18 June 2018   Leave a comment

In a surprising move, India announced that it would also impose equivalent tariffs on US imports in retaliation for the US tariffs on aluminum and steel produced in the US.  The size of the retaliatory moves are not large, but the move is nonetheless surprising because the US and India and earlier announced that they would negotiate  their trade differences.  The announcement reads as follows:

“India hereby reiterates its decision to suspend concessions or other obligations notified to the Council for Trade in Goods on 18 May 2018… that are substantially equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the measures imposed by the United States….The proposed suspension of concessions or other obligations takes the form of an increase in tariffs on selected products originating in the United States, based on the measures of the United States.

“India reserves its right to further suspend substantially equivalent concessions and other obligations based on the trade impact resulting from the application of the measures of the United States.”

The announcement was conveyed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and indicates that more states are treating the US tariffs as a first move in a generalized trade war.  Given that the trade between India and the US in these products is rather small, it is clear that the tariffs are becoming a matter of principle.

 

In a move that is historically unprecedented, US President Trump tweeted a statement that seems to undermine the government of one of the US’s most important allies.  German Chancellor Merkel faces a collapse of her coalition government over the issue of immigration but despite that vulnerability, Trump tweeted: “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.  Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”  The facts are otherwise.  Crime in Germany is down and immigration is also down.  Italy is also confronting Germany over the Dublin Rules of the European Union (EU) which establishes immigration quotas on each member state,  If Merkel’s government does collapse it is not at all clear how it will be replaced which will leave the EU adrift without its most important backer.

 

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is a lefty non-governmental organization with a decided point of view so I read its reports regularly but with a degree of skepticism.  It has released a report on federal funding for scientific research and support on climate change.  The Trump Administration views climate change from its own highly skeptical point of view so it is not a revelation to know that federal funding has gone down.  The Center has compiled data which is quite striking, not simply because it shows that research on the specific issue of climate change has been going down, but also because it shows that baseline climate information–independent of whether it shows climate change–is being lost.  It seems as if very valuable data is being lost which might be necessary for issues that have little or nothing to do with climate change.

Posted June 18, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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