News

August 2019 News | October 2019 News

Carrie Lam finally withdraws controversial extradition bill

Trade talks to resume in October

John Bolton asked to resign

China allows tariff exemptions

Carrie Lam finally withdraws controversial extradition bill

This Wednesday, September 4th, Chief Executive Carrie Lam agreed to completely withdraw the extradition bill that set off several months of protests in Hong Kong. Previously, the bill was only suspended.

This move has been met with criticism and skepticism on both sides. Many pro-Beijing hardliners think it is a mistake to make concessions to the protesters. At the same time, many pro-democracy activists feel that this is too little too late. The protests, which originally centered on the controversial bill, have expanded and now include several other demands, including amnesty for protesters, an independent investigation into police activity during the protests, and direct elections.

The withdrawal follows a leaked recording published this Monday where Carrie Lam admits that she wants to resign. On Tuesday, she spoke to reporters and claimed she had not “contemplated to discuss a resignation” with her Beijing seniors.

Update:

Yesterday, the Hong Kong protesters marched to the U.S. consulate, asking President Trump to come to their aid in resolving their issues with the government. The march follows Carrie Lam’s withdrawal of the extradition bill, which has unfortunately been too little to quell the protests. Protesters are insisting that all five of their demands are met, not simply the demand centering on the extradition bill. The protests have shown no sign of slowing down or stopping.

Read More:

BBC News- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to withdraw extradition bill 
South China Morning Post – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces formal withdrawal of the extradition bill and sets up a platform to look into key causes of protest crisis

 

Trade talks to resume in October

In spite of the American tariffs that went into effect this September, the U.S. and China have agreed to meet next month to resume trade talks. One of Beijing’s top economic officials and a key player in the trade war, Liu He, will be traveling to Washington in October. Robert E. Lighthizer’s office announced that deputy-level meetings would precede the talks. In light of this announcement, stocks rose worldwide.

Read More:

The U.S.-China Policy Foundation- Trump announces additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods 
CNN – The United States and China agree to meet in Washington as trade war rages on

 

John Bolton asked to resign

President Trump announced on Tuesday that he had asked for John Bolton’s resignation as national security advisor and that he would be appointing someone “next week” as his replacement.

Bolton himself announced that he had submitted his resignation without prompting and was, in fact, not asked to resign.

The resignation follows serious friction in the White House between Trump and Bolton. Trump reportedly often joked about Bolton’s apparent love of confrontation and desire for war. Bolton and other hard-liners, by contrast, were disturbed by Trump’s apparent soft attitude towards nations like North Korea and Iran.

Last week, Bolton struggled to convince Trump not to sign a peace agreement with the Taliban. In the past few months, the president chose to cancel a planned airstrike on Iran, which reportedly also increased tensions between the two men. Yesterday North Korea signaled willingness to resume talks with the United States before conducting another series of missile launches, furthering the divide between Trump, who has avoided serious criticism of these launches, and Bolton whose criticisms have been much harsher.

Stephen Beigun, Trump’s North Korea envoy, is a potential candidate for Bolton’s position. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is also being considered.

Read More:

NBC News- Trump fires John Bolton as national security advisor 
CNN – Trump fires John Bolton

 

China allows tariff exemptions

China announced that it would be allowing a one-year tariff exemption to specific U.S. goods. The announcement precedes a series of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China that are set to start in a few days.

The tariffs in question were imposed last July in retaliation for higher U.S. levies. Products that qualify for exemption include lubricating oil, grease, and certain cancer medications.

The majority of agricultural goods will not qualify for this exemption and China is unlikely to reduce tariffs on these goods in the future, due to the fact that China’s retaliation strategy relies heavily on targeting agricultural and manufactured goods produced in the states.

Update:

China and the U.S. have both eased trade war restrictions in light of the upcoming trade talks.

President Trump agreed to delay the next round of tariffs until after the trade talks. In response, China has agreed to exempt certain agricultural products from the tariffs, including soybeans and pork. Washington officials have confirmed that China has purchased its first order of American soybeans in several months.

Read More:

South China Morning Post- China grants tariff exemptions to 16 types of US goods ahead of trade war talks
CNBC – China exempts 16 American products from additional tariffs – here’s the full list

Page Updated: September 11, 2019 Top of Page