China and US resolving trade war, and ‘China needs NZ’

The trade war between the US and China seems to have been moderated after a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

Reuters: U.S., China agree trade war ceasefire after Trump, Xi summit

China and the United States agreed to a ceasefire in their bitter trade war on Saturday after high-stakes talks in Argentina between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including no escalated tariffs on January 1.

Trump will leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House said in a statement.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” it said.

“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”

The two presidents also agreed to have talks on other contentious issues such as on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

Meanwhile here in New Zealand, on Q+A last night, ‘Beijing-based economist Rodney Wigram explains why China needs New Zealand’:



  1. Americans who are used to paying so much less for so many things (as we are; I remember someone in the 90s paying $6000 for a computer) will be as mad as wasps when the prices rise because of Trump’s big fat ego.

  2. The Consultant

     /  December 3, 2018

    Economic coercion PRC-style:

    – 2010-2012: the PRC halted rare earth exports to Japan (at the time, China accounted for 97 per cent of world production) over a specific incident related to the Japan/PRC dispute over the Senkaku islands.

    – The PRC’s measures against Norway (concentrated on salmon exports) over 2010-2016 after the (private) Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo,

    – The PRC’s use of additional quarantine controls on the Philippines from 2012 to 2016, throttling agricultural exports (especially bananas), over the Philippines defence of its South China Seas claims, including those later upheld under the Law of the Sea by an international tribunal.

    – The PRC’s attempt to punish Mongolia for hosting a 2016 visit by the Dalai Lama,
    pressure around the 2016 Taiwan elections, in which the PRC objected to the winning party and acted to cut back tourist numbers.

    – The current pressure being exerted on Australia, via warnings to overseas students (and, although this study doesn’t mention them, delays in clearance of eg wine imports from Australia).

    All nations attempt to coerce countries to do what they want and we’ve seen the USA do that on issues like Iran and North Korea – but those are on big issues like development of missile and nuclear technology, so I don’t judge China poorly for things like pressuring South Korea over its deployment of the THAAD missile defence system.

    But the above list is different: normal countries don’t try to punish others economically because of things like awards and receptions.

    • Gezza

       /  December 3, 2018

      To be fair though, China is only new at the game & hasn’t had the economic might to mount this kind of warfare for at least century. The US has had decades of experience. They have to start somewhere. The very recent incident where the US sent a warship to threaten one of their new island military outposts & the Chinese navy’s response is an ominous sign. People in the West tend to forget what the US response is to Chinese warships doing the equivalent thing to their worlwide military outposts. The US is being challenged because it has too much power & believes, under Trump, in America First, Everywhere. This is not a good thing because Trump more than any other recent President has demonstrated US interests are established thru military & corporate ventures, & they are given priority over anybody else’s when they decide to do that. Facing down dangerous regimes is something they only do when it suits them. Others are their friends.

    • Mark

       /  December 3, 2018

      “over the Philippines defence of its South China Seas claims,”

      Perfectly normal response – this is a conflicting territorial claim mind you.

      Same with this example:
      “over a specific incident related to the Japan/PRC dispute over the Senkaku islands.”
      Again, not unreasonable to halt rare earth exports to a country which is claiming part of your territory – after all this is the sort of thing that countries go to war over.

      “The PRC’s measures against Norway (concentrated on salmon exports) over 2010-2016 after the (private) Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo”

      Consider this hypothetical situation: if the China went out of its way to award a New Zealand convicted criminal sitting in a NZ prison (such as Tame Iti formerly) in a show of obvious support for Maori sovereignty, or openly encouraged changing the entire way in which New Zealand is governed, I think the New Zealand government would do something about it.

      In any case one can choke off trade for any reason, good reasons, bad reasons, or even no reason at all. Can hardly be seen as ‘punishment’, anymore than I am ‘punishing’ the owner of the fast food shop near my apartment simply because I have stopped patronising him.

      China is not like Britain, which invaded China and fought two opium wars, to force trade and reverse an unfavourable trade balance.

      • The Consultant

         /  December 3, 2018

        if China went out of its way to award a New Zealand convicted criminal sitting in a NZ prison (such as Tame Iti formerly) in a show of obvious support for Maori sovereignty, or openly encouraged changing the entire way in which New Zealand is governed,…

        I love the sleight of hand there: the easy, natural begging-the-question equivalence made between the New Zealand systems of democratic government and law and order – with those of China.

        As if Chinese choose their single party government. As if convictions under the Chinese system of “law and order” are the same as convictions here.

        What a sleazy argument, but so typical of the last eighty years of communist defenders of the USSR and the CCP.

        • Mark

           /  December 3, 2018

          hehehehhehe….Western ‘exceptionalism’ in a nutshell. Thank you Tom!

          As if Chinese choose their single party government.

          Well they fought a long and bloody revolution for it – so they did choose it – by putting the lives of themselves and their families on the line – so yes, they did choose it.

          And more recently:
          Both Putin and Xi had astonishingly high domestic approval ratings, with Xi at 9 out of 10 and Putin at 8.7 (for comparison, U.S. President Barack Obama scored 6.2).

          Many so-called ‘authoritarian’ regimes do not need ‘democratising’. They are already effectively democratic than most Western countries.

          And they tend to be far more responsive to public opinion:

          • The Consultant

             /  December 3, 2018

            “Both Putin and Xi had astonishingly high domestic approval ratings, with Xi at 9 out of 10 and Putin at 8.7

            Pffft. They’ve got a long way to go to catch this guy: The Guardian: Saddam scores 100% in leadership ballot

            Since Russia has actual elections with competing parties, I reckon the Chinese Communist Party is the way go from 90% to 100% for Xi.

            • Mark

               /  December 4, 2018

              Can’t read properly eh boy? Or a bit thick?

              Was talking of approval ratings based on polls conducted by Western researchers – the figures quoted arrived at from independent research.

              The election result for Saddam may or may not be reliable –I don’t know because I don’t know if the results were or were not validated by people who did not necessariliy Saddam.

  3. Blazer

     /  December 3, 2018

    ‘ China is only new at the game ‘….gee you learn something new…everyday.

    • Gezza

       /  December 3, 2018

      I thought we were all agreed we’d be leaving vacuous smart-arsery to Guyton?

      I was the one who posted that I missed you – because at least sometimes you raised some valid points & articulated them – & was concerned you may have made a visit to Israel & were banged up for interrogation having said simething impolitic on your way through Israeli Immigration.

      This is the bloody thanks I get?

      Either pull your head in, or elaborate on that tweet & explain exactly what you mean, if you would be so kind. Then I can consider whether you have a point I should ponder.

        • Gezza

           /  December 3, 2018

          I’ll read it later. I have other priorities every day now. Next time post a link like that with with your snide tweet so we can avoid any unpleasantness & leave that to [me to protect people from unnecessary personal attack. PG]

        • Gezza

           /  December 3, 2018

          That does not adress what I was talking about, Blazer – although I concede I could have been clearer.

          Following the colonisation & collapse of China’s age old system of Government by the great powers & Japan in the 19th & early 20th century, that country ceased to exist as any kind of effective powerhouse or overlord of its own region.

          Apart from their incusions into Korea & other occasional invasions or incursions consdiered to be basically “border disputes” (e.g. Tibet, Indochina) China was economically the weakest of the powers for a very long time, & Mao’s cultural revolution was economically disastrous – leaving the victors of the 2nd world war (& particularly the US, as The USSR economically imploded after their Afghanistan adventure) to inceasingly come to dominate the world military, political &, most importantly, economic, landscape.

          Amerika First, Everywhere came to dominate the regions China has for centuries seen as their sphere of interest. Their economic system – capitalism unleashed but controlled by the Government, is rapidly building in economic power & diplomatic & economic reach, as is their military.

          That is what I meant by what I am saying above. The 21st century & capitalism & the selfish interests of American businesses have kick-started them into serious competition with the United States, at a time when the US’s bullying self-absorption & hubris has plunged the Middle East & Eurasia into chaos & destruction, & caused the inflows of Muslims who don’t belong there into an unprepared & increasingly unsettled Europe.

          China is now as big a player in world politics as its antagonist, the US. Both are primarily interested in advancing their own interests under the pretence of advancing everybody’s.

          The US can certainly currently make no justifiable claims to be much holier than thou with China.

  4. NOEL

     /  December 3, 2018

    I would agree with the commentator. The Huawei analysis was a presentation to the Minister by his Department. Little was quick to point out that is was not a ban. If it was it would have been the Governments responsibility to announce it.

    Whilst we will never be privy to the analysis I wouldn’t be surprised if if there was more focus on the lack of ability to use or shut down the system during a terrorist scenario than threat to users information ending up in Chinese data banks.

    Do we want it?,%20and%20want%202016.pdf?sequence=1

  5. Trevors_elbow

     /  December 3, 2018

    Gee that Trump will never get China to accept terms… never…

    Oh Wait!!!!

    China needs the USA right now and will for a few more decades till it’s own internal economy reaches scale in terms of internal demand for higher end goods and services which can sustain an balance btw exporting and internal demand…

    • Gezza

       /  December 3, 2018

      Seen by Aljaz commentators (including US ones) as a temporary truce. China is playing a long game. They can do that because their government is stable & can run a long plan. The US can’t because changing Presidents & internal politics, conflicting states’ interests, changes to control of Senate & Congress, & wealthy lobbyist influencers unconcerned with anything but their interests make long term, consistent strategies difficult to implement & maintain.

      Computers & the internet have been a godsend to China’s advancement in numerous ways, through their capacity to spread their language & culture & reach to Chinese people everywhere. Overseas Chinese certainly well have reason to fear the CCP, but they can also now privately take pride in knowing their country of origin & the Chinese race have no need to consider themselves inferior after a century of putting up with that.

      • Gezza

         /  December 3, 2018

        I wonder if some blinkered Yankophile plonker thinks I’m advocating in favour of China First Everywhere against Amerika First Everywhere instead of just pointing out what’s actually going on?

        Anyway, whatever, have a buttercup posy & hold it under your chin in the sunlight. Can’t remember what that was supposed to do & tell you but it might help you settle, petal.

        • Gezza

           /  December 3, 2018

          People sometimes hold a fresh buttercup flower under the chin of a friend or family member. If a yellow reflection from the flower’s shiny petals can be seen under the chin, the person is said to “like butter”. … Some other plants and people are named buttercup, based on the name of the yellow wild flower.

          Buttercup – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          There, that should be great for your arteries.

  6. Mark

     /  December 3, 2018

    This fellow Rodney Jones, spouts pretty much the same sort of nonsense that Anne Marie Brady does (not just in the above interview). Yet he is in a cosy job situated in the middle Beijing – as are many other journalists and academics highly critical of the Chinese government.

    Now think about Brady’s claims about intimidation and break ins etc….something does not add up….particularly as she has just returned from a month in the country