Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, has rejoined the country’s medical register and will begin working one shift a week, as the country grapples with a growing COVID-19 outbreak.
The Health Service Executive (HSE), the country’s health and social service provider, appealed to all non-working healthcare professionals on March 17 to “be on call for Ireland,” amid a rising demand for health services. Professionals from all healthcare disciplines have been asked to register in case the government needs additional staff to work in either new or pre-existing medical facilities. Retired healthcare providers as well as medical students were also encouraged to sign up. Within three days of the HSE’s announcement, 50, 000 former healthcare professional registered, including Ireland’s leader.
Varadkar will assist in conducting phone assessments of people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, joining his parents, sisters and partner who all work for health services.
Varadkar worked as a junior doctor in Dublin for seven years before turning to politics. In 2013, he was taken off the medical register a year before he was appointed Ireland’s Minister for Health.
Ireland has at least 4, 994 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 158 people have died. The country has been under lockdown since March 28 and will remain so until April 19. Citizens can only leave home for essential work, to buy necessary supplies, to exercise or care for the vulnerable. Anyone who violates lockdown can be fined €2,500 ($2696) and jailed for six months.
The Chinese government moved Tuesday to strip credentials from American reporters working for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, in a tit-for-tat exchange with the U.S. that has escalated in recent weeks. Beijing also demanded those outlets, as well as TIME and Voice of America, hand over details about personnel and operations.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed Americans working for the three U.S. newspapers whose credentials expire at the end of the year to turn in their press passes within 10 days. Those reporters would then be barred from reporting inside China, as well as in China’s semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The ministry also demanded information “in written form” about staff, operations, finances and real estate of the five American news organizations, including TIME, in China, Hong Kong and Macau.
The Chinese government said that the move to send reporters out of the country was taken in response to the U.S. not allowing more Chinese nationals working for state-run media to work in the U.S. On March 2, the Trump administration put a cap on the number of Chinese nationals allowed to be employed by five Chinese state-run news outlets operating inside the U.S. That action by the U.S. followed China’s decision to expel three reporters from the Wall Street Journal following the publication of an opinion article critical of the Chinese government. China’s “measures are entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the U.S.,” the ministry wrote in a statement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s announcement “unfortunate,” adding in remarks to the press Tuesday that he hopes “they will reconsider.” Pompeo defended the State Department’s actions to limit the staff of Chinese state-run media in the U.S. “The individuals that we identified a few weeks back were not media,” Pompeo said, “but were part of Chinese propaganda outlets.”
If the Chinese Communist Party follows through with the actions, it would mark the most sweeping press expulsions from China since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. The moves were seen by free press advocates and news organizations as a way to intimidate reporters and chill news gathering operations inside China, which is still managing the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic that began there late last year.
Twitter verified an account for a fake Republican Rhode Island congressional candidate named Andrew Walz that was actually run by a teenager, CNN Business first reported on Friday. The account has since been permanently suspended in violation of Twitter’s rules, a spokesperson confirmed to TIME.
The 17-year-old high school student — who agreed to speak with CNN Business on the condition that his name not be used — reportedly lives in upstate New York. He told CNN Business he made a website for the fake candidate in “around 20 minutes” and the Twitter account in “maybe five minutes.” He said he got the fake candidate’s picture from a website called This Person Does Not Exist, which uses machine learning to generate realistic yet fake faces.
Why’d he do it? Because he was “bored” and wanted to test Twitter’s “election integrity efforts,” CNN Business reports.
The teen told CNN Business that he then submitted both the Twitter account and website to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that bills itself as a “digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.” Twitter has partnered with Ballotpedia to help identify political candidates to verify as the 2020 election swiftly approaches. Ballotpedia sends Twitter a list of candidates once a week to help with their verification process, and Twitter also reportedly investigates each candidate.
The fake candidate Andrew Walz was both listed on Ballotpedia and verified on Twitter, per CNN Business. The teen reportedly said that neither Twitter nor Ballotpedia asked for documentation to prove the candidate was real.
“We’ve put into place a rigorous process to ensure that, through our partnership with Ballotpedia, we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “Sometimes, this thorough process can cause a short delay between when candidates qualified for the primary ballot and when candidates are verified.”
“Unfortunately, an individual found loopholes in our process by submitting a fake candidate and a fake account for verification,” she continued. “As soon as we discovered this, we took action on the account.” Creating a fake candidate account violates Twitter’s rules, and the account has been permanently suspended, per the spokesperson.
While Ballotpedia did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment Geoff Pallay, Ballotpedia’s editor in chief, issued a response to CNN Business that said, “Ballotpedia definitely made a mistake here.”
CNN Business reports that Pallay explained how the candidate was approved for the site without having filed official campaign documents. “Many candidates generate campaign activities, such as establishing an online presence, far in advance of their states’ filing deadlines. Because of that, we have observed a category of ‘declared candidate’ versus an ‘officially filed candidate,’” Pallay reportedly said. He added that Ballotpedia had been sending Twitter a list of candidates who had both declared and officially filed without distinguishing the difference, and Ballotpedia will make that distinction in the future, per CNN Business.
While Walz’s Ballotpedia page still exists, it now only includes a statement that says, “Ballotpedia was notified on Feb. 27, 2020, at 12:29 p.m. EST that Andrew Walz was not a legitimate candidate for office… Upon investigating this claim, we removed his entry from our database on Feb. 28, 2020. We have updated our declared candidate policy as a result of this situation.”
Andrew Walz calls himself a “proven business leader” and a “passionate advocate for students.” Walz, a Republican from Rhode Island, is running for Congress with the tagline, “Let’s make change in Washington together,” or so his Twitter account claimed. Earlier this month, Walz’s account received a coveted blue checkmark from Twitter as part of the company’s broader push to verify the authenticity of many Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates currently running for office. Twitter has framed this effort as key to helping Americans find reliable information about politicians in the leadup to the 2020 election. But there’s just one problem: Walz does not exist. The candidate is the creation of a 17-year-old high school student from upstate New York. The student, who CNN Business spoke to with the permission of his parents and has agreed not to name, said he was “bored” over the holidays and created the fake account to test Twitter’s election integrity efforts. The blue checkmark is a hallmark of Twitter and one that was later copied by Facebook. It is often given to prominent accounts belonging to journalists, politicians, government agencies and businesses. The feature is central to Twitter’s goal of helping users find reliable information on the platform, often from verified newsmakers. The fact that a teenager using next to no resources was able to quickly create a fake candidate in his free time and get it verified by Twitter raises questions about the company’s preparedness for handling how the 2020 elections will play out on its platform. Read more about how this teen fooled Twitter: https://cnn.it/32CfgsE Producers: Richa Naik & Craig Waxman Senior Producer: Logan Whiteside #CNN#Twitter#Disinformation CNN Business brings you the latest business news about the world’s top companies and the global markets, finance, tech, and the innovations driving us forward. Interested in more of CNN Business? Subscribe to our channel!: https://tinyurl.com/qlsvmdy More of CNN Business Facebook: https://bit.ly/2HZvzX0 Twitter: https://bit.ly/2uByq5F Instagram: https://bit.ly/2PKtpPF#CNN#Business
Topline: Friday marks Britain’s last day as a full member of the European Union, but while Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “dawn of a new era” not much will change until London and Brussels can hash out a deal.
Britons will no longer be EU citizens from 11 p.m. local time but will continue to enjoy many of the same rights, and trade will continue to flow between the U.K. and the EU.
Johnson will make a televised speech to mark Brexit day at 10 p.m. London time.
New 50-pence coins commemorating Brexit will enter circulation. They were likely made from the remains of one million coins marking the previous October 31, 2019, Brexit date that were melted down after the U.K. missed the prior deadline in October.
Over the next 11 months:
Britain will hold talks with potential trading partners to strike new deals with the United States, Commonwealth nations like Australia and Canada, and the EU, which is the U.K.’s biggest trading partner.
Europe will also have to contend with a new normal, and France could lead those efforts. With the U.K.’s departure, the EU loses one of its biggest military powers and 15% of its economy. Britain’s net contribution to the EU in 2018 was £11 billion.
Many questions remain unanswered, including Britain’s policy on immigration and security arrangements with the EU.
What to watch for: Friday is significant, but it is symbolic more than anything. Britain now enters an 11-month transition period, where it will still abide by EU rules, laws and regulations, and continue its payments into the world’s largest trading bloc. But it won’t have any representation as British lawmakers represented in the European parliament said their official goodbyes this week. Britain will no longer have a U.K. commissioner in Brussels, or judges in the European Court of Justice. December 31, 2020, is the date from which the U.K. will really be left to its own devices, leave the customs union and single market.
Crucial quote: Johnson will say in a speech on Friday: “Our job as the government—my job—is to bring this country together and take us forward. . . . And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. . . . It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”
Key background: After 47 years as a key part of the EU, Britain is the first country to leave after voting 52% to 48% in favor of exit in 2016. Campaigners who led the charge for Britain to leave the EU are hailing the arrival of Brexit day. “Yes, we did it,” reads the front page of right-wing newspaper the Daily Express. But the pro-remain The Guardian brands Britain as “small island” making a big gamble on its front page. Whichever way you slice it, the Brexit process has been arduous and divisive.
Ex-prime minister David Cameron announced he was in favor of a referendum in 2013, with the intervening years marked by rounds of campaigning, negotiations, failed talks, three prime ministers, two general elections, two blown leave deadlines and a starkly divided—and exasperated—Britain. Analysts, experts and lawmakers are deeply split on what the economic impact of Brexit will be, and it largely hangs on the trade deals that Johnson can strike.
Surprising fact: 350,000 Britons have applied to become a citizen of an EU country since the 2016 referendum.
I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.
Isabel dos Santos amassed an empire worth more than $2 billion as the daughter of Angola’s former longtime president. Now it looks like that empire is beginning to crumble.
On Wednesday—as the Attorney General of Angola held a press conference to provisionally charge Isabel dos Santos with embezzlement and money laundering, according to the BBC—a bank in Portugal where she has been a significant shareholder issued a statement saying that Dos Santos’ stake is being sold.
EuroBic, a small privately held bank in Lisbon in which Dos Santos has owned a 42.5% stake, issued a statement on Monday that it was severing its business relationship with Dos Santos and the entities related to her. On Wednesday EuroBic announced that Dos Santos had decided to sell her stake in the bank, which has about $8 billion in assets. Forbes recently valued Dos Santos’ 42.5% stake at around $200 million.
Dos Santos has come under intense scrutiny this past week after a number of media outlets, including the New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian, published articles based on the “Luanda Leaks”—a cache of some 700,000 documents related to Dos Santos’ allegedly corrupt business dealings that were released to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Dos Santos was appointed to head Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol, in 2016, when her father was still president of the country. (He retired in 2017 after ruling Angola for 38 years.)
According to an article inThe Guardian, while Dos Santos was heading up Sonangol, she allegedly arranged for a transfer of $57 million on one day in November 2017 from Sonangol’s bank account to a Dubai company, Matter Business Solutions, run by Paula Oliveira, a woman who The Guardian says is apparently a close friend of Dos Santos’.
It turns out that the Sonangol bank account from which the funds were transferred was a EuroBic account. In its statement severing ties with Dos Santos, EuroBic also said that the payments ordered by Sonangol to Matter Business Solutions “respected the legal and regulatory procedures formally applicable . . . between this bank and Sonangol, namely those related to the prevention of money laundering.”
The BBC is reporting that an employee of EuroBic who managed the Sonangol account, Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, 45, was found dead in Lisbon on Wednesday. A police source told the BBC that “everything points to suicide.”
Dos Santos issued a statement on Thursday saying, “The allegations which have been made against me over the last few days are extremely misleading and untrue,” and adding that “I am a private businesswoman who has spent 20 years building successful companies from the ground up,” and that “I have always operated within the law and all my transactions have been approved by lawyers, bankers, auditors and regulators.”
I’m a San Francisco-based Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on wealth. I edit mostly, but also write about how the richest get wealthy and how they spend their time and their money. My colleague Luisa Kroll at Forbes in New York and I oversee the massive reporting effort that goes into Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaires List and the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. The former gets me to use my rusty Spanish and Portuguese. In 2014, I won an Overseas Press Club award for an article I wrote about Saudi Arabian billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; I also won a Gerald Loeb Award with co-author Rafael Marques de Morais for an article we wrote about Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angola’s President. Over 20 years my Forbes reporting has taken me to 17 countries on four continents, from the slums of Manila to palaces in Saudi Arabia and Mexico’s presidential residence. Follow me on Twitter @KerryDolan My email: kdolan[at]forbes[dot] com Tips and story ideas welcome.
The local government in Berlin has agreed to freeze rents in the German capital for five years as the city is battling with skyrocketing housing prices.
The Berlin Senate’s majority, which is composed by the Social Democrats, Greens and the Left party, approved the decision last week after months of discussions.
The plans will be sent to parliament this month, where they are expected to be approved and to take effect in January 2020. They also include measures to cap subletting contracts.
“We’re entering new territory,” said Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller. “Others talk about it, but we’re actually doing it.”
The clamp down on rent rise, one of the most extreme decisions taken by a Western capital in recent times, is being followed with close interest by other world cities.
The plan was initially proposed by the Left party. Katrin Lompscher, the party’s head of urban development and housing, said the intention was to “ease the burden” on tenants after a property boom which saw rents doubling over the last 10 years.
German house-builders’ and property companies’ shares were hit hard on October 21st. Deutsche Wohnen, Berlin’s largest private landowner, saw its shares fall by 4.6%. Shares of Vonovia SE, the largest property company in the country, fell as much as 1.6%.
I am a business reporter focusing on real estate, retail and technology. I am currently Chief Investigative Reporter at Property Week, where I lead the magazine’s investigations unit. I have been nominated as Best Print Writer at the BSME Awards in 2019 and 2018 and as Best Journalist – Infrastructure, Development and Construction at the British Journalism Awards in 2017. Prior to that, I worked as a freelance for a number of publications across the U.K., France and Italy including The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and La Repubblica. I hold an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University of London and an MA in French literature from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
Berlin freezes rent rises for five years in a bid to stop the citys gentrification� Daily Mail Online Read more Any violation of policy, community guidelines, copyright law or business cooperation please contact directly by mail us.hotnews20 at gmail.com
Last week’s announcement by Trump of more tariffs coming for everything shipped to the U.S. from China and Monday’s move by Beijing to allow for a weaker yuan begins Act III in the trade war.
Here’s the plot twist:
Treasury just hit China with currency manipulator status after market hours on Monday. It came at a time when nothing was trading. Investors were stuck in the Twilight Zone. Tuesday morning is going to be a madhouse rush for “sell China” orders by the algos. Wait for it.
As one hedge fund manager told me, “we’ve just thrown gasoline on the fire.”
Currency manipulator status gives Beijing less wiggle room because if they weaken the yuan to make up for tariffs, tariffs will likely go up to compensate.
We are in unchartered waters. At risk is what amounts to sanctions on key U.S. commodities like soybeans and pork by the Chinese government, and political risk involving Hong Kong as civil unrest continues there, putting its special trade status in the crosshairs of a China-bashing American Congress.
In isolation, a 10% tariff on $300 billion in combination with a 10% yuan depreciation would be functionally equivalent to Chinese households writing a check for $30 billion to the U.S. Treasury. “Trump may not have gotten Mexico to pay for its border wall, but he is getting China to pay (the government) for its tariff wall,” says China bear Brian McCarthy, chief strategist for Macrolens, a big picture investment research firm.
Currency manipulator status makes the trade war worse for China.
Meaningful and enduring negative feedback about China will lead to extreme financial market volatility in Asia, especially in China’s mainland equity market where a gambler’s approach to trading by the dominant retailer investor class there might cash out. And why not? China’s mainland stock indexes are up over 20% this year and this may be seen as the time to take money off the table.
Short sellers shouldn’t discount the possibility of the People’s Bank of China pumping money into the A-shares this week.
It’s too early to start expecting widespread defaults on China’s corporate dollar-denominated debt (which some firms estimate to be around $800 billion). A default would deal a harsh blow to foreign investors who have been big buyers of Chinese bonds as that market opens up and joins the major indexes.
The transmission mechanism from yuan devaluation to global securities is expressed more obviously through Europe and other emerging markets, especially those heavily linked to China — such as South Korea and Brazil. Both currencies had an ugly looking chart on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Fed can potentially isolate the U.S. economy from any economic fallout by cutting rates. Though this opens up a whole other can of worms, namely rates sinking to zero in the event of a recession.
The yuan settled at 7.05 to the dollar today after the central bank set the daily rate at just over 6.9 to the dollar. The currency is allowed to trade within 4% of that daily fixed rate. The yuan is now at its weakest level in over 10 years.
“These moves represent a significant escalation in the trade war,” says Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for RSM, a global financial advisory firm.
“There is a specific logic and order of operations with respect to the tit-for tat retaliation likely to play out that will not result in longer-term inflation, but will instead create conditions for deflation and negative nominal interest rates along the U.S. maturity spectrum if a longer-term trade compromise cannot be reached,” he says.
I’ve spent 20 years as a reporter for the best in the business, including as a Brazil-based staffer for WSJ. Since 2011, I focus on business and investing in the big emerging markets exclusively for Forbes. My work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Nation, Salon and USA Today. Occasional BBC guest. Former holder of the FINRA Series 7 and 66. Doesn’t follow the herd.
Facebook, which has been under fire for not doing enough to combat misinformation, said Thursday that it took down hundreds of fake accounts that had ties to the government of Saudi Arabia and that posed as news outlets and criticized rival countries.
The social media giant has previously announced takedowns of fake accounts associated with other countries, such as Russia. But the company typically stops short of directly linking fake accounts to a government.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found links to individuals associated with the government of Saudi Arabia,” Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a blog post.One of the fake accounts tied to Saudi Arabia posted about Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman kissing the head of a wounded soldier
The government of Saudi Arabia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Overall, Facebook pulled down 217 Facebook accounts, 144 Facebook Pages, five Facebook Groups and 31 Instagram accounts it said were tied to Saudi Arabia. These accounts spent $108,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads while raking up more followers, Facebook said. About 1.4 million accounts followed at least one of these Facebook Pages.
The social network removed these accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which means they misled others about who they were and the purpose behind the account.
Separately, Facebook also found another network of fake accounts tied to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, but it didn’t specify government involvement in those cases. The social network removed 259 Facebook accounts, 102 Facebook Pages, five Facebook Groups, four Facebook Events and 17 Instagram accounts associated with those two countries.
“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge,” Gleicher said.
Accusing Beijing of “reneging” on commitments it made in earlier talks, the nation’s top trade negotiator said Monday that the Trump administration will increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Friday, a sharp escalation in a yearlong trade dispute.
At the same time, a Chinese trade delegation is expected to arrive in Washington to resume negotiations on Thursday, a day later than originally planned.
At a briefing with reporters, neither U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer nor Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered details of China’s alleged backsliding, and there was no immediate response from Beijing.
Mnuchin said Trump officials learned over the weekend that Chinese officials “were trying to go back on some of the language” that had been negotiated in 10 earlier rounds of talks.
The U.S. officials said that at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday, the administration will raise the tariffs from 10% to 25%. President Donald Trump had announced those plans via Twitter on Sunday, expressing frustration with the pace of negotiations. The hit list includes such varied products as baseball gloves, vacuum cleaners and burglar alarms.
The reiteration Monday of the president’s threat from high-level Trump officials reinforced the administration’s determination to put Beijing on the defensive.
By threatening to raise taxes on Chinese imports, Trump is throwing down a challenge to Beijing: Agree to sweeping changes in China’s government-dominated economic model — or suffer the consequences.
The unexpected ultimatum shook up financial markets, which had expected the world’s two biggest economies to resolve a yearlong standoff over trade, perhaps by the end of the week.
“It’s a significant change in the president’s tone,” said Timothy Keeler, a partner at the law firm Mayer Brown and former chief of staff for the U.S. Trade Representative office. “It certainly increases the possibility that you’ll have no deal.”
For weeks, Trump administration officials had been suggesting that the U.S. and Chinese negotiators were making steady progress.
Suddenly on Sunday, Trump said he had lost patience: “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he tweeted.
Trump also said he planned “shortly” to slap 25% tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese products, covering everything China ships to the United States.
The two countries are engaged in high-stakes commercial combat over China’s aggressive push to establish Chinese companies as world leaders in cutting-edge fields such as robotics and electric vehicles.
The United States accuses Beijing of predatory practices, including hacking into U.S. companies’ computers to steal trade secrets, forcing foreign firms to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market and unfairly subsidizing Chinese firms at the expense of foreign competitors.
The Trump administration has imposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports and 25% tariffs on another $50 billion. The Chinese have retaliated by targeting $110 billion in U.S. imports.
Global stock markets sank Monday on Trump’s tweetstorm. But shares in the United States regained some of the lost ground on news that Chinese officials were planning to go ahead with this week’s meetings in Washington. Still, the Chinese government did not provide details on exactly when talks would resume and who would be on China’s negotiating team.
U.S. officials said they expected that China’s delegation would be led again by Vice Premier Liu He, a confidante of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Beijing is wrestling with an internal conflict: It is eager to end a trade fight that has battered Chinese exporters, but it doesn’t want to look like it’s bowing to the Trump administration’s demands for far-reaching concessions.
Trump’s threat makes going ahead with talks “very difficult politically” for Xi’s government, said Jake Parker, vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council. He said the Chinese public might “view this as a capitulation” if Beijing reached an agreement before Trump’s Friday deadline.
The conflict is testing how far Beijing is willing to go in changing a state-led economic model it sees as the path to prosperity and global influence — and how much power Washington will have to enforce any agreement.
Beijing is willing to change industrial plans that provoke foreign opposition but wants to preserve the ruling Communist Party’s dominant role in directing economic development, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Chinese officials have said they are willing to let foreign companies participate in plans that call for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other technologies. But they have yet to release details, and it is unclear whether the concessions will satisfy Trump.
Xi is “adamant about party-state control over major sectors of the economy,” Lam said. “If they give this up, then China in effect ceases to be a socialist country.”
Beijing agreed early on to narrow its trade surplus with the United States — a staggering $379 billion last year — by purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.
At the same time, Xi’s government has announced a steady drumbeat of promises to open markets — in businesses that include auto manufacturing and banking. But none of the moves directly addresses American complaints.
The negotiators are also looking for a way to hold Beijing to any commitments it makes. The Trump administration wants to keep tariffs on Chinese imports to maintain leverage over Beijing.
“Trump wants a certain amount of tariffs to remain in place just in case the Chinese don’t honor their promises,” Lam said. “The Chinese refuse to give the Americans the right to penalize them.”
The Chinese are also skittish about allowing Washington to dictate changes to industrial policy and subsidies, said Raoul Leering, a trade specialist for Dutch bank ING. They see that as “having another country decide your economic policy.”
Trump also seems to be calculating that Xi needs a deal more than he does. The Chinese economy is decelerating. “Trump believes he can bully the Chinese,” Lam said. “Trump realizes the Chinese economy is facing a rough patch, and Xi Jinping is under pressure from his own people.”
But Trump also has an incentive to reach a deal. The trade war is creating uncertainty for businesses trying to decide where to buy supplies, locate factories and make investments. And it’s been weighing on a strong U.S. stock market, which the president likes to tout as evidence that his economic policies are working.
The Philippines is beginning to pay the price for President Rodrigo Duterte’s South China Sea policy flip-flops in the form of repeated challenges to the country’s sovereignty by Beijing.
China considers the South China Sea its own sea, all of it. And it seems to be prepared to do whatever it takes to assert control over every tiny island, natural and artificial, in it — as evidenced by the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels near a Philippines-administered island in the South China Sea in recent weeks.
That’s certainly bad news for neighboring countries — like the Philippines — which have competing claims in these territories. And bad news for the future of the economic integration of the region, as it raises geopolitical risks that could eventually turn away foreign investments.
Philippines Shares Have Underperformed Emerging Markets
Philippines External Debt
The trouble is that Manila doesn’t have a clear and consistent policy to deal with China’s aggression, as evidenced by several flip-flops in Duterte’s administration. Why? Perhaps out of fear of war or the appeal of the Chinese money that is expected to finance his ambitious infrastructure projects.
Back in April of 2018, President Duterte backed off his earlier decision to raise the Philippine flag in disputed islands, following Beijing’s “friendly” advice.
Manila’s 2018 flip flop came two years after the 2016 policy flip-flop. Back then, the Philippines and its close ally, the U.S., won an international arbitration ruling that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea. What did Duterte do? Rather than teaming up with the US to enforce the ruling, he walked the other way. He sided with Beijing on the dispute, and sought a “divorce” from the U.S.
Apparently, Beijing had offered Manila a couple of promises, as was discussed in previous pieces here. Like the promise to finance Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” initiative, and the promise of peace and a partnership for prosperity.
Instead, Philippines is starting to pay the cost for President Duterte’s flip-flops. For example, China continues to assert its control over Thitu island, also known as Pag-asa island in the Philippines, according to a CNN report. And that renews the threat of war between the two nations.
Beijing’s recent move comes shortly after America had assured the Philippines that it would come to that nation’s defense if it comes under attack in the South China Sea. That’s according to reports in early March, when Washington reaffirmed a defense code that Manila had sought to revise.
But apparently Washington assurances haven’t been sufficient to deter China’s aggression in the South China Sea.
Now, President Duterte is threatening to send his troops on a “suicide mission” if Beijing doesn’t “lay off” a Manila-occupied island in the South China Sea.
Another policy flip-flop? Hard to say.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is beginning to suffer consequences of the flow of Chinese money into the country, as was discussed in a previous piece here.
Gallery: Midas List 2019: Top China Investors
My recent book The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership is published by AMACOM, and can be found here.