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Trade News Archive: 14 April - 20 April
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The AmericanEconomicAlert.org News Article Rating System
As well as providing fresh news reports every day, AmericanEconomicAlert.org offers a uniques news rating system. Each news item below has been given a rating from 1 to 5 stars, depending on its importance and relevance to U.S. international economic and trade policy.
 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014
Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China
Reuters

• Comment: "The Asia "pivot" - as the White House initially dubbed it - represented a strategy to refocus on the region's dynamic economies as the United States disentangled itself from costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
White House announces itinerary for Obama’s Asia trip
Washington Post

• Comment: "The White House had hoped to be able to announce major progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation Pacific free trade pact that stands at the core of the Obama administration's bid to ramp up U.S. economic engagement in the region. But U.S. and Japanese negotiators failed to make a breakthough during two days of talks that concluded in Washington, D.C. on Friday."
Ford urges crackdown on currency manipulation
Detroit News

• Comment: "We're being very clear on our currency demands, and we're working very closely with the administration on that because I think an agreement without strong currency language isn't going to work," Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. told reporters on the sidelines of the New York International Auto Show. "It won't be a true trade agreement if currency certainty isn't in there."

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Treasury Department Again Lets China Off Hook On Currency
Campaign for America's Future

• Comment: "The Treasury Department released its “Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies” this week, and went to great lengths to find a way not to label China as a currency manipulator."
Workers Continue to Strike at Nike and Adidas Supplier in Southern China
Businessweek

• Comment: "But with suppliers under increasing pressure to keep costs low as migrant worker wages rise 14 percent annually, cutting corners by not fully funding social welfare benefits has become more routine. “Loopholes in the social insurance system have long been a hidden problem, and the practice of making less than full payments is common among manufacturers,” as English-language newspaper China Daily noted on Thursday."
Growth Rose 7.4% in First Quarter, China Reports
New York Times

• Comment: "Weak exports and a plunge in housing starts, down 27.2 percent from the first quarter of last year, were powerful brakes on growth in the first quarter. A credit squeeze has hurt many developers, as well as smaller exporters that struggle to borrow enough money to finance purchases of raw materials and sales of finished goods."
Beijing's Facts, and Fictions
New York Times

• Comment: "Corrupt officials themselves don’t even trust the system. Many have become “naked officials,” a term to describe corrupt leaders whose spouses, children or relatives emigrate overseas. It’s interesting to note that officials who flee to foreign countries with illicit gains tend to be lower in seniority than ever before: Ill-gotten wealth is expanding to all levels of the government."
Jobless Claims, Factory Data Put Some Shine on Economy
New York Times

• Comment: "A reading above zero indicates expansion in the region's manufacturing, which covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. There was a surge in new orders and shipments. Factory employment also increased and workers put in more hours than they did in March."
Study Chides U.S. Over Loan Default by Solar Business
New York Times

• Comment: "Long before the Energy Department lost $68 million on Abound Solar, a manufacturer that went bankrupt two years ago, it should have known that the company’s chance of repaying the loan it had guaranteed was deteriorating, according to a report by the department’s inspector general."
For China and Japan, the Economic Challenges Ahead Are Similar
New York Times

• Comment: "What is more, analysts say, both Beijing and Tokyo now have to move beyond simply pump-priming their economies with cheap money, as they did after the global financial crisis. They now face the tougher challenge of making their economies and business environments more efficient and competitive."
How GE Is Manufacturing the Third Industrial Revolution
USA Today

• Comment: "At this year’s CES, the Consumer Electronics Association’s chief economist and director Shawn DuBravac touched on this subject in a keynote speech. Whereas previous industrial revolutions focused on mass production, he claimed, this one is based in mass customization: From 3D printing to wearable tech, today’s nascent technologies allow unprecedented levels of personal control."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies
Department of the Treasury

• Comment: "This report therefore highlights the need for concerted progress on global rebalancing, including boosting domestic demand in surplus countries and greater exchange rate flexibility, most notably in China. It also emphasizes the need for greater transparency on exchange rate management, much less official intervention in foreign exchange markets, and stronger restraints over actual and verbal intervention."
Industrial Output Climbs, and New-Home Starts Tick Up
New York Times

• Comment: "Output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7 percent last month after an upwardly revised gain of 1.2 percent in February, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday."
U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government
Reuters

• Comment: "However, Biswal said that while Indian leaders had targeted $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over five years to close gaps preventing growth in manufacturing, policies still inhibited foreign investment. She said India ranked a poor 134 out of 189 countries as a place to invest and start a business."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Massive China Shoe Factory Strike Rolls on as Offer Falls Flat
Washington Free Beacon

• Comment: "The industrial unrest at Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), now stretching to around ten days and sparking sporadic scuffles with police, has centered on issues including unpaid social insurance, improper labor contracts and low wages. Workers have demanded improved social insurance payments, a pay rise and more equitable contracts."
Empire Manufacturing Misses By Most In 15 Months, Drops To 2014 Lows
Zero Hedge

• Comment: "For the 8th month of the last 9, the Empire Manufacturing missed expectations. Tumbling to its lowest since December (despite the apparent let-up in the conventional scapegoat for every data miss in the past quarter: "harsh weather"), this is the biggest miss since Jan 2013."
Chinese Yuan (And Copper) Tumbles As Money Supply Growth Plunges To 13-Year Lows
Zero Hedge

• Comment: "In China, the PBOC withdrew 172bn Yuan (highest since Feb 2013) and pushed the currency back towards its weakest since Feb (which is the weakest since the PBOC began its erstwhile carry-killing-policy."

Monday, April 14, 2014
Senators Sessions, Shelby urge protection of U.S. steel industry from potential rebar 'dumping' from Mexico and Turkey
Alabama.com

• Comment: "U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, and U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, joined 29 other senators in signing a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that asked the Commerce Department consider the interests of the U.S. steel industry as it investigates dumping allegations of reinforced bar, or “rebar,” from Turkey and Mexico."
US Senators Urge Full Enforcement on Steel Imports
ABC News

• Comment: "In a letter sent Wednesday, the senators urged the Department of Commerce to consider the impact of cheaper imports on U.S. steel companies when it issues preliminary rulings later this month. Companies in Mexico and Turkey could be subject to duties on the steel reinforcing bar, which is known as steel rebar and is used to reinforce concrete, if found in violation."
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