Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Trade War Escalates as Trump Proposes 25% Tariffs on Additional Chinese Goods

President Donald Trump announced that he will seek 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods coming into the United States. The tariff was set to be 10%, but the White House is seeking to increase pressure on China to adhere to fairer trade policies.

On July 10 the administration said it would ask for 10% tariffs on thousands of Chinese products. Those imports include consumer goods such as furniture, dog food and baseball gloves to manufacturing materials like chemicals, steel and aluminum.

Before the tariffs can be imposed the proposal must wind through a period of public comment. The US Trade Commission has set the deadline for such comments to be filed by August 30 with hearings scheduled for August 20-23.

It is expected that a 25% tariff will be greeted with even less enthusiasm than the already beleaguered 10% tariff has been subjected too. It is expected that a 25% tariff will seriously escalate the trade war now already in progress.

Back in July China accused the US of bullying and threatened to hit back with tariffs of its own. Investors are afraid that a full-blown trade war could slow down global growth. Many key US business groups have criticized harshly Trump’s tariff policy.

Saudi Prince in US to Discuss Politics and Business

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud at the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has arrived in the United States to conduct a tour to strengthen not only business ties but also political ties with the US.

This is the Crown Prince’s second visit to the US. It begins with a stop at the White House for a meeting with US President Donald Trump. Trump has been working since his inauguration to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.“

Saudi Arabia was the first foreign country Trump visited after taking office, traveling to the kingdom in May and signing memorandums and agreements for defense spending that totaled about $110 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

The US and Saudi Arabia have been allies for 75 years, according to the Brookings Institute. During that time, they have worked “closely together” and have also at times been “estranged,” said Brookings.

Forbes said that the two leaders will most likely be discussing a reinstatement of sanctions against Iran; Saudi’s protracted war in Yemen; and the kingdom’s wish to buy at least one additional nuclear power plant and what role the US government will play in allowing a company like GE to construct it.“

Other issues that may come up would include the disagreement between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt on the other as well as the U.S. decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” said Forbes.

Bloomberg also said that the Crown Prince will be meeting top executives to discuss business deals. He is on schedule to meet the heads of Apple Inc., Google, and:

• Uber
• Executives from the film industry
• Oil Services Companies
• Amazon
• GE
• NYSE

Trump Org Disengaging from Trump SoHo

 

The Trump SoHo, located at the corner of Varick Street and Spring Street in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Beyond My Ken.

Trump SoHo will be losing its designation as a Trump hotel as the Trump Organization withdraws its name-licensing deal from the former Trump signature destination in lower Manhattan.

Donald Trump announced his plan to build Trump SoHo from his position as host of The Apprentice reality television show, to much excited anticipation. But even back in 2007 the project suffered. Wall Street lenders would not fund Trump projects anymore, due to his history of bankruptcies, so the money for the hotel came from a controversial source.

Bayrock Capital was a major sponsor, led by Felix Sater, who had been convicted of overseeing a “pump and dump” stock fraud scam which was connected to Russian criminals. Additional money for the hotel came from foreign sources, mostly from the former Soviet Union who were suspected of money laundering. No charges ever stuck.

After it opened in 2010, the hotel never did well. Managed by the Trump organization from the very beginning, the hotel never recovered from the economic crisis that began in 2008, which left the target population’s discretionary spending in tatters.

In 2014 the hotel was sold in a foreclosure auction to the CIM Group, which was one of its biggest lenders. After Trump’s election business was still stuck. Liberals have been boycotting everything and anything “Trump,” including the noted refusal of basketball legend LeBron James to stay at the hotel last year. This past summer the Koi Restaurant closed its doors at the bottom of the hotel noting that business plummeted after Trump’s election. “Before Trump won,” the restaurant told Money magazine, “we were doing great.”

Trump Brings Business Back from China

Courtesy of Iecs.

Several companies announced business deals worth $250 billion between the United States and China in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s recent Asia tour.

One of the more prominent deals was forged with Boeing. The aerospace giant forged a deal worth $37 billion in sales of planes to the communist behemoth. It was not made clear if this deal is part of a previous announcement from Boeing to sell hundreds of jets to yet unrevealed buyers.

General Electric was also able to forge three separate deals in China valued at a total of $3.5 billion. In addition, Qualcomm was in discussions with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo to purchase about $12 billion worth of semiconductors. Ford Motor Company will be investing $756 million in a joint venture with its Chinese partner Anhui Zotye Automobil to manufacture electric cars. This deal was already announced in August this year.
Some of the deals announced on Thursday have been in negotiations for a while, while other deals are only in the early stages, and the outcomes are far from assured.

Other deals in the works with China and US business include:

• A $83.7 billion investment by the China Energy Investment Corporation Limited in several shale gas and chemical manufacturing projects in West Virginia.
• Chinese state-run oil producer Sinopec has agreed to help develop Alaska’s liquefied natural gas sector. The deal, worth about $43 billion, is between Sinopec, the Bank of China and the China Investment Corp. It is estimated that about 12,000 jobs will be created during the construction of project.
• Chinese importers agreed to buy $5 billion worth of soybeans from US producers during 2018.
• Chinese e-commerce company JD.com said it will purchase $2 billion in food and agriculture products over the coming three years from the US, including $1.2 billion in Montana beef and Smithfield Foods pork.

Congress Suing Trump Over Foreign Gifts and Payments

Official portrait of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Close to 200 lawmakers have filed suit alleging that President Donald Trump is violating what is called the emoluments clause of the US Constitution. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia early on Wednesday, June 14.

The plaintiffs argue that they have standing to sue the President since the clause states that only Congress has the ability to approve payments and gifts the president receives.
“The framers gave Congress a unique role, a unique right and responsibility,” said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut one of the organizers of the lawsuit.

Before taking office Trump bequeathed control of his assets to his two grown sons and a senior executive, but he did not divest from his holdings in any way. Therefore, there is a real possibility that he will gain financial benefit from the profits of the Trump Organization, and that will include foreign governments.

This third such suit also states that no one can discover the full extent to which the Trump Organization benefits from these payments since the president has never released his tax returns.

The first of the two previous lawsuits over the emoluments clause was only a few days after Trump’s inauguration in January; filed by a liberal-funded government watchdog group. Two co-plaintiffs joined the suit later; a restaurant group and two individuals in the hotel industry. The second suit was filed earlier this week by two Democratic lawyers with a similar claim.

The Justice Department and Trump stated that these are baseless lawsuits: the clause does not include normal business transactions such as hotel payments or real estate deals.
Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers said that together with Blumenthal they organized “greatest number of congressional plaintiffs on any lawsuit against a president.” He added that they’re taking the action “not out of any sense of pleasure or partisanship but because President Trump has left us with no other option.”