Kiwis brace for fallout from Trump’s trade war, but Americans already are paying the price

Jeffrey Frankel, Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at Harvard University, is one of several writers to have examined Donald Trump’s trade war with China in recent days and found American consumers are the major victims of the tariffs that are Trump’s major weapon.

In an article headed The Real Cost of Trump’s Tariffs Frankel writes: 

Whereas winners tend to outnumber losers when trade is liberalized, raising tariffs normally has the opposite result. US President Donald Trump appears to have engineered a spectacular example of this: his trade war with China has hurt almost every segment of the US economy, and created very few winners.

The relevance of Trump’s economic blundering for New Zealand is ominously contained in the OECD warning that a US trade war with China could put an anchor on the global economy (see article here). Continue reading “Kiwis brace for fallout from Trump’s trade war, but Americans already are paying the price”

No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit

The ranks of world leaders who will attend the summit in Paris on Wednesday next week to grapple with hate  speech and social media are looking somewhat thin.

Called by PM Jacinda Ardern and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, the conference is billed as seeing “world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate  terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Both leaders say the two nations will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Problem is, few world leaders seem eager to attend. At a recent count there might be five or six including Jordan and Indonesia. Continue reading “No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit”

The US – a nation where intelligence bosses are told they should go back to school

God might have wanted Donald J Trump elected president of the United States of America, if we are to believe Trumps’s  press secretary, Sarah Sanders.   But as the forces are piling up against him, the good lord’s son might rather have him for a sunbeam.

Daily the dissembling, disparaging and convoluted reasoning proceeds. The holy triumvirate of the US intelligence system – the heads of the FBI and CIA and the director of National Intelligence – are among the latest top officials who have been scythed by the president, in this case after they testified on Capitol Hill  that the North Koreans might not be ready to disable their nuclear programmes, that Iran is complying with the international treaty and – worst of all – ISIS might not be utterly defeated.

These three individuals, said the president, were “naïve” and needed to go “back to school”.  The problem,  our New York correspondent writes, is that not only Democrats but a rising number of Republicans think he’s wrong to criticise those top officials – and wrong in fact. Continue reading “The US – a nation where intelligence bosses are told they should go back to school”

Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

PM Jacinda Ardern heads  into a world that has become more challenging, divisive and complex when she jets off to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a round of European calls. Rarely has a NZ PM been confronted by such a confusing global situation.

First, Europe is convulsed by two major challenges, the future of Brexit and the slow-down in the European economy which has given nationalists fresh ammunition.

Second, China and the US are inching towards an  economic and strategic confrontation.

At home US President Donald Trump is facing incoming tides of confusion and uncertainty.  The New York Times has put the focus on his five meetings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin of which no substantial record exists. Continue reading “Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed”

Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe

Hard on the heels of our previous post about political globe-trotting, let the record show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to visit the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.

She’s a tyro in global economics, sure, but the conference should be worthwhile for her,  particularly  given   its focus this year on aspects of globalisation and their consequences.  Moreover, she will move among the major global economic and foreign policy players, including (probably) President Donald Trump.

Her attendance would also reinforce her policy platform against some of the less global trade-minded and economically illiterate members of the Coalition government. Continue reading “Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe”

The collateral damage from Trump’s trade wars includes 1400 American workers at GM

Our New York correspondent reports that President Trump has told GM (General Motors) it had “better get back [to Ohio] soon” after the company said it will shut five factories in the US and Canada and eliminate about 14,000 jobs, more than 10% of its North American work force.

The churlish Trump has also threatened to cut off the company’s supply of government subsidies.

He’s obviously rankled that the GM decision may remind voters of his election promises to regenerate the auto industry.  It will expose, too, the economic folly of his trade warring.

GM says the decision is a response to a slowdown in new-car sales, as consumers prefer sport-utility vehicles and smaller trucks in response to low gasoline prices

It will drop several models while moving to compact cars and a plug-in hybrid, likely overturning -parts supply chains and portending big shifts in auto manufacturing strategies and the US industrial economy. Continue reading “The collateral damage from Trump’s trade wars includes 1400 American workers at GM”

Why the Democrats should brace for some serious soul-searching

Washington Correspondent:  Democrats hoping for decisive victories in the US mid-term congressional elections next Tuesday must be increasingly nervous. Polling guru Nate Silver still gives the Democratic party a six in seven chance of regaining control of the House of Representatives but he now says it would take a systematic opinion polling error (ie, most pollsters making the same mistakes) for them to win back the United States Senate.  And despite his excellent record, he still missed the Trump surge in 2016.

This is quite a change from the optimism of mid-year.  If the Democratic Party falls short of expectations, there will need to be some serious soul-searching.  Issues to consider might include:

Continue reading “Why the Democrats should brace for some serious soul-searching”