Washington’s tariffs on Beijing are working: US commerce chief

Washington is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent next Tuesday in the absence of a breakthrough in US-China trade talks. (AFP)
Updated 10 October 2019

Washington’s tariffs on Beijing are working: US commerce chief

  • Trade war has weighed on global growth and roiled financial markets
  • Washington is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent next Tuesday

SYDNEY: Tariffs are forcing China to pay attention to US concerns, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in Sydney on Thursday.
Ross said the United States would have preferred not to implement tariffs against Chinese goods more than a year ago, but added that it has forced Beijing into action. The trade war has weighed on global growth and roiled financial markets.
“We do not love tariffs, in fact we would prefer not to use them, but after years of discussions and no action, tariffs are finally forcing China to pay attention to our concerns,” Ross told a business function held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.
“We could have had a deal two-and-a-half years ago without going through the whole tit-for-tat on tariffs that we have.”
Ross is on an official visit to Australia.
Top US and Chinese trade and economic officials will meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday to try to end the escalating dispute.
Without a significant breakthrough, Washington is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent next Tuesday.
Negotiators had made no progress in deputy-level trade talks held on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said, citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the meetings.
The two sides have been at loggerheads over US demands that China improve protections of American intellectual property, end cyber theft and the forced transfer of technology to Chinese firms, curb industrial subsidies and increase US companies’ access to largely closed Chinese markets.
Ross said the most difficult problem to solve in trade negotiations with China was making sure that the terms of an agreement would be adhered to.
“Trade agreements historically have been very weak on enforcement,” Ross said.
“Given the magnitude and the complexity of the changes we need, enforcement becomes an extremely critical component of any agreement that we make.”


OPEC+ faces challenge from rivals’ rising output, says IEA

Updated 15 November 2019

OPEC+ faces challenge from rivals’ rising output, says IEA

  • Sluggish refinery activity in the first three quarters has caused crude oil demand to fall for first time in a decade

LONDON: OPEC and its allies face stiffening competition in 2020, the International Energy Agency said on Friday, adding urgency to the oil producer group’s policy meeting next month.

“The OPEC+ countries face a major challenge in 2020 as demand for their crude is expected to fall sharply,” the Paris-based agency said in a monthly report.

The IEA estimated non-OPEC supply growth would surge to
2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) next year compared with 1.8 million bpd in 2019, citing production from the US, Brazil, Norway and Guyana.

“The hefty supply cushion that is likely to build up during the first half of next year will offer cold comfort to OPEC+ ministers gathering in Vienna at the start of next month,” it added.

While US supply rose by 145,000 bpd in October, the IEA said, a slowdown in activity that started earlier this year looks set to continue as companies prioritize capital discipline.

Demand for crude oil from OPEC in 2020 will be 28.9 million bpd, the IEA forecast, 1 million bpd below the exporter club’s current production.

The recovery by Saudi Arabia from attacks on the country’s oil infrastructure contributed 1.4 million bpd to the global oil supply increase in October of 1.5 million bpd.

Saudi state oil company Aramco, the world’s most profitable firm, starts a share sale on Nov. 17 in an initial public offering that may raise between $20 billion and
$40 billion.

It was the IEA’s last monthly report before the Dec. 5-6 talks among OPEC states and partners led by Russia on whether to maintain supply curbs aimed at buoying prices and balancing the market.

The agency kept its assessments for growth in global oil demand in 2019 and 2020 at 1 million bpd and 1.2 million bpd respectively, but said its outlook might slightly underestimate the impact of tariffs from the US-China trade war.

The IEA said that if some or all tariffs were lifted in coming months, “world economic growth and oil demand growth would both rise significantly,” though the rebound may not be immediate.

Sluggish refinery activity in the first three quarters has caused crude oil demand to fall in 2019 for the first time since 2009, the IEA said, but refining is set to rebound sharply in the fourth quarter and in 2020.